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Designing A Sustainable Backyard Garden Suburban

1727 words - 7 pages

Backyard gardens, as important elements of suburban environments could have a significantly sustainable potential. This concept has already been written about in academic literature, but mainly directed at the design of community gardens (Guitart, Pickering, and Bryne, 2012), rather than one in a backyard. While my design is directed at suburban backyards, the intention is for it to merely be a template for each separate site. The provision of a garden area, albeit a shrinking one, gives us the opportunity to implement a thoughtful design to make this a productive and sustainable place. According to Thiele (2013), sustainability demands the “satisfying current needs without sacrificing ...view middle of the document...

A sustainable design approach requires a complete evaluation of the environmental impact of every action and decision (Lamba, and Chapman, 2010). In order to do this, it is clear that there must be an understanding of the pressure on the environment that arise from the consumption of water, energy, materials and food in our backyards. This also involves researching how to use more effective products and materials without increasing consumption that would only make it a weak sustainability. Living sustainability requires more than using environmentally friendly resources, but understanding how they are used and how their uses operate with other uses. The Australian Department of Environmental Sustainable Consumption Initiative policies of sustainable consumption have been described as, ‘doing more with less’. This links to the concepts of sustainability and being responsible consumers and citizens as Thiele (2013) mentions is so important.

The first step to designing the sustainable backyard garden is analysing the site and the collection of base data in order to adapt the design to the site. Here I want to focus on the relationship of the garden to surrounding buildings such as a shed or the house and the social activities that occur within the space. Understanding this, the design plans to integrate the garden with the house, the veggie patch and the washing line, and will be more able to moderate the use of resources and energy input therefore saving energy and being more cost efficient. Other variables are also necessary in the collection of base data such as soil type, levels and slopes, drainage lines, water and electricity services and appropriate areas to collect roof run off (Cross and Spencer, 2009) and these factors will be applied to each different site and added with the template of this design.

This design serves a sustainable goal mainly due to the self-reliance provided by a veggie patch, variation from the template in order to adapt to each particular site, the reduction of water use and the use of indigenous biodiversity. In recent decades there have been growing concerns regarding food security leading many to take participate in local community gardens that provide food and a social environment (Guitart, Pickering, and Bryne, 2012). This backyard design implements these two successes from that area in a much smaller scale by the creation of a veggie patch and the focus on a family centred environment. While the sustainability of veggie patch’s has been questioned due to the lack of accountability for the consumption of energy to purchase and transport materials, it does generate an alternative and environmentally friendly food resource if it is located correctly. It is also capable of reducing reliance on non-local foods.

Sustainable design is about a selection and combination of materials and resources that have a low or no environmental cost throughout their life cycle as demonstrated by the discussion above on...

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