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Ocean Friendly Gardens



Ocean Friendly Gardens: A Simple Approach

OFG standards use this simple approach everywhere possible: contouring landscapes for rainwater retention; creating living soil to sponge up water, filter pollution and sequester carbon; and installing climate-appropriate plants to create wildlife habitat and a sense of place.

The Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) Program is Surfrider Foundation’s volunteer-run landscape education, hands-on training and advocacy program. In addition to providing valuable information to property owners on how landscapes and hardscape can prevent water pollution, Surfrider chapters are using this program to encourage landscape professionals to incorporate the program’s principles into their business practices. Chapters also use the program to motivate local governments to support OFG-oriented policy changes for existing and new development.


Water runoff is the #1 source of ocean pollution in urban areas, contributing to flooding and wasting water that can irrigate landscapes and replenish groundwater. 



OFGs apply CPR – Conservation, Permeability and Retention – to landscapes, hardscapes and streets. They allow soil to act like a sponge to help restore the helpful functions of watersheds like protecting local water supplies and preventing pollution from reaching the ocean. They also reduce flooding during storm events, pull carbon from the air and into plants and soil, and create wildlife habitat (above is a typical OFG and below is a curb cut flowing into a bio-swale). 

  • C – Conserve water and wildlife habitat with native or climate appropriate plants.
  • P – Permeable, living soil and hard surfaces that runoff to landscapes to filter pollutants, sponge up water for plants to tap into during dry months, and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • R – Retain rain as the first source of irrigation.

OFGs apply what is coming to be known around the country as the watershed approach. The principles are the same: healthy, living soil; retain rainwater; climate-appropriate plants; efficient supplemental irrigation as needed. 

You can stay in touch with OFG through our national OFG Facebook page.


Take a stand for healthy ground water, bays and ocean waves by pledging to keep your lawn & garden chemical-free! Our new lawn sign campaign is such a simple way to make a positive environmental impact: commit to tending your grounds without the use of pesticides or fertilizers and let everyone know with your own attractive lawn sign!

Landscaping chemicals leach into our ground water table and out into our back bays causing harmful nitrogen levels that disrupt the natural balance in these precious habitats. And most people don’t know this! So you can be the solution to the problem both in your commitment to sustainable lawn practices and by spreading the word to your neighbors.  The lawn sign has a bold QR code to easily educate any passerby. Take the pledge and get your sign for a nominal $5 donation to our chapter. Let’s ban together and create a sustainable City where the only things we add to our lawns are these signs!



Surfrider Central LI – OFG Intro and Community Run Garden Vision


Central LI’s First Ocean Friendly Community Garden

Neighbors, volunteers, and local businesses came together to build Long Beach’s first Ocean Friendly Community Garden on Pennsylvania Avenue. We have implemented many elements that promote an eco and ocean friendly garden such as native pollinators and sea grasses for conservation, mulch and pavers to absorb the rain water for permeability, and a rain barrel which retains rain water and is the main source of irrigation for the garden. We also installed a compost tumbler as well as compost tubes directly into the garden beds that are being turned over by the hundreds of red wiggler worms we have added. This alone will help to keep hundreds of pounds of food waste out of the landfills.

Our volunteers took over a portion of the end cap that was previously overgrown with invasive plants and turned it into an ocean friendly produce garden with the intent to grow enough food for our volunteers, as well as recipients at the Long Beach Soup Kitchen. Robert Blau, who helps run the soup kitchen is excited about the collaboration and says “it would be wonderful to have fresh produce straight from the garden.” We also intend to provide our Ocean Friendly restaurants with fresh herbs and produce as a thank you for their commitment to ocean friendly practices. 

If you are interested in learning more about how you can start an Ocean Friendly Community Garden, please reach out to



News 12 came to check out our Ocean Friendly Community Garden! Check out the story here!



The LI Herald covered our Ocean Friendly Community Garden! Check out the article here!



Inspiration for our Ocean Friendly Community Run Garden on Long Island stemmed from the Oahu chapters success in combining OFG principles with food sustainability and security through community and front yard gardens. Thank you Oahu chapter!


You can learn more about their efforts here:


Surfrider Coordinator on Why and How to Apply CPR


Surfrider Coordinator OFG Public Service Announcement


Ocean Friendly Garden Tour


The following instructional videos are West Coast centric, but the concepts are the same anywhere- just use native plants based on your location. In these 5 short videos you will learn how to transform your yard to an OFG. Please reach out with any questions!


Introduction: Why invest in Sustainable Gardens?


How To #1: Conducting a Site Survey

How To #2: Capturing Rainwater Runoff

How To #3: Turf Removal and Rain Garden Prep

How To #4: Planning and Planting your Garden




Surfrider Publications

Program Criteria

Benefits of Healthy Soils and Ocean Friendly Gardens 


Signs, Brochures, and Educational Resources


Stay Updated On Chapter Activities – join our Facebook Page and follow us on Instagram!