Landscape Landscape
Plant Material - Design

All About Plants

It makes sense: some plants are "thirstier" than others. To achieve the goal of having a beautiful low-water use landscape, choosing the right kind of plant material is essential: Species identified as turfgrass or as having high water needs in Region 3 in the current edition of the Water Use Classification of Landscape Species(WUCOLS) are limited to 20% of the landscaped area. 

To prevent runoff onto the street or sidewalk: Turfgrass is not allowed on slopes steeper than 25% where the bottom of the slope is adjacent to an impermeable hardscape.  
  • Select "Santa Monica" on the WUCOLS List to view classifications, based on our region, for plant water use. 
  • More tips and info can be found on our Choosing Plant Material page. 

California Native Plants for Santa Monica

California Native plants are often described as belonging to a particular native plant community. However, these plant communities are dynamic, evolving groups without rigid boundaries. Therefore while the Coastal Sage Scrub community is the predominant choice for most of Santa Monica, you may find members of other plant communities do well here too. Choose the plants best suited to your particular microclimate.
CA_Native_Plant_List_for_Santa_Monica pdf

Climate Appropriate Non-Native Plants

Choosing plants that are appropriate for the Santa Monica climate will help create a beautiful garden that requires less maintenance, less chemicals, and less water. These plants are not California natives but should do well in Santa Monica nonetheless. Remember these plants may have different watering needs than natives or even succulents, so plant them accordingly.
Climate_Appropriate_non-native_plant_list pdf

Invasive Plants

Plants listed in the current Invasive Plant Inventory for the southwest region by the California Invasive Plant Council are not permitted.
Please don’t plant these:  Invasive Plant List pdf


Group plants into hydrozones based on similar watering needs. That way, you can cut down on irrigation to parts of your landscape that don't need much water.

Shade Tolerant Plants

Some plants do better in shade than others.
Consult this quick list of Shade Tolerant Plants pdf

Last updated: Thursday, 12/10/2015

All About Plants

Climate-appropriate, drought-tolerant, California-friendly, water-wise: different ways to say the same thing -- choosing the right plant material is an important part of any sustainable landscape.
Learn More.

A Website for Sore Eyes

Take a gander at some gorgeous gardens, point and click on the plants you like and - voila! - you tap into a wealth of information on that particular plant species.  Click again and you automatically compile a printable list of plants that can easily be handed-off to a landscaper or an attendant at your favorite nursery. 

This tool will go a long way in helping you overcome some of the most significant hurdles in getting your sustainable landscape project started.


City of Santa Monica © 2016

Santa Monica Office of Sustainability and the Environment
1685 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90401 · (310) 458-2213 · TTY (310) 917-6626