June 10th, 2011


This time last year, there were portions of our yard that were either completely barren or choked with weeds, and as we get everything into shape we are developing strategies for keeping everything from getting out of control.


We ┬áhave a handful of persistent and pretty common weeds: English Ivy, Dandelions, Hawkweed… Our efforts last year to get the ivy in check worked out pretty well, this summer its the dandelions that we are after in earnest. The goal here isn’t necessary to eradicate them from the yard, but to take them out before they go to seed. So the process has been to make rounds and pull a bucket full of plants and hopefully this will allow room for things we want to grow next spring.


Our eventual goal is to fill our yard with plants. Really, if you can support a dandelion then there is unused resource in your yard. Not that we won’t get weeds encroaching in our yard, but if we can get a critical density of natives and food we hope to be able to out compete them. Case in point – the above photo: it is our polyculture garden out back which is totally packed with lettuce, cabbage and radishes. It will evolve over the summer, but the density has made it relatively trouble free and has been producing crazy amounts of food for just twenty square feet.


Part of the key to making all this work is that we need lots of plants. This last winter, we started several lupine from seed (top picture) that are now doing quite well in the yard with the hope that they will be large by next year. So this year we have invested in a large amount of seed that we plan on sowing this fall as well as starting a few plug trays indoors to try to get as much established as we can. Hopefully this will also allow us to get a very diverse set of natives (if anyone knows of a good source of seed for native alliums or paintbrush, let me know) established in our meadow out front.


  1. Hey, I live a few blocks away from your awesome house. How did you find the lot that you house is sitting on. im having the hardest time finding a small inner se lot for sale. even tho i see hundreds of unused lots all over SE. thank you P.S. the garden is looking really good.

    Comment by James Seymour — June 14, 2011 @ 11:15
  2. Hi, we found the lot by browsing listings… We just sort of lucked out on timing and were able to grab it. When we first started looking for a lot we were preparing to start contacting land owners and seeing if anyone was willing to sell, and then this came up and we had to jump on it.

    If you have any more questions, or want to chat about the process feel free to drop me an email (matt@designforoccupancy.net).

    And P.S. Thanks, we still have a few seasons of yard work before its really where we want it, but we’re pretty happy with the way it has been shaping up.

    Comment by Matt — June 15, 2011 @ 11:08

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