Castaways Park


Newport Beach, California


City of Newport Beach




2004 APWA Award Winner

DVD’s landscape architects and park planners developed restoration plans for Castaways Park, located adjacent to the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve in the City of Newport Beach.

The 17-acre site is dedicated as a natural park to contain native, indigenous, and naturally occurring flora and fauna.  Recreational pursuits in the park include walking, hiking and nature observation.

In order to restore Castaways Park to a self-sustaining ecological site, the park was divided into eight areas of restoration.  Each area showcased different native plant specimens or special-use type plantings.  Areas I, II, IV, V, VI, & VII displayed plantings from various plant communities including:  Riparian (3.5 acres);   Coastal Bluff (4.5 acres); Coastal Sage (3.0 acres);  Canyon (1.2 acres), Grassland-Meadow (2.5 acres); and Wildflowers (1.0 acres).  Area III (1.5 acres), was planted with “low-fuel” type trees, shrub and ground cover.  The “low-fuel” type plants were selected from the City of Newport Beach Fire & Marine Department’s Fire Resistant Plant List and provided the framework to develop three separate “fuel modification planting zones” within Area III.  The fuel modification planting zones would provide nearby residents with greater fire protection.  Area VIII (300 square feet), provides a small space for a demonstration garden showcasing native and indigenous plants and appropriate educational signage.

In an effort to meet the desires of some community members for turf grass in lieu of the native plantings, the City of Newport Beach agreed to use a lawn substitute.  Approximately one acre of California Meadow Sedge was planted to meet the “grass-like” demands and to maintain the project’s “native” integrity.

Once restoration is complete, Castaways Park will be a self-sustaining ecological site where local fauna including insects, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians will be provided with natural habitat to ensure their survival.  In addition, the City of Newport Beach will have the unique opportunity to provide a hands-on experience with nature for citizens of every age.  As more and more natural habitats vanish in surrounding communities, it becomes increasingly important to preserve what we have for future generations.  At Castaways Park students and general public will experience nature first hand and better understand our responsibility to the environment in which we live.  Castaways Park remains a favorite destination for walkers, joggers and bicycle riders and continues to invite the members of the community to enjoy fantastic views, cool ocean breezes, beautiful sunsets and to experience what this coastal bluff might have been like a hundred years ago.