Echo Wild
An Elysian Park Open Space Experimental Conservancy

a 501(c)3 non-profit organization

 December 2019

Proposal Plan for the Turf California Native Natural Areas Garden in the style of a Japanese Garden, with complete turf removal in colobroation with the LA YARD program.

 My husband and I have outlined a plan to transform our entire parcel into a sustainable California native garden. We live at the north side edge of Elysian Park and our lot can serve as an open space and connecting path for wildlife migration into other open spaces adjacent Avalon Staircase, the Baxter staircase open spaces. Turf removal, planting, installing and all related landscaping will be executed by me and my husband; no outside contractor/gardener will be hired.

Sq Ft & Turf Removal

Using Zimas.lacity parcel area tools, we estimate the project area is 4,089 sq ft where turf, grass lawn, and invasive plants are to be removed and where the program features will be installed. According to Calscape.org, I identified 3 invasive species in my yard: helio ivy, Jade semprevivren, and Hollyhock lookalike. This we have removed completely and it took well over 2 months to clear the invasive plants and their roots. The invasive plants were mostly on the parkway so it dosnt really affect the plan with our Turf removal and native planting

Permeable Hardscape

Drawing inspiration from traditional Japanese gardens, there will be a winding path made of stepping stones, and sand filler to create a stroll garden where one can admire nature up close and in the distance. This pathway shall be the designated permeable hardscape made of sandstone, limestone, and slate rocks found in the dirt and filled in with a mixture of sand, granite, gravel, and lava rocks and will take                                       

Irrigation system is a controlled network of fog misters, drip, micro-spray,     bubblers, and rotating vortex sprayers laid to deliver water to various areas according to the plant’s preference. Example: Fog misters in the vegetable garden, drip  in the trees and shrubs. The previous owner had neglected the house and garden for years and left the grounds to soak through a lawn hose with holes poked in it in intervals like a pseudo-drip hose. This led to an overgrowth in Jade vegetation, ivy vegetation, and succulents. The yard was extremely overgrown. The massive Jade root system wasvclearly becoming a hazard to the house as it was braking away at concrete underground and causing the hillside to erode without much resistance. We have since removed most of the plants and root ball and fungi from the land, and allowed the green grasses to grow in its replacement; however we have come to understand that green grasses are not quite as sustainable as California native flora and fauna.


We plan on landscaping our yard following traditional Japanese garden principles with native California foliage and wildflowers so as to create a Japanese California natural areas and disturbed terrain habitats such as seen in Elysian Park hiking trails similar to Golden Gate Park.

We understand the importance of biodiversity in the garden for its success in the long-run. Beginning with California native groundcovers such as Dichondra, Strawberry Clover, White Clover, and Gold Sedum will replace large areas of he turf grass. This is to control the hillside soil erosion problems we have felt on the houses foundation..

California Native Plants to be planted include Lavender, Rosemary, Spearmint, Dill, Red Rubin Basil, Basil, Oregano, Lettuces, Arugula, Musclin, Dinosaur Kale, Romaine Lettuce, Green Leaf Lettuce, Chard, Colliflower, Broccoli, Carrots, Beets, Onions, Garlic. Fruits such as American Red Raspberry vine, Wild Cucumber vine, Wild Ginger, Beach Strawberry, Catalina Cherry will also be planted.

Existing trees growing in the lot are Boxwood, Coulter Pine, Pomegranate, Lemon Lime, Goji berry, Olive trees as well as the protected Southern California Black Walnut tree, the protected Live Oak Trees, the protected Sierra Redwood tree, and the protected Mexican Elderberry tree are growing on the lot to be transformed. We hope to plant the  California Juniper and Alder trees.. We are tending to Sequioa redwood trees seedlings that origiated from the only living Redwood tree left in Elysian Park where redwoods once thrived. We ordered 7 Jacaranda trees through the City Trees free trees program and are awaiting delivery.

