A Must-See Home Transformation

A Must-See Home Transformation

It’s time to transform your home, but how do you do it?

How do you take a home that is a static “knicknack” and turn it into a dynamic asset — a resilient home that builds your health, wealth, and security?

The first step in most home transformations is to install a garden.

This becomes a problem if you live in a built up area and the only place large and sunny enough to put a garden is in your front yard.


There are still lots of people, many of whom are likely your neighbors, living in the past.  They still cling to the bankrupt idea that a home’s landscape needs to be as barren as a golf course to add value to a home.

In time, this opposition will fade.  In the meantime, one way around that opposition is to turn your front yard from a landscape and into a beautiful foodscape.  Here’s a great example: The Landry family used raised garden beds (other options include:  permaculture, fruit trees, etc.) to foodscape their yard in a dramatic way.

1) here’s the home when they started.  As you can see, it has a standard ornamental landscape.

2) the plot design (they used a simple computer program to do it) is turned into reality in the fall.

3) the finished garden is put into use during the spring.

4) the finished garden in use.

Here’s a video that provides a fast time series of the transformation:

It should be pretty clear that the effort dramatically increased the value of their home.  An increase in value that will continue to grow as the shift to the resilient economy continues.

So, while this specific solution may not be a solution for you (resilience comes in many forms), it is a great demonstration of what’s possible in a limited amount of front yard space.

What should he be building next?

On suggestion:  A Rainwater Irrigation System (I have a soup to nuts example of how to build one in our first report!).

Building Gardens for People In Apartments?

If you live in an apartment, is it possible to add food security?  Yes.

One of the ways to do this is to install an aquaponics — a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics — system.  Aquaponics systems allow you to grow food in a confined space and can be as small as a bookcase.

Unfortunately, these smaller installations don’t produce enough food to feed yourself (lots of micro-greens and an occasional fish).  To do more than that, you will need to micro-farm an allotment.  I’ll feature a great example of how great allotments can be in the near future.

The big benefit of a system like this?  It introduces both you and your kids (if you have any) to the process of growing food for yourself.  Not only is it a skill that will prove increasingly useful in the future, it’s a great introduction to how good fresh, wholesome food can be (on many levels).

The big problem with aquaponics is that it is relatively expensive, and difficult to do right.  Not only does it require a lot of gear and knowledge, it requires constant attention to ensure that it works correctly.

NOTE:  I’m currently working on a report that will dive into the HUGE opportunity space for resilient businesses.

One of the people working on a solution to this problem is Eric Maunudu of Oakland California.  Eric is a maker/micro farmer/entrepreneur that I’ve profiled before.  Here’s Eric in an excellent new video by the intrepid resilient reporter Kirsten Dirksen.

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  • Stealth Spaniel

    Good golly-what an example of resilience! So, Socialist France actually encourages their citizens on food growing, but here we have the PC lawn enforcers to worry about. A sad tale of urban-correctness fools. Well, I haven’t ticked the neighbors off recently, so I think that I will rip out my green weeds and plant some actual edibles in the front. I feel inspired already!

  • http://pennypincherpersonalfinance.blogspot.com Penny Pincher

    @Nick, just garden anyway, they may choose a “test case” for this BS, but the backlash will be pretty hot because now everyone’s watching. If they manage to pass some law against gardening, defy it and get a whole posse of people to defy it at the same time. Organized activism can defeat the likes of Monsanto et al.

  • Adam

    Looks like the garden is actually in Quebec, not France.

    • John Robb


  • Sandra

    What is A Rainwater Irrigation System? Where do I find out more about it? Thanks.

    • John Robb

      It’s a system that captures and delivers rainwater to your garden. Complete detail available in my soon to be released report on water abundance.

  • Michele

    Beautiful !!

  • John Ireland

    Great to see people using what they have. Another great recycling project is the Walmart recycled in a library. http://www.psfk.com/2012/06/abandoned-wal-mart-transformend-into-a-beautifully-designed-library.html

  • BW

    All the work of building compost, planting gardens, outfitting your house for self-sufficiency, whew!

    Here are some apartment dwellers in NYC who have none of those things, and have instead reduced their possessions to the absolute minimum. I wonder what they will do in a disastrous situation when they don’t have their at-least-3-day supply of goods:


  • Bailey

    I think alot of the resistance towards front yard gardens is actually the people doing them dont do a good job of it and are probably being disruptive to the existing community in other ways. Ease into your FYG by doing table raised beds close to the house, mix edible flower w herbs and small veggies. take out the darn boxwoods and plant blueberry or blackberry bushes. Keep a few traditional plants( you’ll need Holly for winter solstice right). Keep an area for grass too, youre kids need a clean grassy area to play. Your back yard will have poop all over from the free range chickens soon. Half the front and a entire side yard will do fine. Easing into it gives the older residents time to warm to the look and keeps you from wasting valuable time fighting against new regulations. If you do it right chances are there wont be any hassles.

    • John Robb


      There’s a lot of truth in that. Working with your neighbors does make it easier. Some of them may even want to join you.


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