Designing to dig: La Mesa Garden Park

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Our second demonstration project reached an important milestone: Alicia Petersen presented the rainwater harvesting design plans for La Mesa Neighborhood Garden Park to the community partners.

The plan features two basins along the sidewalks to collect stormwater from the site and support native trees and shrubs with edible berries. The Desert Willow and New Mexico Olive are drought tolerant trees, yet they’ll take advantage of occasional flooding. Certain plants are adapted to desert precipitation patterns and the trees that we selected are also favorite natives.

The design plan also features a circular area with fruit trees in a basin that nearly surrounds the space. In time, the circle will create a sense of enclosure and become an inviting space for picnics and neighborly gatherings. A small basin planted with sage and yucca on the primary corner of the site will feature a low wall along the edge.

While developing the plans, team members also met with Jim Brooks of Brooks Terrain Systems. Jim has the local experience and equipment to move earth while thinking of water.

With the team’s acceptance of the design plans, we lost no time in moving some dirt. On a bright day we marked key areas with flags, and Jim set up his Dingo machine and started the grading work.  Two other team members arrived with needed supplies and energy.  Better yet, it wasn’t windy!

The Garden Park team continues to reach out to volunteers in the area. Joel Wooldridge, a team member from La Mesa Presbyterian Church, talked with local residents during their annual neighborhood meeting.  He noted that “Every one of them was thrilled about the project and its prospects for improving the area.”

The team will soon announce work parties to move rocks, plant trees and shrubs, and carry out an efficient watering plan. Students and neighbors will also be involved in creating gardening and art projects, shade structures and seating areas. To receive news about work parties, send a note to Winona at

Greener neighborhoods, especially those with green common areas, can encourage social bonding between neighbors and improve the social setting. Residents that are more attached to their community have higher levels of social cohesion and social control, less fear of crime. (University of Washington, Green Cities: Good Health)

2 thoughts on “Designing to dig: La Mesa Garden Park

  1. Pingback: News: Water Harvesting Workshop, Garden Park Views | Querencia Green

  2. Pingback: Work Parties Move Earth for Water | Querencia Green

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