Fabled Oaks Farm

~ Level 2 Whole Site Design ~

~ Level 3 – Water Harvesting Earthworks Implementation ~

Level 2 – Whole Site Design

Location: Temecula, CA

Project Scope: 7th Generation Design was invited to develop a Level 2 Whole Site Design for a 18.9 acre property in the hill country west of Temecula Valley. The clients envision creating an abundant homestead that can nourish their family and surrounding community for generations to come by creating a place where people, animals, plants, and insects can express their fullest innate potential. They wish to build literal and metaphorical soil by living in connection with nature and providing a lived example that will inspire their close relations to take similar steps in their own lives.

Additional design imperatives included addressing extreme top soil loss with perennial vegetative cover and rotational grazing, halting and healing erosion damage at several locations on the property, access re-patterning to improve functionality, increasing passive water harvesting capacity across the broad acre orchard and vineyard areas, and planting diverse, perennial food-producing ecosystems with minimal input costs.

The Land: The nearly 19 acre property features 6.4 acres of mature avocado orchard, 3.8 acres of juvenile olive orchard and .8 acres of vineyard. Over 1,100 feet of De Luz Creek flows year round through the property, bisecting it into two sections. The creek is bordered by oak woodland and some remaining chaparral sections. The entire property was covered in native CA chaparral until 2002, when over 80% of it was scraped bare in preparation for planting avocados, which was completed in 2005. Top soil loss from this initial clearing, as well as the later removal of half the avocados (due to Phytophthora root rot) was severe and remedying it was a main focus in formulating the dryland agroforestry systems proposed for retrofitting the olive and vineyard areas.

FOREGROUND: Existing culvert drainage draining from the vineyard underneath the entry driveway. BACKGROUND: Olive orchard row plantings.
Existing north vineyard planting, to be retrofitted with a small swale system and diverse intercroppings, shelter belts and viewscreen plantings.
De Luz Creek flowing through Fabled Oaks Farm.

Design Maps

Basemap of existing conditions compared with the mainframe water/access/structures design map.

Work Performed

  • Comprehensive site survey, aerial base map production, and Minimum Holistic Goal facilitation.
  • Level 2 Whole Site Design Report – featuring…
    • Increasing water infiltration and utilization on site with earthworks, run-off pick up points, water-conscious access planning and more.
    • Climate-appropriate plantings to maximize the biological benefit from additional water infiltration in the form of biomass.
    • Perennial cover-cropping of bare soils to reduce erosion and increase fertility.
    • Diversification of existing monocrop plantings into multi-layered systems that increase overall production, restore healthy ecological function and reduce input costs.
    • Management of broad-acre areas with livestock to improve soil fertility (and thus plant health) and provide food for the family and community.
    • Re-patterning of active rainwater harvesting system overflow to halt inbound erosive flows, additional rain water storage for greater water resilience.
    • Recommendations for wild-tending the riparian zone into a forager’s paradise while also enhancing it’s beauty and ecological integrity.
Active erosion from existing rain tank overflow pipe – runnels over 2′ deep had already formed in the fragile soil and moved a large amount of sediment down to the creek where it silted in natural pools.

Design Maps Gallery

Level 3 – Water Harvesting Earthworks Design & Implementation

7th Generation Design implemented the mainframe passive water harvesting earthworks specified in the Level 2 Whole Site Design in early February of 2021. The earthworks included…

  • ~ 950 linear feet of swale spread over four separate swale lines, with a combined bank full capacity of ~ 17,200 gallons.
  • A geologically-armored pick up drain that can be turned “on” with ~5 sandbags to direct run-off from the roadside drain (where it would normally run right by the property) into the swale system. This feature alone will put an additional 150,000 gallons of water per year into the soils at Fabled Oaks Farm – simultaneously alleviating storm flow surges and improving base flow in De Luz Creek.
  • Seven geologically-armored flow transitions – energy dissipation pools, armored sills, media lunas, splash basins and knitted rock mulch rundowns.
  • Two rolling dips where water is transitioned over existing driveway surfaces in a non-erosive fashion. Rolling dips enable overland water flow across a road surface while also maintaining 4-season drivability and a high speed of vehicle travel.
  • This system is estimated to infiltrate between 750,000 and 1.5 million gallons of precipitation that would have previously run straight off the property or passed by it on the road surface.

Watch a 12.5 minute walkthrough of the whole system at the end of Day 5.

Watch the daily video implementation journal video – detailing work completed on a day-by-day basis

See the passive water harvesting system in action during the first significant rain event.