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Alberta Girl Acres


1 A simple, semi-circular bed design follows mound contour in parched prairie land.
2  Previous conditions.
3 Spring melt retained in hand-and-foot set berms.
4 Sunflowers bloom against a smokey Southern Alberta sky.
Design + build:
Kendra Scanlon


Faced with some of the driest conditions Southern Alberta has seen in many decades, it was my role to develop a rainwater harvesting strategy, irrigation, and bed plans that would aid in the retention of runoff for this small-scale commercial cut flower farm. In this intervention, I studied local climate to develop a berm system that would slow down and capture runoff. Using landscape as infrastructure became core to our irrigation strategy.

The simple, semi-circular design along the contours of this gently sloping mound meets specific criteria expressed by the farm owner including: lessening the burden of water-intensive crops, a plot that had 3x the planting capacity as the previous bed, easily walkable and conducive with harvesting by hand, and that would be aesthetically pleasing at the front of the property. I used a line level to determine the slope and spacing of the beds, an A-frame level to mark the contour, a walk-behind tractor to set trenches, and rakes and shovels to compact and set the berms.