Palisades Lutheran Church Shows Faith in Conservation

By Sue Pascoe

The Palisades Lutheran Church is not only in the business of saving souls, it’s also intent on saving energy and water.

Vance Meyer, a member of the church’s facilities committee the past three years, was put in charge of a landscape project to conserve water in January, and the work was completed in about a month.

“We wanted to have the project installed and the plants growing before Easter Sunday,” Meyer said. “I felt that planning was the most engaging and most challenging aspect.”

The grass by the Lutheran Church on Sunset was replaced by dought-tolerant landscaping. Photo: Patricia Meyer
The grass by the Lutheran Church on Sunset was replaced by dought-tolerant landscaping.
Photo: Patricia Meyer

The plan was designed by Arredondos Landscaping in collaboration with Lutheran members Kingsley Fife, Rich Wilken, George Wilken and Dave Cardone.

The first step was to kill all the grass out in front of the church along Sunset and in the courtyard, which they did by turning off the water and using a weed killer. They were aided by Mother Nature, who despite predictions of an El Nino, managed to keep the rain in abeyance.

Once the grass was dead and removed, the ground was prepped for a drip-irriga- tion system and drought-tolerant plants, artificial turf, decomposed granite and river pebbles, in a decorative design.

The project, which followed guidelines provided by the Los Angeles DWP, cost $30,000.

“Once we settled in on our plan and proceeded with the work, the project became quite exciting,” said Meyer, a 46-year resident. “We met our schedule for completion, but I never felt it was difficult.”

Fife said that although it is too early to have an accurate reading on savings, “We are anticipating a 17- to 20-percent improvement in water usage year to year.”

Some of the plants selected included Oriental fountain grass, Korean feather reed grass, pink muhly, blue oat grass, red and bronze flax, Mexican sage and Santa Barbara daisy.

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Lantana with a variety of colors was used for ground cover and several Palo Verde trees were planted. Low-voltage garden lighting was installed to save energy and provide decorative accents.

The Lutheran Church began its program to become environmentally friendly in July 2013 when solar panels were installed to save on energy usage and reduce energy costs.

“The members decided to make every effort to initiate a green program that better suits the environmental concerns of the members and the community,” Fife said. “The church has been at this location since 1959 and feels that environmental preservation is the responsibility of everyone.”

The church is home to a preschool for children ages two to five, with an after-school program for kids with working parents. The location is also used for Boy Scout meetings, community concerts and other programs not affiliated with the church.

“We feel it is important to have the church play a significant role in the community,” Fife said.

Meyer, who was the chief operating officer of Pardee Construction until his retirement, was also inspired by the new landscaping. “After I finished at the church, I went home and redid the plants in my yard.”

He and his wife, Patricia, have three grown daughters: Stacy, Wendy and Katie.

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