California Landscape Contractors Association spruces up Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter’s grounds – Santa Cruz Sentinel

Kurt Christiansen, who owns the landscaping business Christiansen Associates, works alongside others to update the landscape outside of the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter on Saturday. (Kevin Johnson — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

LIVE OAK >> A group of landscape contractors adopted the Santa Cruz Animal Shelter in Live Oak as its community outreach project for the year.

Saturday was the big push to wrap up the facelift project, which began in January. With the prolonged punishing drought and a slashed budget for maintenance, the shelter’s grounds went to seed.

Volunteers from the California Landscape Contractors Association and animal shelter upgraded the irrigation system, installed more rocks and a drainage system to keep water on site and planted succulents, native plants and shade trees in the parking lot. They divided the property, and about 10 contractor businesses adopted different sections to work on.

“What they do at that shelter is incredible, and they work very hard to find every animal a new home,” said garden designer Barbara Olsen, who’s coordinating the project. “The landscape that was put in was beautiful, sustainable and drought-tolerant, but it was neglected. They were focusing on what they needed to do, which was help animals.”

The project received donated supplies from Ewing Irrigation, Vision Recycling and Central Home Supply and easy-to-care-for plants from UC Master Gardeners of Monterey Bay, Bay West Nursery, Suncrest, Spring Valley Wholesale, Soquel Nursey Growers, Meadowlark Nursey and Gold Rush Nursery,

“One of the thing we’ve specifically asked is for a landscape that is realistic — low maintenance, low budget,” said animal shelter volunteer Pam Lowry.

“I’m also a gardener. Day after day, week after week, month after month of walking through the shelter, final the weeds got to me, and there were trees that desperately needed to be pruned,” Lowry said. “I went and asked for permission to see if I could put together a group of people who could spruce up the grounds.”

Lowry now leads the shelter’s Green Team, tasked with garden upkeep moving forward.

“The shelter is in a neighborhood community, so we want to make sure that we keep up with our community responsibilities to have an attractive landscape,” said shelter manager Melanie Sobel.

She said that the shelter has plans to seek rated certification from the Monterey Bay Friendly Landscape program, which was spearheaded by the Santa Cruz nonprofit Ecology Action and modeled after the Bay Friendly program for the San Francisco Bay Area.

Project participants

• Central Coast Landscaping

• Christensen Associates Garden Design

• Coastal Evergreen Company

• Far West Landscape

• John Deere Landscape

• Marathon Landscape

• Pond Magic

• Stevenson Landscaping

• Prime Landscape

• Aqua Green Landscape Irrigation Co.

• California Horticulture Services • Ecology Action

• Barbara Olsen Garden Design

• Roberto Monjes

• Sherry Bryan

• Santa Cruz County

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