North Tahoe Demonstration Garden


     Donated by Sierra Nevada College (SNC), the North Lake Tahoe Demonstration Garden opened in May 1994 in Incline Village, Nevada. It featured a solar powered drip irrigation system and pathways that loop around indigenous, drought-resistant plants and trees. The garden was originally built as a “hands-on” learning tool for the public, ultimately teaching ways to practice conservation in their personal garden to the benefit of the entire Lake Tahoe ecosystem.

     In June 2019, the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) teamed up with Sierra Nevada College (SNC) and Incline Village General Improvement District (IVGID) to manage the garden—now known as the North Tahoe Education Garden—in a collaborative effort to sustain this garden and incorporate more education programs.


Best Management Practices

Best Management Practices are ways for property owners to protect Lake Tahoe’s health and clarity. BMPs include installing trenches to capture runoff, storing runoff to allow it to soak back into the soil, or installing terraces and vegetation to prevent eroded soil from flowing downhill. They add practical details that protect the lake while increasing property value. As you walk around the garden, look for the BMP examples that would work best in your garden.

Native Plants

Gardening can be a challenge in Tahoe; however, choosing native plants increases a greater chance for success. Native plants are well-adapted to the climate and soil conditions in their specific region. They also efficiently cycle nutrients, minimize and prevent erosion, and conserve important resources. Check out the examples of native plants available in the garden: These only display a small number of plants from the vast selection that would fit the unique Tahoe climate.

The objectives of the North Tahoe demonstration garden are to:

  • Provide a lush green space for visitors, students, and faculty to relax in
  • Factors of a healthy forest/forest ecology and how forests impact the lake
  • Forest health and forest management as it relates to wildfire
  • The impacts of wildfire and how to utilize defensible space practices
  • The importance of gardens and gardening
  • Showcase native plant species to the basin and explain why to choose native plants
  • Appreciation for Indigenous land, uses of native species, and acknowledgement of their culture 
  • Provide resources for pollinators throughout the growing season 
  • Display different types of BMPs and explain their important