Thursday, April 21, 2011


Our design for tin box always considered the house and its site as habitat for wildlife. As these photographs from today show, the site is home to numerous species, even during construction. The big polychromatic bugs are Eastern Lubber Grasshoppers. The ones shown here are young nymphs, and they'll grow to the size of your palm. There were scores of them on the fence this morning. Yes, they'll eat our vegetables, but they're just too cool to get rid of.

And they are not alone...

The snails on the construction fence are some kind of tree snail. We haven't identified them yet, and don't know if they are endangered (as some tree snails are). But they are beautiful, and it would be great to plant trees to accommodate them. They seem to really like green vinyl fabric, but that's not really in our material palette.

Our original plan for the house included vegetated roofs that would provide habitat for these and other species. We hope to add the green roofs in the second phase of construction, several years from now. We will plant much of the landscape with species that provide habitat for native butterflies, bees and birds. We plan to locate many plants strategically so that we'll be able to watch these animals from indoors as they feed and nest.

Unlike the grasshoppers and snails, the peafowl are not native. The peacocks, peahens and peachicks that have overrun the neighborhood are gorgeous. On the plus side, they slow traffic pretty effectively. On the down side, they are loud. Really loud.

Our landscape will use as many native plant species as possible to nourish and shelter native animals. Still, we wouldn't mind peacocks and iguanas.

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