5506

5506 is a demonstration garden and community meeting space for residents of Gentilly in New Orleans.

nearly fifty volunteers came out to plant out the garden space at Project Home Again last month.  photo credit: Karley Frankic.
1 / 4 more↓ nearly fifty volunteers came out to plant out the garden space at Project Home Again last month. photo credit: Karley Frankic.

While excessive waste from house construction is a problem nation-wide, it is all the more acutely felt in New Orleans because of the large-scale post-Katrina rebuilding effort. Just as some hunters set an intention to utilize every part of their kill, reusing construction site waste could divert a huge volume of material from landfills. As a single up-cycling strategy, this net-zero waste strategy underscores craft and material synergies, unlikely solutions for otherwise undervalued debris, and a more mindful approach to the construction process.

We used the contents of a single construction dumpster to build a garden shed and raised beds, highlighting the material salvage process for new construction waste. Sustainable gardening strategies are also highlighted across the lot, from a cistern and compost bin to pervious paving and a bioswale/raingarden. Wherever possible, edibles have been planted, including vegetables in the front beds, a citrus orchard and pecan tree in the rear, and rows of blueberries across the site. Hardy native grasses, iris, milkweed and jasmine help to provide habitat and reduce stormwater runoff.