We ‘live’ on the breezy back deck overlooking the half acre garden with its backdrop of lemon-scented Eucalyptus & feel relaxed whenever we arrive home to the quiet cul-de-sac street where neighbours know eachother and a large mango tree over our driveway offers shady respite in summer.
On Sustainable House Day visitors can only access our garden and covered patios with steps (not house interior), so please wear flat & secure shoes. Come take a look.
Over the last 10 years we have tinkered & retrofitted (on a low budget) a regular 1980’s steel-framed, fibre-sheeting house with wide eaves. The house makes use of second-hand & new french doors to allow cooling cross breezes, and on the hot western boundary shade is provided by the same mango tree. Wider than usual gaps between fence palisades allows more breeze.
To keep our quarterly power bill under AU$200 (average) we switch off appliances at the wall, only run lights in the spaces being occupied, and motion sensors are used for outdoor lighting. The sole split system AC in the living area is used mostly to cool down or warm up the open-plan space, and never runs for more than a few hours at a time. We would love to have an all-solar powered house, however we haven’t gotten there yet.
Tropical Cyclone Marcia in 2015 showed us how reliant we were on the grid for electricity & water, and we’ve taken steps since then to become more resilient. We have a small solar & battery set-up to run a camping fridge for drinks & cyclone emergencies. On hot summer days we cook outside with a BBQ or slow cooker to stop the house heating even more.
The porous driveway (compacted crushed granite) allows rainwater to soak into the ground, and when we run out of homemade mulch we use tea tree mulch (from Byfield’s Waterpark Creek tea tree plantation). We built a garden retaining wall using seconds concrete blocks and harvest bamboo to create shading over garden paths & fan-like supports for climbing vegetables.
We participate in the Habitat Stepping Stones Program through Livingstone Shire Council/ Macquarie University, and we’re a ‘ShareWaste’ foods scraps recipient (check out the app for your local donors & recipients). We purchase most food from local farmers & small shops rather than supermarkets & occasionally share excess from the garden at the monthly Capricorn Coast Produce Swap. We avoid disposable plastic like a bad smell and only send a tiny bag of waste to Yeppoon landfill every week or fortnight.
Some additional things to see on your walk around our garden:
` Simple DIY dog poop composter
` Possum box in mango tree
` Edible plants currently include: Australian plants: Lemon myrtle x 2, native finger lime, lilly pilly, beach cherry, Davidson plum, macadamia, blue quandong. Pineapples, moringa, white mulberry, icecream bean, Grumichama x 2, lemon grass, acerola/ Barbados Cherry, tiny feijoa, Malabar chestnut, coconut palm, miracle fruit, jaboticaba, pomegranate, grapevine, Brazilian cherry, mandarin, star gooseberry, mango, passionfruit vine, coffee bushes, vanilla vine. Seasonal herbs and veggies are scattered around in sunnier garden beds.
` ‘Chop & Drop’ mulching.
` Recycled garden art.
` Whirly bird vent on roof to expel hot air.
All donations on the day will go to Capricorn Coast Landcare Group
This home is supported by