In fall of 2007, the landscape architecture firm of April Philips Design Works, Inc. and the landscape construction company of Cagwin & Dorward, in conjunction with Dixie Elementary School and numerous donors and volunteers, completed a Rain Garden in the drop off loop at Dixie Elementary School in San Rafael, California. The beautification project is a demonstration garden that educates the students and community about ecology, sustainability, as well as being a case study garden to advance sustainable landscaping industry practices beyond the current status quo. We especially wish to thank the Dixie Home and School Club and the Dixie School District for their generosity and support.

Located in a 3,800 sq foot median within the school’s main entry and vehicular drop-off, the derelict looking landscape had never been developed or planted due to insufficient school funding and water conservation requirements. The design team chose to design a garden that would reflect its Mediterranean, coastal bioregion and meet the following goals: 100% zero waste, pesticide free, rely on predominantly native vegetation, use only organic soil amendments to increase permeability and water retention of the local soils. In addition, to use only local recycled and salvaged materials, total reliance on seasonal rain water instead of irrigation and to be designed and built by 100% volunteer effort in order to be economically viable.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dixie Loop on the Bay-Friendly Garden Tour

On May 15th, 2010 the Dixie Loop was part of the Bay-Friendly Garden Tour. The Loop hosts were April Philips from April Philips Design Works and Jake Voit from Cagwin and Dorward. They were joined by Annie Spiegelman, the author of Talking Dirt: A new organic gardening how-to guide. Spiegelman also writes an organic gardening column entitled Dirt Diva in the Pacific Sun.

The Bay-Friendly garden tour celebrates the diverity of Bay-Friendly gardens. Urban farmers grow fruit and vegetabels and keep chicken and bees. Native plant enthusianst embrace the local flora while salvaged material aficionados blend recycled art into the landscape. These gardens offer something for everyone.
The Dixie Loop celebrated many of these aspects, including rainwater harvesting in its natural cistern, native plants providing habitat and food for wildlife, recycled materials such as the paver path, and community volunteering as well as educational resources.

Thanks to the Cagwin & Dorward and April Philips Design Works team for getting the loop ready the days before the tour.

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