Sunnyvale Pervious Driveway and Habitat Garden






The planting for this front yard garden incorporates entirely low-water California native species, with the exception of an eastern redbud tree to provide an accent at the corner of the yard. The owner wanted to create a simple, low maintenance habitat garden that would be in harmony with other homes in the neighborhood.planting incorporates entirely California native species, with the exception of an eastern redbud tree.

BEFORE: This south west facing front yard garden was a blank slate.
AFTER: We replaced the cracked driveway with a new pervious concrete driveway to allow stormwater to infiltrate on-site.

I designed a curvalinear front walkway of interlocking pavingstones to connect to the sidewalk and to the driveway, creating a planting pocket alongside the driveway. By the second summer, the plantings have filled in and the garden can be considered 'established'.

This close up view shows the pervious concrete driveway connecting with the interlocking pavingstone walkway. Pervious concrete is poured-in-place concrete with less sand than normal. The 'void' spaces in the concrete allow water to percolate through the driveway instead of sheet flowing off into the gutter. Allowing stormwater to remain on-site is a sustainable strategy that helps keep toxins out of our creeks and bay and allows water to infiltrate naturally into the soil.

A special boulder with a depression in it was hand selected and positioned to capture rainwater for wildlife. This rock serves as a seasonal birdbath and provides water for butterflies as well as a warm place for butterflies to rest. This rock, along with other boulders onsite, is locally available 'Sonoma Fieldstone'

A mix of evergreen shrubs and grasses serves as a stable 'foundation' planting directly in front of the house. Rhamnus 'Eve Case', Dwarf Coffeeberry, is planted under the windows. Ceanothus 'Frosty Blue' is the taller plant between the windows. Festuca 'Siskyou Blue' provides an interesting foliage contrast in the foreground.

Tiers of grasses create layers of simlple style. Festuca 'Siskyou Blue' is in the foreground with taller Muhlenbergia rigens in the rear.

BEFORE At the front door, we wanted to re-shape the existing porch to give it a more creative and welcoming feel.
AFTER: We were able to keep the existing porch slab and add on a secondary curved step. Interlocking pavingstones were then mortared on top. Strategies such as this minimize demolition and waste materials, diverting this waste from landfills.

Stephanie Morris, Landscape Architect - cell (408) 206.5055 or