Living lightly on the land is one of my key priorities, both in my own personal situation and in my design work. Everything I do is designed to limit imposition and maximise synergy and harmony with natural systems.
Living lightly on the land of course involves thinking about many different things – from where your food comes from and the types of things you eat, to water use and land management. One other crucial thing to think about, however, is the type of structures we build to live in. We need to consider their suitability to the environments around them and how imposing they are in and on a landscape – in every sense.
I am not an architect, but as a permaculture designer, I of course often have to think holistically about all elements on a site – including homes. I have seen some great solutions for wildly different places which are designed to sit as lightly on the land as possible.
One example of this is homes build in woodland around existing trees, with minimal footprints and clever foundations. Another example involved a floating home, on a new reservoir within a wetland ecosystem, with integrated food producing zones, rainwater harvesting and water filtration systems. Of course, a range of tiny homes are also excellent examples of homes which can sit lightly in their environments.
Many other great examples to minimise impact and live in a more sustainable way involve the repurposing of existing structures in rural and urban settings, which means no new structures need to be built at all and ecosystems can remain undisturbed. (Like our own conversion project of a 19th Century stone barn.)
Whether you are building a new home, dreaming about your future, or simply thinking about how you can live in a more sustainable way, living lightly on the land, in every way, is one of the important things to consider.