Blake Garden Adaptive Restoration Project

Blake Garden Adaptive Restoration Project

Project Leaders: Joanna Salem and Dawn Kooyumjian

Sponsor: UC Berkeley Department of Landscape Architecture and Blake Garden

TGIF Mini-Grant: $2,000

Project Theme: Land Use

Project Location: Blake Garden

2015 Application Submission

Status: In Progress


  • Research sustainable slope-stabilization methods with natural materials, such a jute and reclaimed wood; this will contribute to erosion control research of watersheds
  • Make accessible sustainable slope-stabilization methods and techniques
  • Be an ecological and sustainable learning tool for students and the local community
  • Provide wildlife habitat with California native, low water-use plants
  • Highlight the landscape architecture profession, its impact in the everyday environment, and the importance of land stewardship

Find more information and updates on their blog at:  

Project Updates:

• Design by students of Landscape Architecture 254:3
• Students propagated Stipa pulchra, our state grass, in the Blake Garden Greenhouse to use in the restoration work.
• Students also are experimenting with repurposed coffee bean bags, filled with soil and seeded with a native grass erosion control mix, to stabilize the bank.
• Workday, Saturday, December 12, 2016. Ten students, both undergrad and grad, spent the day removing invasives, installing a stone edger, using stones sourced on site, began stabilizing the slope, planted cover crops to build the soil. We are using a “soil buster” radish to loosen compacted soils, and red clover to add nutrients.
• Spring semester work continues by Blake Garden Work Study and independent study students. Site is cleared. The plan is being staked out.
• Students from Landscape Architecture 121 (Design in Detail: Introduction to Landscape Materials and Construction) are also involved in the installation of the project as part of their field work requirement. They have been coming on Friday afternoons.
• Another student from LD ARCH 121 is developing the detailed planting plan, and is currently investigating local sources for plants. We also have the option of propagating plants on site at Blake.

• The biggest challenge is coordinating the various schedules between students. To this end, we have set up a Box folder with a work log to facilitate communication between all involved.

Timeline Progress:
• We plan to have the design staked out this week (early March 2016), with the grading done in the next couple of weeks.
• We plan to have the Phase 1 hardscape and plants installed by mid-May.

To date, expenses have been minor, with the ordering of the majority of the materials occurring in March 2016.


Education & Outreach:
• In addition to their blog (link listed above), education and outreach has taken the form of reaching out to other classes within the department, as well as the student ASLA, to participate in the project through work days.




Comment received via email earlier this semester (Spring 2016) from Yoojay Kim, Student in LD ARCH 121: “Thank you for giving our class an opportunity to work on something tangible and meaningful.”


Mission Statement

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC Berkeley's negative impact on the environment and make UC Berkeley more sustainable. TGIF will allocate funds to projects that promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reduce the amount of waste created by UC Berkeley. Portions of the fund also support education and behavior change initiatives, student aid (via return to aid), and internships. TGIF is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee and a program coordinator.