Redwood Coast Montessori and the Manila Community Center allowed Cal Poly Humboldt's Fall 2014 ENGR215 Introduction to Design class to implement several student-designed projects that benefited the community. The Wayfinding Entrance Garden project's main objective was to create an attractive, inviting entrance for the school that included native plants. The inclusion of edible plants was also a consideration in the design. The garden was envisioned as a place where students might be able to learn about the care of a native garden while enjoying the sights, smells and tastes of the plants.

Background[edit | edit source]

Redwood Coast Montessori and The Manila Community center are located in a dune environment near Manila, California. The proximity of the location to the ocean was considered in the design, as was the fact that the entrance area must be appealing to both the communities of the school, and of the Community center.

The Green Garden Gurus (G3)[edit | edit source]

G3 consists of four Cal Poly Humboldt students: Paul Acosta, Emily Higbee, Jose Lara, and Carmen Torres. They are all enrolled in the fall semester of 2014 Engineering 215 course, Introduction to Design taught by Lonny Grafman. This group was given the task of making an aesthetically pleasing entrance garden for Redwood Coast Montessori, which leases the property from The Manila Community Center.

Problem Statement and Criteria[edit | edit source]

Specifications and considerations are the defining aspects of the Wayfinding Entrance Garden. These aspects have been set forth by the project team G3 in cooperation with the client at Redwood Coast Montessori based on the school's and the community center's needs. The entrance garden design must meet the criteria, and stay within the constraints listed below in table below.

Criteria Weight Constraint
Appearance 10 Looks professionally designed and is inviting
Use of native plants 10 All plants in the garden must be native
Sustainability 8 The ecological balance of the area must be upheld
Safety 5 Will not kill children
Cost 5 Less than $500
Edibility 4 There are some edible plants in the garden

Description of final project[edit | edit source]

The final design is called Natural Native, which includes all native plants[1] from California. The lack of large planters and a stepping stone path give this design a more natural feel.

All the plants that were planted in the ground are native to the local climate of Northern California.[2] We divided the plants in the ground into two main categories, forbs (an herbaceous flowering plant) and secondly trees or shrubs[3], which will grow to be large.

The plants that are not in the ground are local to California, but not to Northern California. We chose to contain the plants that are not from the local environment to reduce their takeover of the garden, and to make the in ground aesthetic the most native as possible.

Figure-3: Final Design CAD (By Emily Higbee)
Figure-3: Final Design CAD (By Emily Higbee)
Figure-4: Plant list CAD (By Emily Higbee)
Figure-4: Plant list CAD (By Emily Higbee)

Costs[edit | edit source]

Implementation Cost[edit | edit source]

G3 had a total budget of $400.00. The total that the team spent on the project was $81.00. Soil and plant containers (pots) were donated. $42.00 was spent on purchasing plants for the garden. A list of materials is shown.

Amount Item Implementation of materials Source Cost ($) Retail Cost ($)
6 Stepping Stones New path through the garden Miller Farms Nursery $60.67
2 Native Plants Aesthetics appeal. Miller Farms Nursery $10.00 $15.00
6 Native Plants Aesthetics appeal. Samara Restoration Donated $50.00
15 Native Plants Aesthetics appeal. Potato Rock Nursery $32.00 $70.00
1 Weed Mat Prevent weeds from growing in the garden Redwood Coast Montessori Donated $378.50
Total Cost $81.00 $574.17

Design Hours[edit | edit source]

The labor cost consist of the amount of hours that the team, G3, spent designing and building the garden. The majority of G3 time was spent on the implementation process of the design, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure-5: Pie Chart of Labor Hour..
Figure-5: Pie Chart of Labor Hour.

Maintenance Cost[edit | edit source]

In order to maintain the garden some weeding needs to be done so that weeds won't spread and take over the garden. The plants also need to be watered regularly until they are established at which time they will require very little maintenance. Maintenance will mostly be done by the students of Redwood Coast Montessori, volunteers or by school staff.

Task Time Hours (Minutes/Month) Cost of Maintenace ($/yearly)
Watering 20 $0.00
Weeding 30 $0.00
Harvesting 15 $0.00

Results[edit | edit source]

Visitors used the new stepping stone path and commented on the fact that the stride length is perfect and that they no longer feel badly about walking through the garden now that the path is official. Many comments from visitors make it clear that the new garden is much more visually appealing and inviting than the previous garden. The only issue is that the ground cover will take a while to spread and some weeding will have to be done during this time.

