Farm & Homestead
Every landscape has a carrying capacity. Extracting resources beyond that carrying capacity will cause an ecological collapse. Soil will become infertile and erode. Organic matter will diminish along with nutrients. Water runs off the land rather than infiltrate for soil irrigation of plants. The goal of a United Designers homestead and farm design is to raise the carrying capacity by increasing the natural capital. The natural capital of the property is the richness and depth of the soil, the diversity of plant life, habitat for beneficial insects, and the ability to continually regenerate and expanded harvests. A well-managed farm system delivers multiple harvests in multiple seasons in an ever-increasing abundance. Designing smart for working smart reduces the labor and makes each phase of implementation an increase of resources built over time.
Priorities must be decided based on the needs on the land to support the lifestyle of the stewards and owners.
When it comes to benefiting from nature’s natural systems and the resilience of using available ecological resources, agroforestry is the solution that combines the ecological services that nature has to provide with the best practices of sustainable agriculture. In combination, harvest is expanded from the soil surface to the tree crops above and fruiting shrubs alongside annual crops. The rich habitat supplies pest control, soil water, organic matter, intermittent grazing for livestock, pollination, and multi-seasonal harvests.
Watershed and Hydrological Restoration
Watershed restoration is a vital cure for many ailments in the landscape. United Designers uses the energy and features existing on the landscape to slow, hold, capture, spread, and infiltrate water into the landscape. We strive to keep the soil on the slopes and allow only clean excess water to move past. Building new strategies and cultural practices to benefit the stakeholders and stewards ensures the protection of the watershed and its enduring benefits. Watersheds can no longer be ignored or left to go "natural". It is important to be proactive in managing and repairing the damage done over generations to secure the vital water resource for future generations.
& Nature Based Solutions
The mechanisms that create and support an ecosystem are interconnected and inter-dependent. Disturbances in the ecology can break these connections causing the ecosystem to collapse. Restoring the ecosystem requires repair of all these interconnected ecology's. United Designers uses the existing ecology or nearby reference ecology to repair and restore ecosystem services. We can stop the effects of drought. We can green a parched land. We can rebuild the resources for villages and restore independence.
United Designers also works with the engineering and grading plans, infrastructure, ecological concerns, and utilities. Each new lot and home is a proof of concept for new strategies and improved ways of managing air, water and energy. Choosing the right community of plants can provide important ecological functions to the property. The relative placement and aspect of buildings, roads, and structures are long term decisions needing deep consideration with benefits in the decades to come. In large and small developments, property lines are devised by the landscape, roads integrated into the slopes and contours, ridges and ravines guide shelters and protection from extreme weather. A new residence can be a benefit to the ecology and house the stewards of the land. People are the solution. Good design is the guide to a prolific lifestyle.
Many acres of productive land is held by institutions like schools, colleges, churches, and municipalities. Many of these organizations have decided to model the best use of the land by redesigning and improving the land with a focus on resource management, farming, forests, and gardens.
Well-designed garden spaces not only educate but also represent the values of the organization. Taking the manicured turf and replacing it with flowering fruits and vegetables creates a value statement, helping build a new paradigm for the best use of open spaces that are otherwise high maintenance, with no physical human benefit. This breaks the long-term landscape assumption that a lawn is the best use of space within a campus or building perimeter. The gardens are inclusive, proactive, cooling and warming to buildings, attracting and involving participants that share the fruits, and the knowledge.