Ecological landscaping. Sustainability. Remember I was talking on and on about those things? I had my first meeting with ThriveLot, and it didn't go as planned. I don't doubt that they are a good company, and their intentions and mission are absolutely what this planet needs. But they are still too new in my area, and I decided I didn't want to be the test project. I would have had to invest about $2k into the planning process before I could even get an idea of the estimated cost of the project. So - I looked around and sure enough, there are several landscaping companies right in my area who have these same principles of sustainability in mind.
I gave Ecoscapes a call and had a really productive first meeting with the owner, Stephen Shoup (he and his wife JUST had a baby - congratulations to them both!). Their company's passion is to help you grow your own food in their custom built planters and to replace sod lawns with water conserving, native, edible and regenerative xeriscapes. Their proposal and my budget met up nicely, and we agreed to move forward!
Today was Project Kickoff! Here's a few photos of them hard at work installing the planters. We determined the soil was clay dense, with poor drainage and low nutrient content. So, instead of trying to amend the soil in the entire front yard, we will fill the planters with high-tilth, nutrient-dense organic soil/compost. This way, next year's planting will be setup for a quick success. The already existing raised garden has been covered in landscape fabric for an untold number of years... the soil underneath resembles a lunar landscape. We will add soil/compost to that as well, but allow it a year or two to find its way back to health. An already existing irrigation system is being upgraded to provide the right moisture levels for the garden beds so that ultimately, they should use the same amount, if not a lesser amount, of water that was used to maintain the lawn, but produce enough food for both my family and a nearby food pantry to benefit. Pollinator plants will benefit the local insects. It will be tough waiting out the winter to get to see things grow, but I'll be starting seeds as soon as the time is right...
|The beginnings of the drip system and the planter boxes|
|It's a multi-phase project. The planters will be installed and take the place of much of the lawn. The rest of the lawn will turn into meandering paths and additional in-ground wildlife and pollinator friendly plantings next year, including fruit trees and berry bushes as well as native wildflowers.|
|They'll dig the post holes to lower the planters into the ground tomorrow.|
|This is what the soil in the already existing raised bed looks like, after years under the landscape fabric.|
|The planters are built!|