Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Fire-smart Landscaping - Home Garden Design



1 - Fruit tree

2 - Sculpture

3 - Native low water lawn alternative

4 - Lounge chairs

5 - Driveway with gravel strip with succulents (no irrigation)

6 - Decorative gravel, Idaho Fescue, succulent mix 

7 - Grasses planted on grid

8 - Meadow or grasses planted on grid

Landscape Design Templates

The City of Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC), Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA), Habitat Corridor Project (HCP), California Native Plant Society (CNPS) – Milo Baker Chapter and the UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County (UCMGSC) collaborated to develop a series of eight front yard landscape templates that demonstrate fire-smart and sustainable landscape practices, while also meeting the State of California Model Water Efficiency Landscape Ordinance (MWELO) requirements. These design templates have been generously made available as open source documents for use by the community in rebuilding new landscapes for those homes lost in the fires or to anyone who is interested in modifying their existing landscapes. 

These free, front yard designs are scalable to fit landscaped areas up to 2,500 square feet, ready-to-permit, and in compliance with local Water Efficient Landscape Ordinances. The eight front yard plans are available in two of each of these styles:

  • Sonoma Native/Adaptive – an emphasis on native and fire safer plants
  • Sonoma Eco-Edible – a mix of edible and habitat plantings that maximize sustainability
  • Sonoma Contemporary – a modern, minimalistic and clean look that is easy to maintain
  • Sonoma Cottage – a Sonoma version of a cottage garden with natural materials and colorful plantings

Although these designs are for use in rebuilding new landscapes, they may present ideas for you to consider incorporating elements of the design into your existing landscape.

In 2020, similar groups in the Marin County area will be working on design templates for Marin County home gardens. 

Reference Materials for further reading

Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership website:

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