An environmentally conscious house flourishes just off of Apache Boulevard in Tempe.
Julie Dreyer bought the house on East Hall Street in January 2006. Dreyer had taken courses in permaculture; the designing of human systems based on natural ecosystems, and decided to have her house follow those principles.
Irrigation was set up in the backyard, with areas of high ground for walkways and lower areas for planting. A wide array of vegetation was chosen to harbor diversity.
A system for catching rainwater was set-up in the front of the house.
“The last few rains have completely filled the barrels; about 50 gallons. We try to save it for summer, since there is so little then,” said Ingrid Lincoln, a resident at E. Hall.
The house is in the center of Tempe, but lacked the typical city atmosphere.
“It’s almost like I don’t live in a city. I feel like, ?okay, I am going to go into town. Wait, we are already in town!'” Lincoln said.
The property has undergone cosmetic changes. Originally, Bermuda grass infested the property. Roundup was used to kill the grass, and mustard seed was planted to absorb leftover toxins in the soil. Since then, no chemicals have been used on the garden.
While still pursuing music therapy, Lincoln educated herself about permaculture, horticulture, landscaping and desert design.
Lincoln, an ASU graduate with a degree in music therapy, has lived in the house for a year and a half.
Prior to moving into the house on E. Hall, Lincoln knew little about permaculture, but now has a hands-on opportunity to learn and tends to the garden everyday.
“Right now, we’re basically putting our spring crops into the ground; spinach, tomatoes, beets, several kinds of quinoa and onions,” said Lincoln.
Among the irrigation and vegetation, in the backyard there is also a chicken coop.
“They are laying eggs now,” said Lincoln. “Once they start going, they lay once a day, five or six times a week.”
The chickens are fed traditional feed supplemented with kitchen scraps and weeds from around the yard.
“We always try to give them more greens than laird,” said Lincoln.
There is also a cat on the property, which added another element of biodiversity.
“(The cat) came with the house. Her name is Moushka,” said Lincoln.
Dreyer has had no shortage of people, like Lincoln, who were willing to continue the permaculture lifestyle.
“I am actually amazed about the amount of people who want to do this thing,” said Dreyer. “I think it is a very unique thing, hopefully the start of something that will become more popular.