this summer

i've got plans.

i live here:

next to this:

okay...it doesnt quite look THAT bad...i'll take another pic...that's from the cook county assessor's website. even, my bldg on the right doesnt look like that any more (pre-shotty-rehab).

but the point is, the vacant lot next to me needs some special attention. its privately owned but not cared for, AT ALL. the 3rd floor residents of the 4 flat to the south of it throw full bags of trash off the back porch into it instead of walking down to the alley for the trash cans. the neighbors down the street bring their dog to crap in it and don't pick up the poop. kids in the summer set up a lemonade stand in front of it and leave all their trash afterward. last summer we even had some spontaneous 'parties' on the lot with a conglomeration of neighborhood hoopties at all hours of the morning. sigh.

so this summer, project #1 is to treat this as a design problem. i have to live next to this space. one question is, what can i do to make it more aesthetically pleasing...but also i'm thinking of doing some programming in the space. perhaps some impromptu art making with the kids in the neighborhood...it'll give my kids something to do too. of course its not "mine" to do anything with (actually 14" of it is mine...since my fence was mis-installed)...but the owners don't live nearby and never monitor it. i'm thinking guerilla style. saturday morning set up/tear down...flexible, retractable something or other to get some positive activity going here. hmmm. stay tuned.

project 2:

my sad sad state of a yard. the south side of the lot has an extra 10feet. with no bldg there is is over exposed by the sun and the grass just sizzles. so, i tore half of it out a couple weeks ago...

i'm going to plant it with native plants, some seating etc. along the long side area...in the back, a "tree house", raised vegetable beds and some kind of enclosure for the back carport which is totally exposed to the alley. also on the front parkway, i think i'll plant some sedges or something.

anyhoo for this weekend, step one:

3 cubic yards of mulch
, install "prairie smoke":

and some "mountain mint"
all of it will get phased in over the the course of the summer.
along the perimiter i'm putting some tall grasses called "little blue-stem":

my colleague Jaime Zaplotosch from openlands will be advising me, b/c i do NOT have a green thumb at all. keep your fingers crossed people!


Blogger Manspace said...

Go for it. There seems to be good structural bones around you and the space if it gets good sunlight could support a low maintenance plant like ivy. Your self help alternative approach is great. We lived and rehabed city places and sometimes U-R-response able seems the only way. Would the owner of the lot allow anything permanent or structural or garden beds? (Seatle has AM 880 KIXI streaming online).


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