California native flowers that we want to plant are Morning Glories, Royal Penstemon, Checkerbloom,Yellow Stonecrop, Desert Wishbone Bush, Sticky Phacelia, Wild Heliotrope, Wild Marigold, Showy Penstemon, Chamise, Red California Poppy, Orange California Poppy, California Bluebells, Petunia Silver Hybrid Tidal Wave, Baby Snapdragon, Crape Myrtles Black Diamond, Blue Flax, Sweet Pea, Russell Lupine, Forget-Me-Not Blue Bird, Scarlet Flax. Succulents include Aloe Vera, Agave, and Chalk Dudeleya, although we are attempting to have a non-succulent garden. This is because when we first moved in our home, the property was overgrowing in Jade sempreviva. The overgrowth was so neglected that it was breaking the concrete foundation of the house. We started removing by hand all the Jade plants and immense dense root system from the entire lot. We noticed when the roots of Jade decompose, it become a fertile, nutrient-rich soil. It softens the sandstone clay earth to make it suitable for plants to grow. We created a mulch area, covered it in black plastic for solarization, and mix it in with the native soil when planting, sowing, etc.

California native grasses and ferns shall line the walls of a dry river bed creek. This manmade river bed is a diverter that channel rainwater to the rain garden. Scouring rush Horsetail, Deer Fern, Hairgrass, Showy Milkweed, Cleveland Sage, Silver Lupine, San Diego Ceanothus. Monteserra. Because the creek bed sits primarily in the shade, we chose these native drought-tolerant shade grasses and ferns.

Our plant selection is based on the qualities and impacts benefiting the localized ecosystem and natural environment. Excellent erosion control capabilities, and pollinator qualities for the butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds are key factors we prioritize. Because we have a thriving beehive living in the walls of our house, Africanized Honey Bees we want to continue supporting these pollinatorsa by moving them into a Langstroth Box to allow their hive to expand. We will be contacting a professional beekeeper to transplant the hive and to give us proper training as beekeepers.  First and foremost, biodiversity in the garden is crucial for a thriving ecosystem. Aesthetic choices are made for their their cyan-magenta hue and complementary colours. We based our palate on a traditional Japanese futon cover lavender.

Exposed Soil shall be covered with 3” of black black lava rock and black wood chips for mulch,. Rich in minerals, lightweight and airy, evenly spread out volcanic rock is an incredible form of mulch that does not hinder seedlings from growing; openings allow air circulation and aids in creating ideal microclimates for new seedlings and germination. It retains moisture in the soil and does not compact the soil under its weight thus allowing the roots to continue growing..

Rainwater retention features: Dry Creekbed, Graded Terrace, Vegetated Swales, and Mushroom Rock Garden.

The main dry creekbed will line the natural sandstone rock wall at the base of the hillside slope. It will channel water running along the entire breadth of the hillside and gradually slope towards the edge of the parcel - to channel water from pooling upon the foundation of the house.

The first and second hillside slopes shall be graded to establish terraces not more than 5 to 1 slope using stakes, mud, wooden boards, and rocks found on-site. Groundcover will be seeded to grow around this to help retain the hillside from slipping away. All broken pieces concrete slabs will be removed from the land as it is an immense amount of weight that gravity is pulling down at all times. Only natural rocks, sandstone, limestone, and slate, lose river rocks and oceanic fossils found on-site shall be added to dry creek bed,

At the base of each terrace shall be a vegetated swale sloping away from the house to keep rainwater moving away from the foundation of the house. In the swale, a  minimum of 2% slope from end to end of the swale will retain water longer in order to soak into the ground. At every swale we will plant a mushroom rain garden. Mushrooms are enormously beneficial to plants for their ability to breakdown organic matter into nutrients for plants. Mushrooms are also incredible detoxifiers and are a form of filtration system for pollutants carried in by the rainwater.

We would like to install a rain barrel and rain gutter to funnel excess water that did not soak into the ground into will funnel into the barrel and collected for future use. We want to install a pump and PVC water pipe to circulate the water used to irrigate the land back into the top of the dry creek bed thus essentially creating a continuous waterfall and creek. Essentially creating a  sustainable watering hole for the diverse wildlife. Presently there are families of owls, blue jays,finches, red hawk, ravens, bees, butterflies, bobcats, coyotes, skunks, racoons, squirrels and plants and cacti seen passing through our yard. A dedicated water supply would benefit the ecosystem in this neighborhood and meet criteria for a Wildlife Preservation nomination by the National Wildlife Federation..)