Some of you may know that Josh and I have been involved in an organization called Depave for the last three years. We like to take a few summer weekends and give back to our community that has been so welcoming. We volunteer to help rip up asphalt and concrete at schools, churches and small businesses to allow for green space, water infiltration, and general place making. After doing this for over 10 locations we have really seen the benefits. The transformation of black top to gardens, playgrounds, and bio swales have been truly inspiring. One of the things Depave wanted to try was to have a workshop to show how homeowners can depave their own properties. In Portland, many of our small yards are filled with driveways and parking areas that we don't use. These spaces could be growing plants, absorbing water and providing habitats for animals and birds.
All in all, it was about 1,500 square feet to remove. We designed a landscape plan, ordered tons of gravel, rented a concrete saw and bought plants in preparation for 30 workshoppers, 10 depavers, and one videographer to document our progress. This was a big project, which in many ways will not improve the value of our home, or even make a huge difference in curb appeal. However, we felt it was the right thing to do for our planet and for the organization.