The Farm: July 2021 – Biodiversity & Concept Drawings

It’s been a long time between updates on the Farm. Spending almost seven months in Northern NSW meant we were a long way from the property, though there’s been a lot going on in the background during this time.

Since my last post in February, 2021, our Architectural team has been progressing work on the design of our home, the overall site and assessing the biodiversity of our land. Exciting times!

One Year of Planning

At the outset of this project we were cautioned to allow at least one year for planning. That’s under usual conditions, without COVID. One year of planning before we could even think about building seems so long. We know that to respect the land we intend to build on will take time and careful planning. Despite some bumps in the road due to COVID, we’re tracking okay on this goal.

The Farm is currently nothing but a vacant block, with only our hopes of our dream home being built there. With this in mind, it’s reasonable that considerable planning needs to happen due to it’s country location and zoning. Located in the heart of bush-fire territory, the Farm is a large property bordered on one side by State Forest. There’s many complex elements and controls to be considered in the planning process, beyond the design of our home.

Biodiversity on the Farm

Understanding the eco-system on site is important to us. Learning about the native flora and fauna was possible through commissioning a biodiversity report. The completed report reveals the property has:

  • 54 flora species comprising of 42 indigenous species and 12 exotic species;
  • no threatened fauna species (hurrah!);
  • the Farm is likely to provide a habitat for owls, gliders and lace monitors; and
  • is a foraging spot for a variety of forest birds, reptiles and mammals.

Density of the tree canopy varies across the property. In some places it’s quite sparse and in others, reasonably dense. The diverse ground cover includes indigenous grasses and herbs. Naturally, I’m keen to learn if any of these plants can be used in cooking.

I’m also keen to learn more about how we can keep our living environment entirely separate from any lace monitors currently calling the Farm home after learning a little about them. Lace monitors are the largest monitor lizard, can grow up to 2 meters in length and 14 kilos in weight. They are adept climbers and tend to live their lives in one habitat.

Lace monitors typically feed on the meat of already dead animals (ugh) and support their diet with birds, insects, reptiles and small mammals. They’ll also forage in areas inhabited by people and rummage through garbage or raid chicken coops.

Oh, their bite is also somewhat venomous.

I’ll certainly be investigating how we can clearly define our living space from that of any resident monitor lizards!

In addition to the native flora and fauna, we have grazing sheep and the odd goat from our neighbour’s property. It’s a lovely arrangement and certainly helps keep the ground cover down when we’re away for long durations.

Concept Plans

I’m sure for many people who dream of something, they see it in great detail. That hasn’t been the case for us in thinking about the design of the property. Our home is about how we want to feel when we’re there. And, it’s about how we want our lifestyle and values to be represented.

We are fortunate to have a fabulous architectural team who just ‘get us’. They received a fairly open brief in terms of design. The briefing document was more centered on textures, feelings, views and how a space might work. It’s a big leap of faith to leave the design of your forever home completely open to interpretation. And, doing this wouldn’t be possible if we weren’t entirely confident of the team appointed to this project.

Receiving concept plans is a big milestone in a building project. To receive plans when you have absolutely no idea what the building will look like is next level! We were delightfully overwhelmed by what was presented! I’m can be quite the chatterbox and I think the concept presentation meeting rendered me almost speechless as I took everything in.

Our modern country farm house is now beautifully articulated in a set of three different concept plans. Last week we ventured up to the block for our first visit since February. We were able to step out rooms and areas and imagine with a little more detail how it might all feel.

Next, the concept drawings will be progressed to ‘first final’ concept and then refined into plans which should inch us closer to submitting for building approval.

A year of planning hardly seems enough…

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