Enchanted Cottage Garden

Vallejo Sustainable Backyard

Food Forest Keepers: Melissa and Steve

Some of my happiest childhood days were spent in the garden at my home and that of my grandmother’s here in Vallejo.  I wanted that same connection with nature for my children and had successfully grown food and herbs for many years.  We decided that we also wanted to take out our lawn which we had not watered due to the drought.  We wanted a front yard where we could grow food, but we wanted it to be more like a gathering place than a farm.


Site Details

Installation Date:

May 2017


1600 square feet

Sun Exposure:

8 hours



Number of Swales:


Secondary Water:

Lawn Conversion


Roofwater Diverted to Swales

Total annual water impact:

95,495 gallons



Designer: Kathleen Huffman

Plant List:

Avocado Fuerte, Avocado Bacon, Fig, Royal Blenhiem Peach, Ultra Dwarf Bing Sweet Cherry, Ultra Dwarf Red Peach Baron, Yellow Newton Pippin Apple
Black Satin Thornless Blackberry, Blueberry, Blue Salvia, Ceanothus, Currant, Goji, Lantham Red Raspberry, Lavendula, Manzanita, Mexican Sage, Pineapple Guava
Artichoke, Calendula, Common Sage, Echinacea, Garden Sage, Greek Oregano, Hummingbird Mint, Italian Oregano, Lupine, Lemongrass, Tarragon
Nasturtium, Wild Strawberry
Sunchokes, Yacon
Flame Seedless Grape, Passionflower, Thomson Seedless Grape


The Sustainable Solano banner at the Farmer’s market caught the eye of me and my nine year old daughter.  We decided that our goals were aligned and that we would apply to have a garden installation.  The entire project was a family affair – from filling out the app to choosing the name and plants. Our joy at being chosen only increased when the installation began and so many friends we had not met before came to help.  My son’s Boy Scout troop even came and laid the flagstones working together to figure out how they looked best.

Vision for the Future:

The garden has become a focal point of our lives.  We installed a string of lights down the side and have hosted numerous parties on our driveway.  Our youngest runs around on the flagstone paths more than she ever did when it was a lawn.  We take family photos there.  We sit and chat with neighbors or do schoolwork at the cafe table.  Our grandson who is one, likes to touch everything! When the weather is poor, we watch the birds in the bath from inside our living room. We harvest food and herbs almost every day.  It has been fun to grow what is familiar and even more fun to learn how to eat what is not.  Our youngest hadn’t seen fava before.  She looked up what they were and then how to cook them and then prepared them for the family often.  We were excited to dig up the yacon and use the tuber in slaws and salads.  it is delicious!  We spend a great deal of time in the garden talking about sustainability, water conservation, food and so much more with neighbors and passers-by.

Enchanted Cottage Garden Slideshow