How to build[edit | edit source]

These are the few basic steps the the team G3 followed to reach the endgoal of their project; a beautiful enrance area garden.


Determine the area of the garden you plan to be working on.


Dig out any existing plants that aren't wanted in the garden.


Pull out all the weeds[4] from the garden area. (Also pull out rocks from the ground inside the garden area if any).


Create a design of your garden and were each plant will be placed.


After creating your design you should select which plants you would like to grow.


Once your plants are selected you can go off and purchase all your plants at your local nursery.[5]


Start planting the flowers in the areas that you decided on in your design.


Add the mulch to the ground around the flowers.[6]


Add stepping stones to create a path along your garden.


Apply a weed mat on the ground around the flowers to prevent weeds from growing.


Take a section of the weed mat and lay it over the flowers.


Make a hole over each individual flower and make sure the hole in the weed mat is big enough to fit over the flower and place it on the ground.


Your weed mat should look similar to this when done.


Now your garden is finished and ready to start growing.

Discussion and next steps[edit | edit source]

Discussion[edit | edit source]

Several last minute adjustments needed to be made to the final design. The client at Redwood Coast Montessori requested another stepping stone to be placed into the path to accommodate the younger students at the school. Also, the original design included covering the entire area with the weed mat, but unfortunately the donated material was not enough to cover the entire garden, and purchasing more would be outside the price range of this project.

Next Steps[edit | edit source]

The Green Garden Gurus have finally finished the entrance garden for the Redwood Coast Montessori School and already the community loves the way the garden looks. Now it is up to the students and staff of the Redwood Coast Montessorito water and maintain the garden in order for the plants to blossom and flourish.

Poster[edit | edit source]

This is the Poster for the entrance garden and here are the list of plants used for the garden.

  1. Monkey Flower[7]
  2. Coastal Aster[8]
  3. California Coastal Aster[9]
  4. Coastal Poppy[10]
  5. Coastal Sagewort[11]
  6. Blue-Eye Grass[12]
  7. Beach Strawberry[13]
  8. Flowerig Currant[14]
  9. Blue Blossom[15]
  10. Shore Pine[16]
  11. Huckleberry[17]
  12. Twinberry[18]
  13. Powdery Dudleya[19]
  14. Black Sage[20]
  15. White Sage[21]
  16. Golden Iris[22]

Engr 215 Poster g^3.jpeg

Video[edit | edit source]


References[edit | edit source]

  1. Calflora. "Plants", <> (December 8, 2014).
  2. Northwest California Natives. "Plant list", <> (December 8, 2014).
  3. Huckleberry. "Shrub", <> (December 8, 2014).
  4. The Greenhouse catalog. (2012) "Weeds", <> (December 7, 2014).
  5. Samara Nursery. (2012) "Samara Nursery", <> (December 7, 2014).
  6. Wild About Gardens. (2013) "Mulch your Border", <> (December 12, 2014).
  7. Monkey Flower. "Flower", <> (December 11, 2014).
  8. Coastal Aster. "Flower",
    (December 11, 2014).
  9. California Coastal Aster. "Flowwer", <> (December 11, 2014).
  10. Coastal Poppy. "Flower",
    (December 11, 2014).
  11. Coastal Sagewort. "Flower", <> (December 11, 2014).
  12. Blue-Eye Grass. "Grass", <> (December 11, 2014).
  13. Beach Strawberry. "Shrub",
    (December 11, 2014).
  14. Flowering Currant. "Flower",
    (December 11, 2014).
  15. Blue Blossom. "Flower",*bp*blogspot*com%7C-Oa7Pc4ZUa0Y%7CTfIthrofD1I%7CAAAAAAAAA2g%7CFcvkioD95Gc%7Cs1600%7CCeanothus_repens-0-02*jpg/
    (December 11, 2014).
  16. Shore Pine. "Tree", 
    (December 11, 2014).
  17. Huckleberry. "Shrub",
    (December 11, 2014).
  18. Twinberry. "Shrub", <> (December 11, 2014).
  19. Powdery Dudleya. "Flower", <> (December 11, 2014).
  20. Black Sage. "Herb", <> (December 11, 2014).
  21. White Sage. "Herb", <> (December 11, 2014).
  22. Golden Iris. "Flower",
    (December 11, 2014).

Discussion[View | Edit]

Notes for Improvement[edit source]

  • Add a brief description under the "How to Build" section
  • Include image of poser under "Poster" section
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