HOA-Compliant Residence “Suburban Unrest”, Boulder, Colorado

  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA.
  • Site: Typical suburban lot.
  • Status: Initiated Winter 2011, completed Summer 2011.
  • Scope: Full property design and installation of water harvesting, edible landscape.
  • Accolades: Star Yard of Year Award, 2012.

Suburban Unrest is an award-winning “postage stamp” homestead that exemplifies ecological design within the confines of a strict homeowners association and typical hastily planned suburban development. Sense of place around water scarcity was a primary motivating factor to demonstrate home scale food and medicine gardening from existing rainfall in a dryland climate via innovative rainwater harvesting techniques. The house, human habits, and landscape are woven together to conserve energy, increase comfort, enhance aesthetics, and produce food. Permaculture principles act as a guiding light throughout.

Real Earth Design completed the design for this property and managed the build out entirely. We took the landscape completely off municipal irrigation and  installed water harvesting basins and swales directing roof runoff throughout the site. Planted with dozens of species of pollinator attracting plants, fruit trees and shrubs, and culinary herbs, this site has served as a template for the design of passive rainwater irrigated landscapes in the Front Range of Colorado since 2011. It won the Star Yard of the Year Award in 2012, and continues to shift perspectives of what a non-irrigated landscape can be in a high desert climate, going so far as influencing state legislation around using rooftop runoff in the landscape.