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Show #2/1902
Landscape Makeover

Develop Subdivisions With Nature In Mind

Peter Backus has been developing eco-friendly subdivisions since 1999, long before it was fashionable to do so. Peter went to the Univ. of Arizona, did a lot of horseback riding, came back to Tucson 12 years after graduating and decided to buy some land. After buying the land he decided he wanted to develop it rather than selling it. When developing land he doesn't always know immediately what the developed property will look like. He starts the planning process by riding the property, then hiking it, he covers the property. He certainly consults topography maps but topo maps don't show too much. They might show a dot but one doesn't know what that dot means, what it's going to be. One needs to go out and find it, to do this you need to walk the property. Richard notices the roads in this subdivision aren't straight. And, that's what happens when walking or riding the property. One looks at the topo map and think you know where the road should go, but when walking you find out there may be something you should go around. They then go around it or cut something out, one of the two. It drives an engineer crazy. At the end the engineers often say, good job, but it took us a long time to get there. This approach benefits wildlife as well. Peter often keeps the corridors the animals have been using for years open. Not only for the animals but for humans. These corridors provide excellent areas to ride horses, even walk the terrain. And, it makes the subdivision look better. This technique benefits the wildlife and in many cases cuts expenses because they don't build as many bridges to cross washes, for example. Saving money is always important to a developer.

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By Nancy Buley, J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co., Wholesale Tree Growers
Photographs courtesy of J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co.

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