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.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Zero Waste and Bluebirds

Happy First Day of Winter and the Winter Solstice!

Photo: Iowa DNR website
Today I bring you another video with a way to reduce your waste, by building bluebird houses with your wood scraps.  When I build a compost system, fence or raised beds I sometimes have scraps that need to be disposed of.  If they are large enough I like to use them to build birdhouses.

Bluebirds are one of our most loved and useful birds.  They bring a flash of color, and eat a large amount of grasshoppers, beetles and larvae.  Numbers have dwindled significantly due to competition for nesting cavities from the English House Sparrow.  By putting up birdhouses we can help them out and gain some insect eating friends.

Here's more information from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources - Eastern Bluebird


Here are the bluebird house plans I used as a base.

Here's a wren house plan if you have smaller pieces.  Wrens are another insect eating machine and do well in town.  Their pretty song is quite loud, so you may want to locate these birdhouses further from bedroom windows.

I won't update the blog over the holidays, so unless you are also following on Facebook, have

a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

More Gallery Updates

I've been furiously trying to keep up with several classes I am involved with from Design to Soil Health, as well as working on a project in Urbandale.  The design class has really intensified as far as course work. 

I do have several new blog topics started but don't feel like they have enough information to be "complete."  When ready we will add a couple more under-appreciated plants and techniques for getting more yield from traditionally styled landscapes.

For now I'll share a couple more updates to the Gallery page.

Compost Bins-

 This composting system was made to compliment a backyard garden in West Des Moines for a
family that wanted to reduce their environmental impact and provide a benefit to their garden.

Older Projects

 I built this natural stone retaining wall & tree rings South of Grand Avenue when I was fresh out of college working for Heard Gardens, Ltd. 

I built a lot of stone walls that summer for them, as well as other styles of retaining walls, flagstone and brick patios, tree plantings and perennial flower bed installations.

My crew even planted several trees at the Brenton Arboretum in Dallas Center and Meredith's green space at the West end of Grand & Locust Avenues in downtown Des Moines.

This retaining wall was a rebuild of an existing wall that was showing the effects of time.  We tore down the remaining stones, fixed the slumping hill behind, provided drainage to move water away from the back of the wall reducing the pressure on it, and rebuilt it using the existing stones.  This was my first freelance project and followed it up the next year by doing the upper retaining wall, including a short stairway in the middle.

Large amounts of water flowed down the hill behind this Urbandale home during heavy rains.  This runoff caused flooding in the basement and the homeowner needed a solution.  The dry streambed was suggested as the perfect mix of practicality and aesthetics. 

A channel was dug that moved the water to the side of her home where it continued harmlessly down the hill.  River rock was used to fill the channel, giving it a natural look and resistance to erosion.  Larger boulders and ornamental grasses provided visual interest.

I hope you've enjoyed these pictures of green grass and sunshine!  You can still enjoy the warm weekend, but don't hold it against me if I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas! 

It won't be long and the days will start to get longer again.  I can't wait! 

Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2015 International Year of the Soils

The 68th United Nations General Assembly has designated 2015 as the International Year of Soils.
The Food and Agriculture Organization has been nominated to implement the program.  Watch their promo video below.

Symphony of the Soil

The views expressed in Symphony of the Soil are not necessarily the views of Abundant Design, LLC. 
I hope you can find time to watch these videos, learn more about the soil that provides for us, and gain an appreciation for it in the year to come.
Thanks for checking in!