Eagle Rock Elementary School

Eagle Rock Elementary School

Eagle Rock Elementary’s new living schoolyard helps cool and clean the air, absorbs and cleans stormwater runoff, provides wildlife habitat, and sequesters carbon while supporting student health and wellbeing. The design replaced 21,000 square feet of asphalt with native learning gardens, rows of shade trees and a park-like lawn to capture and clean urban runoff, and a variety of nature play opportunities. Formerly a large expanse of asphalt, the schoolyard was broken up to create smaller, shadier play spaces with native trees and plants, boulders, logs and stumps, and mulch areas.

The improvements were funded by a California State Water Board Proposition 84 Stormwater grant, and managed by the Los Angeles Beautification Team for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Studio-MLA worked closely with the school community and Occidental College kinesiology researcher Dr. Marcella Raney, who studied student behavior and physical activity levels before and after the schoolyard.

Dr. Raney found student’s physical activity levels increased on the new green spaces compared to a control school. On the new green spaces the most popular activities were tag/chasing, gymnastics (handstands and cartwheels), climbing, jumping, and making up games. After the improvements, physical and verbal conflicts decreased by half, and there was a significant increase in students spending time in small groups rather than alone.


Los Angeles Unified School District


4 acres


Los Angeles, California



Project team

  • Los Angeles Unified School District Owner
  • Los Angeles Beautification Team Client/Project Manager
  • Studio-MLA Landscape Architect
  • City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation Watershed Protection Division Civil Engineer


  • 2019 US Department of Education, Green Ribbon School Award