Location: Arroyo Grande, CA
Project Scope: 7th Generation Design was invited by the Pfleeger family to develop a Level 2 Whole Site Design for their 15 acre family homestead with a vision of creating a living and working homestead that is a community gathering spot, thriving farm, artist retreat center, and natural capital resource base to support themselves and others. You can follow the awesomely artistic evolution of Lonely Palm Ranch on their Instagram @lonelypalmranch.
Needs: Developing a comprehensive water reticulation system to help the property receive, recharge, retain, and ultimately release its annual precipitation income in the most beneficial and productive way was of critical importance and underlaid all other design considerations. Functional access planning around water reticulation earthworks, windbreaks and shelter belts, and soil fertility strategies for reviving the denuded pasture land to a healthy and productive state were also critical design elements.
The Land: The 15.53 acre property sits atop the toe of a primary ridge, and is effectively isolated from other parts of the surrounding watershed. The property had over 7 acres of fenced pastures with heavy clay soils, as well as some steep eroding slopes and gulleys, along with an existing but stunted home fruit orchard. In an average rain year (19.4″) the property has over 8 million gallons of water fall on it, though the vast majority is lost to run-off and rapid evaporation due to compacted soils.