Garden/Garden — A Comparison in Santa Monica

Santa Monica, California, U.S.A.

Project Facts

  • Santa Monica imports more than 90 percent of its water from Northern California and the Colorado River, more than 400 miles away.
  • In 2004, the city of Santa Monica constructed two 1,900-square-feet demonstration gardens on two adjacent front yards to demonstrate the many benefits of sustainable gardens. The “Traditional Garden” incorporates commonly used exotic species and lawn while the “Native Garden,” the sustainable alternative, uses exclusively native California plants.
  • The native garden cost $16,700 to install compared $12,400 for the traditional garden. Despite its higher initial cost, the native garden’s lower maintenance requirements translate into $2,200 per year in cost savings.
  • The native garden uses 77 percent less water, produces 66 percent less waste, and requires 68 percent less labor than the traditional garden.


  • Suburban
  • House
  • Yard
  • Garden

Environmental Benefits

  • Creates Habitat for Wildlife
  • Conserves Water
  • Reintroduces Native Plants
  • Removes Invasive Plants