4 To Create Refuge
What: A contemporary urban garden that promotes biodiversity and conserves water resources
Where: Kenton (North Portland)
Who: Marina Wynton and Mike Pajunas
SHORTLY BEFORE MARRYING IN 2008, Wynton and Pajunas ripped out their front lawn and installed raised planting beds and a gravel swale to capture stormwater—the bones of a front-yard habitat garden. Within a year, the beds were blooming with native plants that provide food and refuge for insects and birds, from dragonflies to tiger swallowtails.
Why: With much of the earth’s surface converted to human uses, we’re rapidly depleting biodiversity. By allotting about 50 percent of their garden to native plants, Wynton and Pajunas are sustaining wildlife while also creating space for people-friendly staples—like the fragrant jasmine and clematis climbing their front fence.
Spreading the Word: Wynton joined with the Three Rivers Land Conservancy’s Backyard Habitat Certification Program and the Audubon Society of Portland to help 30 other households in her neighborhood follow her lead.
Hot Tip: “Just putting out an elevated bowl of water for birds to drink from is a great step,” says Wynton.