Coniston and Arroyo Garden Project

Pasadena Water and Power (PWP), community volunteers and partners, began transforming the landscape at the Sheldon Reservoir in 2019.  The area serves as an educational and inspirational garden, where the community can walk and learn about various plant species and get landscaping design ideas.

This location is part of the Arroyo Seco; one of Pasadena’s oldest and most important historic places.  The area was used by local Native American tribes before the arrival of European settlers.  Arroyo Boulevard follows the course of their foot trail through the Arroyo.

Sheet mulching - Also referred to as lasagna composting, is a layered mulch system which uses a layer of cardboard or newspaper placed on the soil with mulch on top. The cardboard helps to smother existing weeds and weed seeds in the soil, and then decomposes over several months combining with the mulch. It is a simple, effective technique for improving soil health, managing weeds without herbicides, and increasing soil permeability. Sheet mulching can be used either in establishing a landscape or to enrich existing plantings.

Drip Irrigation - Drip irrigation is an efficient and economical way to water your yard and garden. Unlike spray irrigation, very little water is lost to evaporation and the water can be directed only to the plants that need it, cutting back on water waste and weeds. Drip irrigation applies the water slowly at the plant root zone where it is needed most and reduces runoff.

It can be used in your vegetable and perennial gardens, and to water trees and shrubs.

Hügelkultur (pronounced hoo-gul-culture) - First developed in Germany and Eastern Europe centuries ago, hügelkultur is a classic sustainable gardening technique that offers a lot of benefits for home gardeners. Hügelkultur (German for “mound culture”) gardens are essentially raised beds that are made of a mound of logs and branches topped with compost, soil, and other natural materials. Like sheet mulching, hügelkultur, repurposes yard waste to create a rich garden soil that can provide nutrients for plants for many seasons to come. Because hügelkultur gardens help to reduce waste and lower your carbon footprint, installing a hügelkultur bed is a great way to make your garden much more eco-friendly.

Decomposed Granite (DG) – Consists of granite particles ranging in size from ¼” to granules the size of sand.  This mixture of sizes allows for the correct blend of large particles for “strength”, medium size for “space filler”, and fine particles as a “binder”. Decomposed granite is the least expensive way to pave a patio, walkway, or driveway. It is permeable so it allows rainwater to get into the soil beneath.   Decomposed granite or DG can successfully be used as a paving material in areas like Southern California that have little rainfall.


Community Workshop Photos

Pictured below, staff and volunteers at the January 24, 2020 workshop.