Urban Habitats

Urban Habitats

We are aware that urbanization poses a great strain on our fragile ecology and is rapidly consuming habitable lands from the wildlife. Our wastes and ways are not only polluting and contaminating our water, air and soil but also adversely affecting our ecosystem and human health. Moreover, most beneficial insects and pollinators are rapidly declining creating an imminent threat to our future food production.



Recognizing our responsibility, we can create native, holistic and chemical-free gardens and landscapes in our homes to proactively participate in the healing and restoration process.

While urbanization may have contributed to loss of habitat, creating urban habitats with native plant and beauty is a viable solution to gradually bring back the natural balance and ensure the health and future of all species.


Why Use Native Plants

Evolution and Adaptation

Our region’s native flora and fauna have evolved to thrive in the local climate. Their  adaptation to the seasonal and cyclical weather patterns make them tolerant to both, flooding and drought. These plants not just add natural beauty to our yards but also draw in a variety of pollinators, birds and small mammals that have relied on these plants for food and refuge for thousands of years.



These wonderful native florae have much stronger defense mechanisms against many pests and diseases as they have evolved with a heightened resilience against these threats, eliminating the need to use pesticides in our gardens and creating a safer environment for our families and the eco-system.

In addition, native plants have evolved without artificial fertilizers and, in fact, do not require soil amendments. These synthetic amendments provide a nutrient boost to plants rushing some to grow at unsustainable speeds causing burnouts. A wiser solution is sheet mulching which discourages weed germination, retains moisture much longer and is an excellent breeding ground for beneficial bacteria and yeast colonies that slowly release nutrients back to the plants.



Native wildlife prefers native plants for sustenance and shelter. Attracting pollinators, hummingbirds, beneficial insects and other wildlife to our gardens will not only boost its yield but also keep them free of mosquitoes, pests and harmful bugs.


Once established, native plants require very little water. Many just rely on the seasonal rains to sustain them throughout the year as they go dormant during summer to conserve energy and withstand drought. This unique adaptation is not seen in non-native plants so many local gardeners take advantage of this feature to gain significant saving in water and energy usage. Moreover, any waste from the yard can be recycled into an organic matter and reapplied for a self-sustained fertility.


Low Management

Native gardens thrive on very little pruning and care. Their slower growth rates, stronger immunity and non-reliance to pesticides or fertilizers should give us enough incentive to make them an essential part of our landscapes.


Smart Yards employs all this wisdom and takes it a step further by creating very low maintenance landscapes by eliminating the need for any mowing or blowing. Homeowners can enjoy a noise and dust-free environment and save valuable resources, including time, effort and money.

With a Sustainable Smart Yard you become a part of the solution, cultivate a safer and cleaner environment, support our fragile ecosystem and contribute to the health of our planet.

Tips to prepare for El-Niño

California is already enjoying the full onset of El Niño and many may not know that this cool, wet season is an excellent time for a sustainable garden facelift.

Here are some tips from Smart Yards Landscape Expert - Elizabeth Sarmiento to help you prepare and make the most of this bounty!

Mulching To The Rescue – Brown lawns may end up muddy and weedy as rainwater collects over dead vegetation. A thick layer of mulch will keep the mud and weeds away. Sheet mulch using cardboard, newspaper or burlap and then cover with wood chips.

Stabilize Your Slopes – Plant some drought-tolerant natives to your steep hills and slopes to stabilize the soil, avoid erosion and runoffs from your landscapes. The cool, wet season is ideal to establish these wonderful plants as they develop a healthy root system, grow and store energy for the hot, dry months when they start going dormant. Use native seeds on your slopes for immediate and maximum coverage.

California Natives – El Niño gives you an excellent opportunity to start a new garden. California Natives are naturally adapted to the local weather conditions and seasonal changes. The best time to plant them is winter as they are primed to grow in the moist cool seasons of winter and spring. Native plants slowdown in growth or go dormant in summer to conserve water, planting them in summer makes them seasonally confused as the heat makes them dormant and irrigation water tells them to grow.  

Winter Vegetables & Succulents – In winter your succulents and winter vegetable may drown or rot with the heavy rains. Plant them on raised beds or elevated rows and focus on drainage. If the water percolates down rapidly, your plants will be able to handle heavy downpours. Mix small rocks and perlite into your soil to improve drainage.

Rain Gardens – Infiltrate more water into your landscapes by installing dry swales, dry well or a rain garden. Instead of having runoffs, these simple techniques will let water infiltrate into the ground and sustain trees, shrubs and other long-rooted plants well into the dry season.

And remember, Smart Yards is here to help you and give you good advice on all your Landscaping needs. Contact us now to make use of our free site visit and consultation session.

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