By Kathleen Huffman of The Repurposed Oakie


On Thursday, February 2, the Benicia Community Center provided a warm respite from the winter drizzle for curious gardeners getting ready for spring. Inside several ecologically minded citizens from all over Solano County, came to learn about Sustainable landscaping and water resource solutions from local landscaper Kathleen Huffman, owner of The RePurposed Okie. The presentation took the attendees on a guided tour of sustainable concepts, practices and design creation along with a discussion of secondary water resource management. Additional topics included lawn abatement rebates and how to prepare and apply them in various cities.

The main concepts of the sustainable landscape program start with the idea of “Earth care, People care and Fair share.” With these grounding principles in mind, Kathleen gave ideas and suggestions on how to apply them to your own yard in quick, easy, and cost effective ways. A discussion of design elements included examples of how to get the most of each square foot of garden space using “Guild” planting practices.

The water resource management discussion covered the basics of using secondary water. Examples of secondary water included ground swales, rainwater catchment and installing a simple greywater system. Simple swale examples were shown and the class was given formulas to calculate the amount of water savings the homeowner could expect. The greywater presentation covered regulation, design and expected cost. An example of a greywater 3-way valve setup was shown to the class to better explain the components and how the system attaches to the homeowners washing machine.

In ending, the current lawn abatement rebate program was discussed and attendees were given the necessary applications and were given time to discuss the specifics of their own lawn and garden concerns.

It seemed that all the gardeners left with a spark in them to give their gardens a “sustainable” make-over and looking at ways to “plant” more water on their property. Happy gardening!

If you are interested in attending these FREE classes in Vallejo or Benicia, there are more coming up through April. Please check Sustainable Solano’s calendar and register through the Greater Vallejo Recreation District or Benicia Community Center.