Our demonstration gardens show how to effectively integrate native plants and other water-conserving ideas into your landscape design.


Bol Park
910 Bol Park Bike Path Palo Alto

In 2019, we worked with volunteers to extend Bol Park’s community native garden to the edge of the bike path over an area that was previously lawn. We installed a streambed that allows water to infiltrate the soil rather than funnel directly into the drain, and planted native plants like golden yarrow, buckwheat, asters, and annual wildflowers that stabilize the soil, increase infiltration, and provide habitat for local wildlife. This cooperative project with the City of Palo Alto was funded by Valley Water.

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Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden
1431 Waverly St. Palo Alto

In partnership with the City of Palo Alto and the AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards Program, in 2018 we replaced non-native rose bushes and ivy with a native rain garden that will capture and sink runoff from the parking lot while providing habitat for birds and insects. Water runs through the garden from a 260-gallon tank connected to the roof of the event center. The project was funded by a grant from the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

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Hoover Park
2901 Cowper St. Palo Alto

In 2017, we replaced part of the park's lawn area with a beautiful native rain garden that provides habitat for birds and insects while keeping pollutants from entering the storm drain. This site demonstrates the use of a 200-gallon water harvesting system to capture rainwater off the roof of the public bathroom and drip-irrigate the stone-lined garden. This installation was made possible through a grant from the Santa Clara Valley Water District in partnership with the City of Palo Alto.


Peninsula Conservation Center
3921 E. Bayshore Rd. Palo Alto

In 2017, through a grant from the Santa Clara Valley Water District and in partnership with the City of Palo Alto and the AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards Program, we replaced non-native Indian Hawthorn shrubs with a native rain garden that will slow and sink rainwater while providing habitat for birds and insects. This site showcases a 500-gallon tank that captures rainwater off the roof and feeds it into the stone-lined garden.

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Corte Madera Middle School Native Plant Garden
4575 Alpine Road, Portola Valley

Grassroots Ecology worked with students and parents of Portola Valley's Corte Madera Middle School to install this native garden in 2016.  Eighth graders learned about the benefits of locally native plants and then got to plant various wildflowers and perennials.  Students continue to maintain the garden by pruning and weeding.

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McClellan Ranch Preserve
22221 McClellan Road, Cupertino

In 2016, in cooperation with the City of Cupertino and the AmeriCorps Watershed Steward Program, we created a bio-swale and rain garden that will help reduce the amount of runoff flowing into Stevens Creek from McClellan Ranch Preserve. As part of this project, we installed two wine barrels converted into a water catchment system. The combined 100 gallons will allow us to water the rain garden during the dry season.


Sequoias Retirement Home Lawn Replacement
501 Portola Road, Portola Valley

The Sequoias Retirement Home in Portola Valley asked for our help in creating a test plot where they could try out native grasses to potentially replace some of the extensive lawns throughout the facility.


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Alma Pollinator Garden
1 Alma Street, Menlo Park

In 2015 we partnered with the City of Menlo Park to replace a lawn area with a native garden. The space also includes a small rain garden, which captures water via a slot drain installed across the walkway, allowing rainwater to soak into the ground instead of running off into the street. The garden is especially showy in the summer when buckwheats and goldenrod are in full bloom.

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Lucie Stern Community Center
1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto

In partnership with the City of Palo Alto and other local organizations, we created this demonstration garden in 2010. We hold periodic free public workshops at the garden demonstrating sustainable landscaping practices and native plant maintenance techniques.


Pearson-Arastradero Preserve Gateway Facility
1530 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto

In the fall of 2010, we installed a garden adjacent to the facility that showcases species found throughout the preserve. This garden is designed to tolerate extreme heat, cold, drought, marauding voles, and frequent deer visits.


Hoover Elementary School Pollinator Garden
445 East Charleston Road, Palo Alto

We worked with first graders to plant a small pollinator garden outside their science classroom in the fall of 2012. The students use the plants and the insect visitors to their garden as a resource for data collection and observation, enhancing their science curriculum. A student garden club meets regularly to help care for the plants.


Hoover Middle School Pollinator Garden
701 Charter Street, Redwood City

We worked with students at Hoover Middle School, located in an urban area of Redwood City, to plant a pollinator garden where there was once blacktop. Students also planted big leaf maples and mulberry trees to provide leaves for silkworm rearing in the classroom.


Walter Hays Elementary School Demonstration Garden
1525 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto

 Over 130 kindergarteners along with fourth and fifth grade helpers planted a valley oak, native strawberries, flowering currants, coffeeberries, rushes, bunchgrasses, and other native flowering plants to enhance a bare walkway leading to the school in the fall of 2012. 


Portola Valley Town Center, Sausal Creek Restoration
65 Portola Road, Portola Valley

This stretch of Sausal Creek was buried underground in a pipe until the Town of Portola Valley “daylighted” it as part of the Town Center construction process. We led the efforts to re-vegetate the creek with the help of hundreds of volunteers. The site is a favorite of kids as it provides an easy way to explore the creek and its wildlife.


Redwood Grove Nature Preserve, Cottage Garden
482 University Avenue, Los Altos Hills

In partnership with GreenTown Los Altos, we installed a native demonstration garden as well as a rain barrel system that collects rainwater from the roof of the nearby cottage. Rain barrels provide additional water for the garden and dissipate the water from storms through a designed swale that meanders through the garden.


PAUSD Science Resource Center
Located on the bike path between the JLS tennis courts and entrance to Hoover School

 In 2011, a parent from the Palo Alto Unified School District designed a native demonstration garden for their Science Resource Center between JLS Middle School and Hoover Elementary. We worked with volunteers to plant a arden showcasing native plants from riparian, chaparral, and grassland habitats. Educational signage for the garden was designed and installed by an Eagle Scout in 2013. 


Ecohome Native Meadow
1120 Hopkins Avenue, Palo Alto

Volunteers helped plant a native meadow next to Palo Alto’s EcoHome in 2011. Visitors to the EcoHome learned about ways to save energy and live more sustainably. Its landscaping included drought-tolerant bunchgrasses and flowering shrubs that are a low-water, low-energy complement to the EcoHome. The EcoHome is a portable structure that has moved to a new location, but our landscaping can still be seen in front off Hopkins by the Girl Scout House near Rinconada Park.