Starting in My Own Backyard

In the spirit and practice of breaking things down into manageable next steps, I thought I would focus very locally for my initial biophilic design research.  Throughout the years I’ve collected books, magazines, URL’s on environmental/sustainable topics that interest me that I would read later – when I had more time.  Well, based on what I learned writing my Time, Brain Damage and Choices post, I can’t really expect to have more time in the future than I have right now.

I have a fairly large space in my backyard, so why not use it to run some experiments?  I can use these little mini-projects to focus my research and put what I learn into practice.

  • Solar Electricity – I have a south-facing roof on my garage that I think would be perfect for a few solar panels.  This is a timely project since there is currently a “solarize” initiative in my neighborhood!
  • Eco-Roofing – I’m planning to modify my existing deck and add shelter, why not eco-roofing?  I’m passionate about this subject and would love to get my hands dirty on a project.
  • Rainwater Collection – I already have 3 large rain barrels, but I have new area in back of my new garage where I could build an elevated system and use drip irrigation into my new garden.
  • Food Production– I’m planning to devote most of the backyard to raised beds for growing food most of the year.  This is already a very engaging project!  Some of the mini-projects will include:
    • Irrigation Planning & Building
    • Raised Bed Design & Building
    • Plant Selection & Companion Planting
    • Starting Seeds (Inside & Outside)
    • Seed Saving & Sharing
    • Hoop Housing
    • Cold Boxes
    • Canning & Preserving (assuming anything grows)
  • Composting –  I’m lucky enough to live in a city that has weekly curbside composting, but given my big plans for the food production part of my yard, I will need to spend more time composting.
  • Bird, Bee & Butterfly Habitat – This has been a long-time interest of mine, I want all non-veggie plant selections to encourage local habitat.

Overall, I want to include principles like running water, re-use, and recycling throughout all the projects.  I want to try to keep my new materials purchase down, take advantage of sources like the Rebuilding Center, Scrap, and, my own backyard.  I have a deck I’m going to deconstruct, about a million red bricks (not kidding) from some old paths, and thousands upon thousands of good size rocks.

OK – I have my rough plan – now it’s time to get to work!

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