Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I'm kicking around some ideas for the landscaping around the ADU and main house. Meanwhile, with heavy rains coming, I've felt compelled to build some solid pathways to allow for easy movement around the house and ADU.

My father, formerly a landscape architect, helped by putting together some simple drawings that I used to inform the shape of the pathways and patios. Using these schematics, I worked with several people to lay out a wood frame to hold in the gravel and pavers. We had to excavate some soil along the way.

Landscape plan around ADU

Here are four short videos that show the hardscape construction process. I ordered the landscape materials from several sources---Craigslist, Wood Waste Management, and Home Depot. The gravels, sand, pavers, and natural stone ran me $2,000, the labor I hired ran another $700 plus 25 worktrade hours. I spent probably 20 hours on the project myself.

Later that same week, I finished laying out the pathway on the house of the house. Now that the hardscape is complete, it's time to work out a planting plan. I am balancing out the the merits of grass, stone walls, art work, shrubbery, groundcover, walls, and various forms of vegetative cover. It's fun to flip through garden and landscape books to figure out what ideas make sense for the property. Hopefully, appropriate ideas that are practical and beautiful will come to mind.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Another ADU Class and a New ADU Website

I held the 2nd 'Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit on Your Property in Portland' class at the ADU last weekend. There were 11 participants, which was a great class size. I had fun and the participants did too.

I've just posted registration for a class on Saturday, January 21st. If you're thinking about building an ADU, considering attending. From the feedback forms, every participant in the two classes I've held have found the class to be very useful and have enjoyed it. I'm limiting future classes to 13 participants, as the smaller class works better at the ADU. Last class, we visited a couple ADUs that are being constructed and I plan to do that in the next class as well.

As readers of this blog, you may agree that another critical piece to learning information about ADUs is finding a place online where you can find out information about other ADUs. Till now, there has been no such central place on the world wide web. Given the vast scope of content on the web, this surprised me and a few others who work on ADU issues. So, we have decided to fill that void and are proud to announce it: is intended to be the one stop shop for information about ADUs. On it, you can find information about ADUs that have been built, information about building one yourself, and references to other sources of information. The site is  authored and administered by Martin John Brown, Eli Spevak, and myself, all ADU aficionados in the Portland area. Each of us have built permitted ADUs, have a strong personal and professional interest in them, and have our own websites about our own ADUs. Collectively, we are joining forces and launching this new site as a mechanism to promote ADUs.

In association with this site, I've also set up an Accessory Dwelling Unit Yahoo Group where people can connect to share information about ADUs. If you're interested in sharing links, asking questions, and connecting with other homeowners or builders that work on ADUs, join this group:

Now that I've had a couple months living and relaxing in the ADU, I'm going to complete a couple more projects that need to be finished before I can consider the ADU property fully complete. Currently, I am working on the landscaping around the main house and the ADU. In the next couple weeks, I'll post an update about the landscaping, particularly as it relates to the ADU design. And, there's a couple more artistic projects that I'll post about in the next two months.

This blog will remain an archive of my ADU project related information. However, with the launch of, I expect to post to this blog less often and to be more active in managing and posting to
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