Gold Certified – The Kipfers

Salad from weeds

By Clarissa Hatley

Congratulations to Bob and Barb Kipfer who live in the Ravenwood subdivision for becoming the newest Yard Ethic Gold Certified Yard!

When the Kipfers realized their yard full of beautiful flowers and ornamental trees was essentially a “food desert” for pollinators and other wildlife, they decided to transform it into an ecologically thriving space brimming with birds and insects.

A passion for native plants and pollinators motivated them to cultivate 91 different species of native plants, as well as several common non-native staples, such as zinnias, to provide habitat and nectar for butterflies and bees. Sweetgum, serviceberry, and extensive native shrubs offer tree canopy cover and plentiful food for birds.

Located in the middle of a rain garden, a butterfly puddler rests in the shade of a serviceberry. The raingarden is fed by an elegant rock bioswale running along the steep slope of the Kipfers’ basement foundation. The bioswale feature prevents stormwater from entering the basement and from washing out the backyard by channeling runoff directly into the rain garden filled with water loving plants.

Two separate rain barrels, 84 and 63 gallons, direct runoff from the basement gutters into storage containers for plants that need watering on drier days. Just off the patio sits a compost bin for food and yard waste. While the Kipfers no longer spray or fertilize, they do manage for pests and disease in ways that support pollinators and facilitate a healthy soil ecosystem. This is done by implementing strategies such as mowing high (5 inches), harvesting salad from the weeds, and having their soil tested to ensure a proper balance of organic matter that allows plants, beneficial insects, fungi and microbes to flourish.

To educate and inspire others who have a budding passion for native plants, Bob and Barb offer tours for those interested in planting natives and give advice on plant species, location, as well as a chance to see plants growing. The Yard Ethic is strong with this couple!

View a virtual tour of the Kipfers’ yard below!