Sustainable Garden Tour
The 2016 Sustainable Garden Tour will be Sunday, June 12 from 1-5 PM. Save the date! Sites will be clustered in the Reston and Herndon area. To suggest a garden or volunteer to host, please email us or call 703-324-1423, TTY 711.
The tour typically features rain gardens, pervious parking areas, native plant landscaping, rain barrels, backyard wildlife habitat, composting and more. Local residents open their gardens and share their experiences landscaping with natural resources in mind.
2015 Garden Tour Sites
Rooney Residence: 104 Harmony Dr SW, Vienna
Interested in native plants -- but don't know where to start? Come see how these gardeners are adapting their landscape to be more environmentally and wild life friendly, one plant at a time. Non-native plants inherited when the house was purchased are gradually being replaced with native plants to attract birds, butterflies, and other species -- baby box turtles were born here last year! Stop by and see what has been swapped out and whether these strategies will work in your garden. Handouts and the opportunity to make a "plant wish list" will be available.
Photo credit: Kathy Rooney
Watson Residence: 8337 Carnegie Drive, Vienna
This charming garden features a small fish pond and waterfall with a
submersible pump that provide a water source for birds and other
wildlife year round. There are also two vegetable garden areas with
beans, tomato, squash, peppers, garlic and chives. Native plant
landscaping also attracts birds and butterflies, with garden beds
expanded to reduce the lawn. Both sun and shade gardens can be enjoyed
in a number of sitting areas. This couple has been taking on
do-it-yourself garden projects for many years and they have a wealth of
experience to share.
Marshall High School: 7731 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043
Marshall High School has recently completed a three-year renovation.
Its features include an outdoor classroom with a native plant garden,
rooftop garden and energy reduction efforts. It was also the site of a
groundbreaking urban tillage radish study in partnership with NVSWCD.
Marshall High School students will be on site to provide tours of the
gardens in enclosed interior courtyards. The school's new features have
been hailed as "cutting edge" by Fairfax County Board of
Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova. Enter the school through the main
entrance (Door #1) and bear left. The entry to the garden will be on
the right side.
Schaefer Residence: 7028 Santa Maria Court, McLean, VA
These homeowners have installed conservation practices that blend in
beautifully with their existing landscaping. They have installed a
lovely rain garden filled with native plants to capture and absorb
runoff. Throughout the side and rear gardens, native ferns and other
plants have replaced existing exotic plants to build a better
foundation for the food chain and to sustain wildlife. Dry stack wall
terraces backfilled with compost and planted with natives help reduce
rainwater runoff from the sloping front yard, and a rain barrel also
helps to conserve water.
Braccio-Ford Residence: 1723 East Ave., McLean, VA 22101
Visitors to this garden are greeted with an array of sustainable
practices. A porous paver driveway and rain barrels capture and absorb
rainwater. A native wildflower meadow extends across the front yard,
providing a pollinator haven, rainwater uptake and an important
food source for seed-eating songbirds. A woodland shade garden has been
created in the backyard along with a bog garden and a beautiful DIY
water feature that provides a cool drink for wildlife. Learn how
these homeowners successfully challenged a complaint made to local
officials about their meadow planting. Audubon at Home certified with
chipmunks, catbirds, cardinals, drop mockingbirds, goldfinches, native
ground-nesting bees and much more!
Lattimore-Brown Residence: 8396 Idylwood Rd., Vienna, VA 22182
Originally constructed in 2007 with a Windmill Hill built addition in
2014, the house is designed to be as efficient and environmentally
friendly as possible without compromising on architecture or
functionality. The concrete slab with SIP construction and the triple
pane windows enable effective passive and active solar heating of the
home. The narrow footprint of the home is designed for air movement,
and the owners have used wood milled from the property, salvaged
architectural pieces, recycled components and other environmentally
friendly finishes. Outside the environmentally friendly features
include a living roof, a native species yard, Audubon at home
certification, a rain garden, and a hybrid car. The result is a
beautiful home with advanced technologies that keep the environmental
footprint low. Native species yard, rain garden, living roof, and
green home will be open for the tour. Available on site are native
plant lists, blueprints and structural requirements for living roof,
and photos of the construction process.
Furlong-Kahn Residence: 9412 Cello Ct., Vienna, VA 22182
This half acre yard near Wolf Trap contains environments of all types,
from a wooded area to full sun. The gardening philosophy is "as
colorful as possible and wildlife friendly." Native plants are used
to attract a wide variety of birds and pollinators. The sloped wooded
area has been terraced with blocks of NY granite to reduce runoff. It
contains large groupings of hellebores, hostas, ferns, and other shade
loving plants. The sunnier areas are a mix of perennials, groundcovers,
and small shrubs, plus a vegetable garden. Several of the smaller
gardens have been terraced with wooden timbers; downspouts direct water
into garden areas; and two rain barrels collect water. Various fairly
effective strategies are being used to limit deer damage. The
homeowners will be giving away pots of perennial blue lobelia to garden
tour visitors, as their supplies permit (~50 plants).
Christmus Residence: 1303 Cottage Street, SW, Vienna, VA 22180
This horticulturalist's garden showcases how homeowners can achieve harmony between their built and natural environment. They removed the non-native turf lawn, replaced impervious concrete with permeable pavers, use rain barrels to collect rainwater, and have a gorgeous palette of native plants that provide interest throughout the seasons. The garden has myriad certifications, including Audubon at Home, Monarch Waystation, Virginia Habitat at Home, and National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Backyard Wildlife Habitat.
Photo credit: Nancy Christmus, NativeScapes Horticultural
Year-Round Watershed Friendly Sites
The following three watershed friendly sites can be visited at any time during daylight hours.
Hidden Oaks Nature Center: 7701 Royce Street, Annandale, VA 22003. Long offering exemplary programming on local wildlife and plants, Hidden Oaks also provides a place to view permeable paving, rain barrels, and a rain garden. A pond and NWF certified Wildlife Habitat garden complete this woodland retreat.
Fairfax County Providence District Supervisor's Office: 8739 Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22031. This site is a sustainable low impact development demonstration location fascinating for all visitors. The parking lot at this government building has been retrofitted with a rain garden and attractive pervious pavers. A green roof captures rainwater on an adjacent shed. A well-placed mirror allows visitors to see onto the green roof year-round.
Herrity Green Roof Demonstration Project: 12055 Government Center
Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22030. Three different planting levels
illustrate the three types of green roofs within the 5,000 sq ft.
demonstration project which includes extensive, semi-intensive, and
intensive vegetated roof systems. Green roofs provide energy savings
benefits, mainly by reducing rooftop temperatures, while several deep
planters filled with native shrubs and perennials also retain and
filter rainwater that would otherwise runoff untreated into the storm
drains. The project showcases the beauty and variety of green roofs.