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the Shaded urban lot
the Shaded urban lot
Last updated:
1127 N. Spaulding Ave, Chicago, IL, US
Climate zone:
Cool Temperate

Deborah Dale Tycho Huussen Wyatt Regan
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the Shaded urban lot

Project Type

Urban, Residential

Project Summary

Lawn replacement and garden enhancement for a typical two-family rental home in urban Chicago. The property features a neglected ornamental garden, and is very shaded. As a rental, little money available for major works.

Project Description

This two-family unit is being rented by a group of friends who all have interest in producing for themselves locally as much as possible, yet the site and situation provide many constraints.  Chiefly, the site is very shaded with little remedy available, and also the budget is limited and the rental status precludes a large number of long-term systems from being worth the expense without involving the landlord, who is initially supportive.

The site features a front and back yard, chainlink and wrought-iron fences surrounding, a rooftop of questionable stability, and semi-neglected ornamental plantings.  There is a raspberry patch, and strawberries as well, which yield little in their heavy shade.

The site has been seeded quite heavily and haphazardly with a large variety of mostly native species, with little care taken to ensure maximum germination.  It remains to be seen what will come up this spring, the hope being much design work will be done with clippers and excess plant material can be fed to chickens or mulched.

Chickens and bees are a priority, as is increasing available water catchment.  The roof, being the only full-sun available, is the next priority for veggies or starts.  The possibility of community-garden or CSA vegetables makes veg production a lower priority than for other sites.

The site includes a PDC graduate with several years of professional gardening experience, an artist with a season of prairie seed farm labor, a former construction worker with building experience, and three other people with less time and experience available but plenty of enthusiasm and support.  Primary emphasis is to leave a system that can be continued by future tenants with less time and expertise to devote, and to build an example of positive urban landscaping in a low-budget scenario.


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