Green Shoots Blog
Hood River, Oregon
Matthew is a professional botanist and ecologist who wanted to incorporate natural, eco-friendly elements into his backyard. He built this beautiful bamboo fence made with 1” Black Cali Bamboo Fencing, and loves how it brings a Japanese garden atmosphere with ease. Read the interview below to hear how he liked working with the material!
What drew you to bamboo?
As a professional botanist and ecologist I am always looking for ways to include unique plants and sustainability into our built environment. Bamboo has so many positive aspects of its growth habit and material structure that it seemed to me an ideal solution to utilize it for a fence panel. Aesthetically, I’m very drawn to it’s organic, circular, and irregular characteristics. I must say that the inspirational spark that kicked off my quest to incorporate bamboo in our yard came from a visit to the Japanese Gardens in Portland, Oregon. It just resonated with me that day and I knew right then that we were going to include bamboo in our upcoming fence project.
Tell us about your experience building the fence.
Well, I had never built a fence before so I hired my co-worker’s husband to help me actualize our dream. He’s a fantastic, all-around builder, who appreciates working with clients who do things differently. We’ve since been forming a friendship built around our shared interests and working side-by-side on many subsequent home improvement projects.
From a material standpoint, I didn’t want start and stop with bamboo as being the only green aspect of the project. So, I searched out framing and post material that would match our sustainability criteria. I found it in juniper lumber sourced in eastern Oregon from ecological restoration projects that aim to preserve diminishing grassland and sagebrush habitat. You can read more about it here. I’m happy to be helping to build consumer demand for what would otherwise be considered waste wood. And, I understand that the longevity of this wood (even left untreated, as I’ve opted to do) surpasses redwood and cedar. It is very complimentary to the look of the bamboo panels, too.
What other ways do you stay green?
Most importantly, our family strives to live modestly and get much of our pleasure from non-consumptive activities liking hiking in the woods and hanging out with friends sharing meals and chatting. We bike and walk a lot and have converted out VW TDI wagon to run on straight waste vegetable oil or biodiesel. We’re starting to grow more of our own food and buy local as much as possible. In our new house we’ve upgraded many of appliances to super-efficient models and use our clothesline religiously. We volunteer our time to help out local environmental groups accomplish land restoration projects. And, we’ve planted a bamboo patch with a species that we can use for construction projects, like repairing our fence over time!
Since we installed our fence a few months ago we’ve gotten dozens and dozens of compliments from our neighbors and passerby’s. People seem to love the aesthetic, like we do.- Matthew
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