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What will Sierra Madre look like in 2050? The answer depends, in large part, on the landscaping choices we make right now.

The Sierra Madre City Hall Gardens define an authentic landscape aesthetic for the foothills. The lush and leafy gardens deliver year round beauty and save about 75 percent of the water previously used. Featured plants also mitigate fire, retain slopes, and feed wildlife, improving the resilience of both our adjacent wildspaces and the city itself.
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ROI Calculation

Landscaping significantly impacts human and pet health, the environment, and public infrastructure. It also impacts our budgets! The lush, leafy, low-water Authentic Foothill Gardens at Sierra Madre City Hall generate significant savings over a traditional landscape, gravelscape, or synthetic lawn.

Savings can include:

  • 100 percent of the annual flower budget
  • 100 percent of the toxic chemical fertilizer budget
  • 100 percent of the toxic chemical pesticide budget
  • 100 percent of soil amendment budget
  • 81 percent of the time spent on maintenance
  • 75 percent of the funds used for mower petrol
  • 60-80 percent of the water previously needed
  • 63 percent of fees associated with garden waste
  • 15-50 percent of the energy dedicated to climate control

Community

The authentic foothill gardens at Sierra Madre City Hall represent the work of the full community. Thank you to all the residents who participated in everything from the visioning processes to the gardens’ installation!

We would also like to show our gratitude to the following sponsor organizations who donated their visions, funds, materials, and/or expertise to the project.

 

Nifty Nine

Develop resilience in the foothills by harnessing the strengths of the Nifty Nine. They earned this designation by addressing multiple Sierra Madre community goals, which include mitigating fire and slide potential, supporting wildlife and human health, and saving both water and energy.

Edible Garden

Sierra Madre was once a breadbasket. Our indigenous population used the plants found here as food and medicinal sources – we can as well!

See more California native edibles and recipes.

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Wildlife Garden

Birds, butterflies, beneficial insects and reptiles will be drawn to the native foliage in this partially shaded, partially sunny area. Watch for Monarch and California Checkerspot butterflies, hummingbirds, Western Scrub Jay, California Quail, and Western Fence Lizards.

 

 

Additional Foliage: Ascelpia speciosa, Milkweed, the only food and habitat that attracts and protects Monarch butterflies.

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Fire Garden

While there is no such thing as a fireproof plant, those in the Fire Garden retain moisture and play an important role in fuel management. These plants are particularly useful in wildfire-prone areas like Sierra Madre. An added bonus: Bushes are key to cooling areas, and plentiful foliage like this can reduce air conditioning costs by 15-50 percent.

 

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Shade Garden

Mature trees and the overhang of the nearby building create an environment to Sycamore trees. The native understory plants seen here thrive in these dry, shaded areas. They are uniquely suited for planting under native oaks, in lieu of lawn or ornamental plants.

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IdealMow Lawn

IdealMow® lawns consume just 20-30 percent of the water needed to sustain turf. They thrive without toxic chemical pesticides and fertilizers. They also produce less waste and need less attention, particularly when left to grow as meadows. These savings add up! Replacing 1000 square feet of turf replaced with an IdealMow lawn can save more than $30,000 in just 10 years. There are four IdealMow lawns in the Authentic Foothill Gardens.

 

 

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Chaparral (Sun) Garden

These heat tolerant plants once dominated the foothills of California. Their thick leathery leaves reduce evaporation and help them enjoy high sun exposure.

 

Additional Foliage: Adenostema fasciculatum, Chamise

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