Sustainable Farming in Southern California

At Farmscape, we believe that every outdoor space can be transformed into a harmonious blend of beauty and sustainability. Sustainable landscaping and gardening at Farmscape is an integrated philosophy that guides every decision by our design, installation and maintenance teams. In practice, that means we work with site conditions to enhance the rhythms of nature and nourish people, pollinators and soil on all our projects.

Southern California is renowned as an ideal climate for agricultural production. However, for newcomers to urban farming, adapting to the arid climate, limited natural precipitation and marine layer can pose significant hurdles. As experts in Southern California farming, this prompted us to start Farmscape, a professional landscaping initiative dedicated to helping residents of Los Angeles and Orange County establish their own backyard farms — minus the hassles. Our experienced sustainable farming team can help you learn how to start farming and gardening in the Southland.

To embark on urban farming in Southern California, it’s crucial to understand our distinct microclimates. Our local climate varies from cloudy coastal areas to arid, sun-drenched inland regions. Elevation significantly impacts temperature fluctuations, which can adversely affect small farming ventures. Navigating our predominantly clay-based soil inland and sandy coastal soil is also essential. Before an initial consultation, Farmscape will conduct thorough research into your local microclimate and Sunset garden zone, including evaluating chill hours (annual hours below 40 degrees), to select optimal crops and fruit trees for your unique site. We’ll also perform a preliminary hand test of your soil to inform our irrigation planning. For larger sites, we’ll send soil samples to a trusted laboratory for detailed analysis.

Because Southern California is marked by extreme weather, alternating between prolonged droughts and wet periods like the winter of 2023, managing water resources is critical. Our team specializes in advanced drip irrigation techniques and is trained annually by landscape authority Lori Palmquist. Our sustainable landscape designers focus on rainwater harvesting to conserve water during dry periods and ensure deep percolation to rejuvenate heritage trees. Effectively managing underground water storage and surface water runoff is vital for successful gardening. Our expertise in creating landscapes that minimize water usage while maintaining aesthetics and productivity underscores our commitment to sustainable practices.

Opting for native and drought-resistant plants is integral to sustainable architectural and landscape design. Plants like Fremontodendron and Arbutus Marina, indigenous to California regions like Fremont and San Francisco’s Marina district, are low-maintenance and water-efficient, making them ideal for sustainable settings. Farmscape often features these resilient plants, adapted to our region’s fluctuating water availability, in our projects. We also continually experiment with new rootstocks to enhance the resilience of our fruit trees against climate variations.

Our experienced team, with backgrounds in organic farming across the Western United States, defines eco-friendly gardening as including companion planting to naturally deter pests and boost yields. For instance, marigolds and onions, both of which emit a musky odor, repel many garden pests, therefore eliminating the need for harmful sprays or poisons. We also employ crop rotation on every sustainable farm and garden we design.Our maintenance team meticulously records crop details to reduce disease risks for specific crop families. These time-honored techniques are crucial for landscaping and gardening success, and Farmscape is one of the best eco-friendly landscaping companies to employ these tactics for healthy yields.

As a fan of organic gardening, you may be familiar with terms like permaculture, biodynamic and no-till farming. But have you ever wondered which organic farming technique is right for you? Our eco-friendly landscape design team of more than 50 organic farmers incorporates elements from each of these approaches, creating a unique method that’s just right for your home. These practices converge to create self-sustaining ecosystems, so our garden designs prioritize working with natural site characteristics to preserve existing pollinator habitats.

For limited spaces, we highly recommend raised beds over traditional row crops. Raised beds offer benefits including optimal soil conditions, enhanced drainage (especially important after the wet winter of 2023), and an extended growing season due to quicker soil warming in spring and prolonged warmth in fall. They also facilitate maintenance with fewer weeds and reduced physical strain, and their customizable design adds both functional and aesthetic value to your garden.

If you’re interested in adopting an eco-friendly farming lifestyle, have you considered moving to one of the many Agrihood communities in Southern California? After all, nothing fosters community like food! Farmscape works directly with developers and design teams to create food-focused residential communities using two types of projects: Agrihoods and Farm Parks. Agrihoods are defined by the Urban Land Institute as “multifamily or mixed-use communities built with a working farm as a focus.” These large-scale commercial landscaping projects build soil through row crops, orchards and perennial hedgerows. Farm Parks are smaller-scale and can include raised beds, small orchards and gathering spaces. Both types of communities encourage residents to participate through volunteering, farmers’ markets and seasonal events. You can explore examples of our vibrant Agrihood and Farm Parks here.

Eager to turn your Southern California gardening project into a flourishing farm? If you’re searching for eco-friendly landscaping near you, contact Farmscape to discuss your project with our industry experts. We’re excited to embark on a farming journey with you!