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Garden Designs & Demonstrations
Garden Designs
These designs are simple concepts to provide inspiration and ideas. Find the best design for your yard. Check with local nurseries, landscapers or other sustainable garden designers to help choose the best plants for your yard.

Native plantsCafé Garden Inspired Designs

Nectar Garden Inspired Designs

Additional Designs


Model Gardens at Guadalupe Courtyard Garden Park
If you are looking for ideas to install a naturally sustainable garden in your front yard, visit the model gardens at the Guadalupe River Park and Gardens, Courtyard Garden. These gardens are designed to model single family front yards in Santa Clara Valley. Each is laid out like a typical front yard garden with a pathway leading from the sidewalk to the front patio or entrance of the home. While no sidewalk or house is there, you can still walk the garden paths, imagining walking up to your front door.

Drought tolerant California native flowering plants attract birds and beneficial insects like bees and lacewings. These plants are easy to maintain, require little irrigation, and are naturally adapted to our climate. Just as you might do with your yard, these gardens replaced traditional lawns which required much more maintenance, fertilizers, pesticides and water. Existing sprinkler systems were replaced with a drip irrigation system, directing water only to where it’s needed. Pervious walkways and patio areas allow rainwater to seep into the ground rather than run off the site.

Signs around the gardens explain key principles and how they can be applied in your yard:
  • Develop healthy soil using compost and mulch
  • Water wisely
  • Use chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers responsibly
  • Select the right plants and plant them in the right places
  • Slow the flow of stormwater
  • Conserve resources

Visit a Demonstration Garden 
Contact Environmental Services Specialist (ESS), Amber Schat, at (408) 793-5365 to schedule a group tour. Some tours are available via your home computer or a mobile device. Visit the Cafe and Nectar gardens today!
Demonstration Garden Address
 Fire Station 15 1248 Blaney Avenue, San José, CA 95129
 Fire Station 34 1634 Las Plumas Avenue, San José, CA 95133
 Fire Station 4 (Soon to come in April!) 710 Leigh Avenue, San José, CA 95128

Tell Us What You Think
We'd love to hear your feedback! Feel free to provide feedback to ESS Amber Schat at

Additional Information 
The gardens were designed based on landscape designs selected through a design competition. The Café Garden was based on a design by Kim Leichner and the Nectar Garden was based on a design by Diane Goldsmith. The construction and design of these gardens were funded by a 2011 Department of Pesticide Regulation Alliance Grant. In addition, these gardens received the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s Landscape Rebate for replacing lawn with drought tolerant plantings.


Sustainable Gardening Fact SheetsStart with Healthy Soil Fact Sheet Cover
This collection of fact sheets provides information on lasting sustainable landscaping principles for residents: