Twelve years ago this month, I became a homeowner.
Shortly after I bought my place, a mentor took one look at the barren yard and said, “That’s your palette!”
To say the least, I was inspired.
I started the landscaping makeover by digging holes for plants that had been donated by friends. Didn’t take me long to realize that this makeover would be a major project.
So, I started hiring helpers.
Some, like the disabled veteran who removed the back yard Bermuda grass infestation by digging it out by the roots, were great workers. Others, well, the less said, the better.
I also realized that I knew much less about landscaping than I thought.
Case in point: The stormwater that flooded my front and back yards. This problem had me stumped.
The solution appeared in the form of a local organization called the Watershed Management Group (WMG). In July 2007, I began volunteering for the WMG-led makeover of Tucson’s Ward 3 City Council Office.
It took four months, but we transformed the Ward 3 office into a water harvesting showcase. Nine years later, the landscaping lives on rainwater – and some of it towers over the building.
In 2008, WMG started the Green Living Co-op, and I’m proud to call myself a founding member.
The WMG co-op works on the barn-raising model. You go to other people’s houses, help with their water harvesting projects, and all the while, you’re earning volunteer hours. When you have enough hours, the co-opers come to your place.
I’ve hosted three WMG co-op workshops, and I’m pleased to report that my yard flooding problem is history. Thanks to water harvesting, I now live in an urban oasis, and that’s the focus of my latest personal project.
It’s a coffee table book called Urban Oasis, and you can get a mobile-friendly preview here.
Although Urban Oasis wasn’t a copywriting client project, it has led to a “Water Harvesting on the Cheap” article for Edible Baja Arizona. I’m also pursuing other opportunities, including a National Public Radio interview.