Category: D.I.Y. — Do It Yourself

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Grass-UP-Roots Campaign: Culver City Lawn Conversion Work Party Launches April 30, 2011

If you’ve been thinking about swapping out your front lawn for a more sustainable garden solution but lack the know-how or get stuck on the daunting size of the task, come catch the wave of change with Transition Culver City’s (TCC) Grass-UP-Roots Campaign launching April 30 at the Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase.

The Grass-UP-Roots campaign is a pay-it-forward Work Party (with emphasis on the party!) where two Culver City homes will be awarded the “treatment” of experienced on-site lawn conversion guidance and support plus access to materials in order to transform their front lawns into drought tolerant food gardens. In true TCC style, the campaign offers an opportunity to build community in your neighborhood, make new friends and have fun while tackling a large project. Picture old-fashioned barn-raising Transition-style—conquering inertia through camaraderie and skillful goodwill.

The Grass-up-Roots Campaign launches on April 30 at 1:30 pm with a DIY Lawn Removal Q&A Forum at the Blades residence, one of the homes participating in the Mar Vista Garden Showcase taking place that day (details below).

If you wish to participate in the contest to be chosen as one of the two Spring/Summer Grass-up-Roots project houses, fill out the TCC online survey and tell us why you deserve the Grass-up-Roots team to come help you take the leap
toward sustainability. The TCC selection committee will award two Culver City homes the honor, to be scheduled sometime between May 30 & Sept 1. Go to the online application.

Applications will also be available at the Launch on April 30.
All applications due by May 7, 2011.

Hints from the selection committee: can you rustle up your own crew from the family or neighborhood? Are you interested in learning how to grow edibles? Volunteering to help others start a garden? Sharing produce with your community?

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, a major factor in escalating water demand in California is the dominant land-use pattern of single-family homes with lush lawns. An edible garden uses half as much water as a span of green turf while providing hundreds of pounds of food per year, increasing a family’s grocery resilience in challenging times.

Be a part of the solution! Let the Grass-UP-Roots Campaign ignite your passion for sustainable community change. Whether or not your home is selected as one of the project houses, TCC hopes that the networking and information exchange at the DIY workshop will lead to neighbors helping neighbors reach sustainable living goals.

The informational DIY Lawn Removal Q&A includes a forum of Culver City homeowners who have
navigated the transformation sharing their experiences….what worked and some pitfalls to avoid.
John Tikotsky, sustainable landscape architect, will also be on hand with professional tips.
See the event flyer here: Mar Vista Garden Showcase & DYI Lawn Removal Flyer

Meet at 1:30 pm at:
The Blades Family home,
11375 Matteson Ave
Los Angeles CA 90066

(Map 1-K of the Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase homes).
Description and directions here.

Want to bike to the Grass-UP-Roots launch and tour the Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase afterwards? Meet TCC members at 12:30 pm at Culver City Hall for the ride to Mar Vista.

Transition Culver City (TCC) is a grassroots organization seeking community
solutions to the global challenges of climate change, peak oil, and economic
instability. TCC is a part of the international Transition movement and is one
local group in a growing network of Transition initiatives throughout Los
Angeles County. See our website for more info.

Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase

The 2011 Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase will be held on Saturday April 30th from 11:00 AM to 4 PM.

TCC core member Ginny LeRossignol Blades, whose house is on one of the gerrymandered corners of Culver City in the 90066 area code west of Sawtelle is participating. Her initial inspiration came from the FREE drought tolerant gardening classes offered at Vets Auditorium in 2007-2008 sponsored by West Basin under the encouragement of Ed Little — back when CC residents were first being notifed of impending lawn watering restrictions.


11375 Matteson Avenue

This is how she describes the conversion from grass to “green” (reposted from the Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase website):

Starting with zero knowledge in gardening, in 2008 this family stopped their battle with a monoculture lawn and began learning how to cooperate with nature on their learn-as-you-go journey of drought tolerant landscaping and urban gardening.

Their hope is to model creative self-reliance and to encourage growing food and community in a frontyard display that is friendly and inviting and not too “farm-y.” This entire DIY project has had strict budgetary parameters (everything cheap, recycled or free) as the homeowners slowly converted their post-lawn moonscape into a creative garden hodge podge complete with stealth edibles mixed in with drought tolerant natives and succulents, small “urbanite” terraces and swales, planter boxes crafted from unusual recycled materials, and a bistro-style hardscaped frontyard room with homemade concrete planters and pavers. The L-shaped corner lot features a spectrum of microclimate sectors from sunbaked to mossy deep shade which has provided a steep learning curve for these beginning permaculture enthusiasts. Some areas are handwatered, others left to the seasons. The front entry of river rock, DG & flagstone is wide & inviting as well as easy to maintain. In efforts to fuzz the boundary between public and private, the family placed a bench next to the sidewalk and enjoys growing a few edibles in the parkway with signs inviting passersby to pick & enjoy. Some areas are still unresolved (blank canvasses!). On the learning curve has been resculpting the berm with mini-swales and a keyhole feature to help prevent mulch and water runoff and learning about soil pH and the impact of excess lime from concrete leaching.

“Our reason for participating: We have had such fun with the project so far — we really want to encourage others to be brave and take up their lawns. Now that the biggest physical part of the work is done, we are discovering the many joys of puttering in the garden and growing some of our own food. Plus since we’re out front for all to see, a side benefit has been connecting with neighbors and building community!”

They will also share information and materials about the local chapter of the Transition movement.

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TCC will organize a bike tour to this year’s Garden Showcase >> join us!