Our Mission:

Our Mission: To enable individuals and communities to take an active part in the cultivation of systems that provide the highest quality fruits, vegetables, herbs and other yields, in a way that benefits themselves, cares for the land and environment, and provides a surplus to use, share and reinvest into the system.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Everything You Need To Know About Robotic Auto Mowers | Abundant Design | Lawnmowers Direct

Love a manicured lawn but struggle to find the time to put in the maintenance? Robotic auto mowers could be for you! Read on to find out all about them.

Ever since seeing one at a permaculture homestead installation, I’ve been intrigued by automowers.  

There’s nothing better than a perfectly manicured lawn. But keeping your grass areas in ship-shape takes effort. If you’re strapped for time, the robotic auto mower could be your saving grace.

But what is an auto mower and how does it work? In this blog post, we’ve teamed up with Lawnmowers Direct to bring you everything you need to know. Read on to learn more!

What is a robotic mower?

Robotic mowers, often referred to as auto and robo mowers, are a small and compact lawn mower which can be left to mow your lawn, without requiring you to lift a finger.

These little mowers have been designed to patrol your lawn and keep it trimmed to the perfect length. Unlike traditional petrol mowers, this quiet and clean machine is powered by an environmentally friendly lithium ion battery, making it a great option if you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint.

How do robotic mowers work?

Since the first robo mower came to the market more than two decades ago, there’s been a lot of developments to ensure they meet users’ needs. Now, these autonomous machines are so intelligent that they can even return to their docking bay to recharge when the battery starts to get low.

These mowers are smart. All you need to do it the initial set up then they can be left to continually trim your grass to keep it at the optimal length. Using a simple mapping system, laser or radar sensors, auto mowers can stay within a set boundary by the operator to navigate their way around your lawn safely without ever going off path.

Who are robotic mowers designed for?

The capabilities of the robo mower are impressive, but they aren’t miracle workers either. Although they are constantly under development, with some robotic mowers able to cut grass for 24 hours on one charge, they are designed primarily for domestic use.  The acreage we designed used two to cover the mowing.

Whether the robotic mower is for you depends on a number of factors, with the main ones being how much time you have available to spend working in your garden and how much you dislike the chore of cutting your grass!

If you want to spend more time planting and deadheading and less time keeping your grass under control, then the robotic mower could be the solution for you!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Grow - your Career!

Abundant Design is looking for an experienced landscaper with big, green dreams. Are you an ethical, driven individual ready to strive for the next level and grow your career with Abundant Design?

Abundant Design LLC is a small, but growing, permaculture based landscaping business located in central Iowa.  At Abundant Design, we help people build resiliency through edible landscapes and gardens, establish wildlife habitat and conservation practices.  We help provide experiences with nature and enjoyment of Creation in customers' backyards, properties and communities. 


Similar work as the job I posted earlier this year but with the ability to lead and supervise work done to expectations. Primarily working hands on with me this Fall as we finish out the scheduled work, then lead a crew(s) next year to transform designs into reality. 

Lots of digging and planting of native and edible plants, shrubs and trees; moving compost, rock and mulch; some hardscape installation and builds. 

Tasks may include, but not limited to - shoveling rock, moving boulders, trenching by hand or with a machine, operating a laser level for grading, light grading with mini-skidsteer, hauling material, plantings ranging in size from large balled and burlapped (B&B) trees to delicate transplants.
  • Must be physically able to work hard outside in various conditions
  • Must be able to communicate clearly and follow instructions
  • Must be respectful of customers and their property 
  • Must be able to get to and from job sites around the metro 
  • Knowledge of/experience in permaculture, gardening, horticulture, biology/ecology, and local ecosystems 
  • Experience operating tools, power tools and small machinery safely and efficiently
  • Interest in permaculture, conservation, regenerative agriculture and sustainability 
Pay commensurate with experience. 
Email your Resume/CV/Work Experience and references, if interested.


I look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Rain Gardens in Action p2

Finally we are getting some drought relief this week!

Back in May I shared one of the rain gardens we started last year and finished early this spring.  So early in fact that snow fell on our newly installed plants!

Read more here-

With customer photos, here are those new rain gardens and the decorative hillside drainage in action!

I really like how the overflow looks during & right after major rain events.  Once the basins above are full, these emergency overflows go into action. (during top 10% of historic rainfalls)  

These overflows go into a final pool where a drain ties it into the rest of the backyard drainage to move excess water to the front of the home where it drains harmlessly across the yard.

Now that the drainage and water issues are taken care of, we are working on some future plans to make the yard maintenance easier and really tie the space together.

Watch for those photos!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Rain Garden in Action

This rain garden was finished a couple weeks ago in Des Moines.
Rain garden ready for runoff

Within a few days we had a good heavy rain and the customer sent me these photo updates.  At 5am the customer was watching water go over the emergency spillway.  This happens when it's rains more than it would 90 percent of the time.  The spillways are installed to maintain the integrity of the construction and designed to prevent point erosion.

Here is the garden at 9am holding a good amount of storm water from rushing into the nearby lake where it would increase the storm surge, along with erosion/sediment and other potential pollutants.
9am  quite a bit of water

By Noon some water had infiltrated but still a lot in there.  Plants are selected for their ability to thrive in both wet and dry conditions.
Noon   water line is dropping

The mulch is still wet at 4pm.  There are probably a few puddles underneath as well.
4pm    only a few puddles and wet mulch

By the next morning the water had infiltrated into the soil and ground water. Now it can slowly make its way to Easter Lake through the water table.
Following morning

This site had passed the infiltration test but still had a fair amount of clay in the soil, so I was happy to see it work right out of the gate.

The Easter Lake Watershed Project even shared the great pictures and this story on Facebook
"10 days ago this rain garden was installed within the Easter Lake Watershed. The 160 SF rain garden temporarily ponds stormwater runoff from a 1405 SF rooftop area. By capturing and helping the water naturally soak into the ground, we reduce runoff and drainage issues in the yard and help to improve water quality downstream in Easter Lake! Our estimates show that this garden can help reduce about 27,000 gallons of stormwater runoff each year! We can’t wait to see this pollinator friendly garden grow!"
If you would like more information about rain gardens and other Stormwater Best Management Practices visit RainCampaign.org or contact us today for a consultation.


Joe finishing up the mulch


Friday, June 19, 2020

#RainCampaign is LIVE

Earlier this year a new collaborative initiative was formed across the Des Moines metro area with the goal of "Enabling People to Protect Water"

"The rain campaign is a localized effort across the Des Moines Metro to enable you to be a part of the solution towards better managing stormwater runoff to improve local water quality through the utilization of municipal cost-share programs." https://raincampaign.org

This rain garden on the home page looks familiar! 
It's one we installed in the Easter Lake Watershed.

Many cities are offering incentives for stormwater best management practices.  You can learn much more at RainCampaign.org or on their Facebook page.

The City of Johnston shared this video where one of our first rain gardens 
shows up in the background fairly often.

Local Channel 5 also highlights the #RainCampaign in Polk County in their video

I encourage you to check it out, and see how you can take steps to ensure clean water for Iowa!

Jeff explains the design & function of this rain garden near Easter Lake last year
to the Polk County Soil & Water Conservation District's intern during a site visit.

This home has a smaller rain garden up front as well as this one in the backyard.