What does a garden have to do with the ocean?

Urban runoff is often the primary source of ocean pollution. But where does it come from? Gardens and adjacent hardscape like driveways can be a major source: pesticides and herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, sediment, oil and brake pad dust, dog poo, etc. It can run off the property during rain storms and during dry periods with sprinklers overwatering and overshooting the landscape. The use of gas-powered equipment to mow lawns, prune and haul away over-planted vegetation also contribute to air pollution – which eventually settles into water bodies.

But gardens can be beautiful, resourceful, wildlife-friendly and prevent runoff. Vegetable and fruit gardens can do this, too. Here’s how – The Ocean Friendly Gardens ™ (OFG) Program educates and assists people in “applying CPR – Conservation, Permeability and Retention – to their gardens to revive their watersheds and oceans.”

Conservation of (a) water, (b) fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, (c) energy (moving & cleaning water use lots of energy), (d) wildlife habitat and (e) reduced use of gas-powered maintenance machinery (air pollutants) and yard waste through native or climate-appropriate plants, spaced with their mature size in mind.

Permeability through healthy, biologically active soil, and utilizing materials for – or making a cut in – driveways, walkways and patios that allow water to percolate into the soil.

Retention devices like rain chains, rain barrels and rain gardens retain water in the soil for the dry seasons or save it to water veggies, preventing it from running off the property.


Want to transform your garden into an Ocean-Friendly Garden?

Feeling ambitious? We have found this handy guide, provided by Mass Gov that shows you how to transform your landscape into an ocean-friendly one. It includes the basic steps that you need to take as well as many native Massachusetts plants and shrubs with a link to a more comprehensive list. Get started in your own garden today!

Download the Rain Garden Fact Sheet (pdf)


Become More Involved!

Are you a landscape professional interested in partnering with Surfrider MA? Do you have an Ocean-Friendly Garden in the works? Do you just want to learn more and be surrounded by like-minded folks? Then please join us for our next chapter meeting. We welcome all people who care about protecting our oceans and waves. We need you!


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