Oct. 30 2018 07:25 AM

Native landscapes can help school campuses save water and maintenance costs.

Three schools in a Southern Californian school district received a grant from the state of California to install stormwater management with a drought-tolerant landscape, according to an article by the Orange County Register.

What once was an area of trampled grass at Bolsa Grande High School, one of the schools awarded grant funds, is now a beautiful landscaped area with a dry, pebble-bottomed creek that is now home to a variety of grasses and flora. All the plants used in these projects are native to the California area, chosen to make school grounds more water efficient.

AP environmental science teacher, Jerid Johnson, says that the transformation of the “outdoor laboratory” has been a learning experience for students. Before the gardens were created, students collected water and soil sample data that they now can compare to current data. They also measured the volume of rain that flowed over concrete headed directly for the ocean, which they will continue to use and learn from.

Costa Mesa landscape architecture firm, Nuvis, designed several gardens at each campus. Nuvis husband and wife team Robert and Janet Stone say there are many water-saving features of their project. The sloping man-made swale holds rainwater until it can seep into the ground, the native plants attract wildlife that help spread pollen and a permeable, decomposed granite pathway discourages runoff. Janet Stone adds that the big bonus of the landscaping is that the plants take care of themselves and little maintenance is required.