Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center
Nestled amongst single family houses south of San Diego, this project seeks to empower citizens to improve the health and quality of life in the communities within the San Diego-Baja California border region. Including educational resources in organic gardening and cooking, the project also features the first permitted graywater system in National City. This garden plants a seed in the community to inspire families and children to build their own sustainable gardens, and becomes a wonderful example of landscape architecture that well exceeded the project’s requirements and expectations.
- Project Address: 2505 N Avenue, National City, CA 91950
- Project Owner/ Developer: International Community Foundation
- Owner Contact Name/ Email: Amy Carstensen / email@example.com
- Project Architect/ Designer: Marcie Harris Landscape Architecture / Marcie Harris
The Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center is a garden-based learning facility and children’s garden for the surrounding community of National City. The client, the International Community Foundation, is a non-profit organization that empowers citizens to improve the health and quality of life in the communities within the San Diego-Baja California border region. Students who attend the Olivewood Gardens program learn about organic gardening. They explore connections between plants and history, science, art, math, nutrition and cook using organic fruits and vegetables harvested from the garden. Olivewood Gardens is the newest addition to the ICF’s campus which includes the 1896 Noyes House and an established organic garden which harvests produce for UCSD Cancer Center’s Healing Foods Program. The client and design team worked with the common goal of creating an inspiring place to learn. Marcie Harris Landscape Architecture maximized the client’s limited space while creating a site design that is playful, orderly and flexible. The demonstration garden includes pollinator gardens to attract beneficial insects, raised planters, in-ground row crops, a passion fruit tunnel, a pizza garden, a recycled garden, picnic tables and a composting area. Sustainability was also an integral part of the project. The parking lot and pathways use permeable materials to minimize run off. The planting was installed with organic non-chemical fertilizers and amendments. Olivewood Gardens is proud to feature a Graywater Infiltration Garden, which was the first permitted graywater system in National City. The graywater from the sink infiltrates into the garden irrigating native plants. The design is cohesive with the existing context. The orientation of the garden and entry were designed to frame a view of San Miguel Mountain. The existing iconic Canary Island palm tree and majestic Morton Bay fig were also incorporated into the site design. The use of materials such as cobble, decomposed granite, and wood relate to the rustic character of the existing organic garden. The Olivewood Gardens has planted a “seed” in the community by inspiring educators, families and children to build their own sustainable gardens. The growth and consumption of fresh, organic food will have a positive impact on the quality of our lives as well as our environment.