Two years in Altadena

Posted on | December 3, 2012 | 5 Comments

Two years ago, this was paved. Click on the image for a photo-diary of a two year garden-making project in Altadena, California.



5 Responses to “Two years in Altadena”

  1. Cynthia Barnett
    December 3rd, 2012 @ 5:49 am

    Emily’s unpaved a parking lot and put up a paradise. What if everyone did? Have you tried to calculate the difference in water recharge before/after? Where those raindrops & irrigation go now vs. where they went before?

  2. EmilyGreen
    December 3rd, 2012 @ 10:49 am

    Cynthia, thank you! It’s funny, because the coming of TMDL limits on run-off for the LA greater watershed combined with water shortages mean that more and more homeowners should be retaining as much rain as they can (and never allowing irrigation spill over.) I haven’t calculated the total per inch saving of the roof, patio and driveway removal, but am guessing that the total paved space of garage, home, driveway and patio was roughly 3,000 square feet. That would mean the combined hardscape used to produce 1,800 gallons in a 1-inch rain. Multiply that by the 33 inches that Altadena got in 2010-11 and I watched close to 60,000 gallons of water run off this property my first year. Hence the push to catch that water the second year, when we had scant rain, maybe a third of that. But 20,000 gallons saved is 20,000 gallons and this year we are getting some light, well distributed showers, all of which, I’m delighted to say, are replenishing the soil and not being plated into the street. If every homeowner took often simple steps to infiltrate rain, we’d have an enormous boon for the groundwater supply and local landscape and give the imported water sources (and tremendous energy suck pumping them) a break. I love TreePeople as a source for simple fixes any homeowner can take:

    Thank you so much for your comment!

  3. karin bugge
    December 4th, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

    Hi — we met recently on the street where you live (I’m the one with the black lab), and I also attended your water lecture at AHS. Got a question: We’re all receiving a letter from county about the $67 yearly clean water fee. Many locals are suspicious that the money will fund projects other than curbside water capture, particularly since the letter says it will go towards “Multi-benefit” projects, the euphemism the City of Pasadena’s uses when talking about soccer fields and parking lots in Hahamongna. Thoughts?

  4. EmilyGreen
    December 4th, 2012 @ 10:12 pm

    Hello Karin,
    Good question. I believe the county when it says that the water will go toward eliminating run-off, though I do believe that outreach is needed about what kind of projects will qualify. I’ll be putting up a post about it as soon as time allows. My hope is that this will open the door to a new generation of innovative designers and local organizations. I’d also like to see the county leading by example and cannot understand why any curb work is done without incorporating stormwater capture elements. But I will be putting up a post soon. Thank you for the comment! (Please stop by and bring that beautiful lab). Emily

  5. karin bugge
    December 4th, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

    Thank you, and look forward to the post. Lots of opportunity for water capture on my street, as we’re without any curbs at all and still it’s a rushing river around here when we receive any amount of rain.

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