SMWD SustainaBlue Plants


SMWD SustainaBlue Landscapes features an interactive garden gallery and plant database to help you figure out how best to implement a sustainable landscape!  Find inspirational designs, beautiful plants, and landscape design assistance.  

SustainaBlue Plants



SMWD SustainaBlue Plant List:  Download our SMWD SustainaBlue Plant List which features easy-to-find plants to transform your landscape.  The list includes plant links to our SustainaBlue Landscapes website!




Plant Resources

SMWD SustainaBlue Landscapes

Free Landscape Designs with Plant Lists

Sunset Magazine's 21 Lawn-Free Yards

UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars

Eco-Friendly Landscape Design Plans

Avoid Planting Invasive Plants!

Tree of Life Nursery Planting Guide

Las Pilitas Nursery Guide: When to Plant CA Natives

Where to Buy Native & CA Friendly Plants

How to Care for Trees During Drought

January 2017

Do your plants look like this?

It may not be a watering issue!

If you are applying an appropriate amount of water to your landscape but still find your plants struggling, the problem may be rooted in your soil.  Unfortunately, urban soils can easily become compacted, lifeless, and fertilizer-dependent with no oxygen, water, or life to create nutrients and support plants.  No amount of water can solve this problem, or improve the appearance of your landscape.

A healthy soil is alive – yes alive!  Just a teaspoon of healthy soil contains more microorganisms than there are people on Earth.  These bacteria, protozoa, nematodes, and fungi work together to create nutrients and gather water for plants as they ask for them.  This healthy soil system does the hard work for us!  It even improves soil structure, which means soils are less compacted, can absorb and retain more water, and don’t require costly fertilizers.  Most importantly, a healthy soil system creates a cleaner watershed for all.


  • Gently aerate – Poke holes at regular intervals with a screw driver or pitch fork.  For compacted soil, try an auger.
  • Compost – Fill holes with compost, such as worm castings.
  • Mulch – Maintain a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch to feed your soil and retain moisture year round.


  • Disturb your soil – Avoid heavy disturbances such as tilling.
  • Fertilize – Fertilizers kill living soil.
  • Remove leaf litter – This is the food source for living soil.

 *Photo courtesy of USDA.

Additional Soil Resources


 Turf Removal Examples

Hover your cursor over the photos to see the pre/post landscapes!  


turf removal pre post




Growing CA Native Plants


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