Friday, 12 February 2021

The Polyculture Project - Regenerative Landscape Designs - Carla Blackmar, Oxford, Ohio, United States

It's been a great experience running our Regenerative Landscape Design - Online Interactive Course where we cover how to Design, Build and Manage Polycultures for Landscapes, Gardens, and Farms. It's particularly rewarding getting to know the participants and their projects from all over the world and watching their ideas and designs grow and develop throughout the course and finally be presented to the group. With permission, we'll be sharing some of the final designs from the course with you over the next few months. This week, we're presenting a design from Carla Blackmar based on the development of an outdoor classroom of an elementary school in Ohio, US. 

Kramer Elementary School, Oxford Ohio - Regenerative Site Design by Carla Blackmar

The risks of indoor spread of COVID-19 in school settings have exposed the degree to which many US communities have neglected the potential of outdoor public space.  My design re-imagines an underutilized elementary school property in small-town Ohio, with a focus on making inviting outdoor spaces for learning while also working to address ecological challenges including habitat loss due to invasive plants and deforestation.  I have tried to focus on low-maintenance and resilient design solutions, attempting a design that can be maintained largely by machine with a focus on edible native trees such as paw paw, persimmon, oak and hickory.  While this project is unlikely to be built, the principles gained in the course and through the creation of this design will be applied to other local projects, some of which will focus on public space."

Existing and Historic Conditions

Site Constraints

  • Water: poor soils on top of slope means water runs off instead of soaking in. Water is in wrong place for food forest.

  • Soils: Possible construction debris/ compaction during construction have resulted in poor soils

  • Economic: School district has no funding for this project, would need to be paid
  • for with outside $

  • Deer: very high deer population will make it difficult to “beat them” to theharvest in the forest. Fencing is prohibitively expensive.

  • Social: past outdoor education projects on-site have been abandoned. 

Site Goals and Designs

Food Forest Plan Detail

Native Food Forest and Compost Area

Outdoor Classroom Plan Detail

Final Site Images

If you would like to get in touch with Carla you can reach her at 

If you would like to learn how to design, build and manage regenerative landscapes.  Join us for our next Regenerative Landscape Design - Online Interactive Course starting May 1st to Sep 13th, 2023. 

We're super excited about running the course and look forward to providing you with the confidence, inspiration, and opportunity to design, build and manage regenerative landscapes, gardens, and farms that produce food and other resources for humans while enhancing biodiversity.

Regenerative Landscape Design Online Course

You can find out all about the course here and right now we have a 20% discount on the full enrollment fees. Just use the promo code
 RLD2023 in the section of the registration form to receive your discount. 

We are looking forward to providing you with this unique online learning experience - as far as we know, the very first of its kind. If you are thinking of reasons why you should do this course and whether this course is suitable for you, take a look here where we lay it all out. Looking forward to it

In our next post, we'll be looking at a design by Olivier Bastin an experienced hydrological engineer and consultant that has developed a project for his community. 

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