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 hardscapes 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.
What Is An Ocean Friendly Garden?
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.
Here are some videos about OFG and how to apply CPR
Surfrider Central LI – OFG Intro and Community Run Garden Vision
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!
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
Benefits of Healthy Soils and Ocean Friendly Gardens
- Sources of Pollution & Why to Apply CPR
- Living Soil
- Healthy Soil
- Study on Soil Filtering Run-off & Protecting Fish
- Data Comparing OFG and a Traditional Landscape
- 2019 Case Study from UMD on Green Infrastructure’s Ability to Mitigate Flooding During Storm Events
- Install rain barrels and be a part of the “Get Barreled” Program
Signs, Brochures, and Educational Resources
- To order an Ocean Friendly Garden Sign, please email Mara Dias, email@example.com
- Intro to Ocean Friendly Gardens Slideshow
- Tips for Making Your Yard More Ocean Friendly Blog
- Clean Water Tips Handout – things you can do at home to protect water quality at the beach
- Surfrider’s short, animated film about a holistic approach to water called ”The Cycle of Insanity” (Disponible aquí en Español)