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What happened if your permaculture backyard was actually your courtyard and your house part of it?

 
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I've been wondering for a while about where to get more information about compostable houses. I am sure thats not really a term because my search efforts have come up with precious little. I've searched regenerative houses and architecture with the most hits on modern commercial building info.

Not going to lie - I thought this was a question for the "Building" section of Permies, but when I saw there was a chance to get the book BaBWiYB, I thought I'd address that question here with a twist.


What happened if you build your house surrounding your permaculture backyard? Could it be done? How big would it have to be to encompass the yard? Cost and labour effective?


How would one incorporate permaculture inside the confines of your house and possibly within the actual materials of the building?


I am not talking earth ships, but something beyond - something that incorporates biophilia and biomimicry.


Goals would be simple: at least 95% of the house could be returned to the earth naturally without human intervention after maintenance ceases (eg: the person dies/moves)


A simple benefit would be the protection of your produce from many if not all four limbed creatures looking to eat your produce as the area would be protected by the (compostable) walls of your house.


Hows that for building a better world in your backyard?


Equally honestly, I am deadly serious about this and am wondering how to go about this outside of building a simple logcabin/ strawbale/ sandbag house. The only plastic I see as being necessary(?) would be electrical cord insulation/ light fittings/ receptacle fittings/ some plumbing? (although second hand heavy iron could substitute as it once did). I am wondering if hessian/ coffee sandbags could replace the usual plastic ones.


Anyway, its a goal of mine and book or book I intend on building a better permaculture home that can house myself and my children until they fly the coop. And then return to the earth without anyone having to lift a finger once I flee this mortal coil.

 
pollinator
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I love this idea for more densely settled areas. Also very appealing in harsh, windy climates. Plenty of examples in europe/middle east. Very well suited to environments where thermal mass is effective and insulation not needed. In climates that need insulation, natural insulation options are quite practical for walls, but foundations and to a somewhat lesser degree roofs really benefit from nasty artificial insulation options..

I am a big fan of keeping infrastructure accessible in buildings where possible, despite some costs in terms of design constraints. If your pipes and wires are super easy to access, having to remove them to decommission a house is no big deal. They might even still be of value to someone.

Options for this include exposed conduit/pipe runs in basements and attics, with good access maintained. Wainscotting can hide stuff, and can be easily removed if correctly installed. Ditto dropped ceilings.

It seems to me, that a dwelling in most inhabited areas, is more likely to be occupied by a later inhabitant, than abandoned. Especially, if it is efficient, robust, and perhaps most important, adaptable.
 
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You should check out tolous:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fujian_tulou

They are usually made of rammed earth and could contain something like you're envisioning. Sounds like a big group project!
 
Lito George
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Daniel Richardson wrote:You should check out tolous:



This was an incredible suggestion. I thought it was Fijian, and when I read the article, it spoke about Hakka which is the battle cry the All Black rugby team does before every match (and other NZ sports teams too).

Imagine the cognitive dissonance I felt when my eyes fed my brain information that this was all happening in China....!

Brilliant piece of info and I am grateful to you for passing it on. Baie Dankie, Mucho Obrigado and all that.

 
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You have probably heard of the houses insulated with turf/peat moss slates in Northern countries?
They are on a much smaller scale and best suited for cold climates.
https://www.ecosia.org/images?q=grassodenhaus
I love the look of them, but like so many other things it would be illegal to build them here in Germany. Difficult enough to get permissions for Tiny houses or similar...
 
pollinator
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For a compostable look at Simon & Jasmine Dale's straw bale and cob house- sadly it was involved in a fire a few years ago, but the remains all composted down (Jasmine does post on the forum sometimes).

I can't find a good article on it, but a start is: https://www.granddesignsmagazine.com/grand-designs-houses/330-grand-designs-eco-self-build-home-fire-s-justgiving-page-raises-over-10-000
 
Lito George
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Thanks Anita, I took a good look at the link you sent. Previously, I've watched a good video on some of those houses from the Youtube channel Exploring Alternatives.

It would be quite illegal here too. That begs the question:

HOW do we get the authorities to accept this kind of house. I feel there's a slightly amount of tyranny being told how I can live.

(I understand all the reasons codes were introduced and why, although I feel there is much corruption in the versions driven by the need to make more money)


----


Thanks Charli  - yes, I am familiar with Simon's house and was saddened to read it had burned down at the time. I think back to their place and I note that they moved back into town rather than rebuild. That action gives me pause for thought - why.

I would love to see the site today, so if anyone has a picture of it, that would be terrific!

 
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Lito George wrote:

It would be quite illegal here too. That begs the question:

HOW do we get the authorities to accept this kind of house. I feel there's a slightly amount of tyranny being told how I can live.

(I understand all the reasons codes were introduced and why, although I feel there is much corruption in the versions driven by the need to make more money)



I believe to some extent you'd just have to do it, or move somewhere with less strict codes. So many aspects of permaculture are revolutionary when compared to conventional capitalist living, perhaps it requires a revolution.
 
Lito George
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Agreed Simon. I may have to move out to where you are to be able to achieve what I want. Here, in the capital city, I might as well fart against thunder (as my old man used to say).
 
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