One of the programs, the Backyard Habitat Certification, honours and celebrates those who have created a diverse backyard habitat with different types of landscaping, water sources, gardens and trees that provide food or habitat for bees, butterflies, bats, birds, and frogs and humans. Dave and Lillian had the honor of being awarded this certification for their Grand Forks home. “When we purchased that double corner lot, it had been a rental for a long time. When we looked into the history of the property we learned that many years ago it belonged to a back yard mechanic and before that it had been the site of a repair yard for the railway that used to exist there at the turn of the century. Because of this, the earth was compact, rocky, heavy clay and what little greenery that survived there was mostly weeds.” Dave explains.
After putting in so much time and passion into that property it was difficult to leave it when it was reaching maturity and the peak of its beauty. However it was important for them to follow their dream and move to Creston. ” Did you know”, Dave asks, “that landscaping can add 15% or more to the value of your home? We only had a few people look at the place because of the ambiance our gardens brought to the home, and the certification was also a selling feature.”
“Using what we learned from the last place – we started from scratch, but with a better plan this time. Because this property did not have toxins in the soil, we were able to use the earth and sod removed from landscaping projects to layer into our 3-bin compost system. Our focus was to build good soil before we did anything else.” Lillian explains. “We’ve been here 7 years now and the place has become our own little park. It has been a great reward to receive 4 different certifications for our efforts.”
Landscaping surrounds their home, including 11 shrubs, 11 trees, hundreds of perennial bulbs, a few vines, dozens of berries, perennial flowers and herbs. 9 raised beds compliment their growing space along with 4 water features. Because loose seed is messy, the Brummets opted for putting 2 suet blocks in the largest evergreen tree for the birds and squirrels to enjoy.
“The group at CDSCL here in Creston make great bird and bat homes out of wood, we plan on getting a few this year and perhaps a butterfly house too.” Dave tells us.
The home has become a stunning park – quiet, peaceful with a feeling of privacy, which entices the couple and their 2 dogs to spend more time outside. They are often dog sitting for others and the fur-children love playing and sniffing around all the greenery and then seeking out shade for a rest or meeting up on the flower-pot covered deck for a deserved break.
Having created habitat at both properties the Brummets have come to see gardening as more than a healthy hobby because it makes a real difference in the world. “We noticed increasing numbers and diversity of birds, butterflies and insects. Frogs and dragonflies abruptly appear, bringing delight into our day, and we always have something in the freezer and pantry from the garden harvests. We saw energy costs lower simply due to increased shade and less dust. It is important to note that the plants we’ve put in so far will help mitigate global warming – currently absorbing more than 1875 kg of pollution and releasing enough oxygen for 25 people every single year. Just wait until they are mature! The property is noticeably cooler – during the peak summer months, pedestrians often pause to enjoy the shade and watch the butterflies”, Lillian shares with a smile.
Dave explains further, “We know that creating bio-diverse yards not only increases property value and so reduces energy costs and dust – but it also reduces noise and gives us a little more privacy. Becoming certified with any organization is a great way to help out, they use the funds raised in these programs to help run a wide variety of services. At the time of registering the property, it is a great opportunity to add a tax-deductible donation. The signs are durable, and they can be installed easily on a fence panel under cover if you desire. They enable visitors, and anyone passing by, to notice the sign, think about what it means, and that might just inspire them to do something similar to their green spaces. The signs make for excellent conversation starters for anyone visiting the property. They help our image, re: our business. And finally – they also make the property seem special, unique, which is important when it comes to selling.”