At an alarming pace, green hedgerows, smooth lawns and multicoloured flower beds have been replaced by grey tiles, maintenance-free patios and closely paved pathways. Especially in cities, this has major consequences. 


Soil, flora and fauna perform several environmental and economic functions, but sealing soil has multiple ecological implications. All private gardens (which are estimated to be around 5.5 million in The Netherlands) compose a large area that has an impressive potential to contribute to sustainable water management and urban biodiversity. 


The following three experiments show an different aproach to reduce soil sealing behaviour.

Experiment 1 : De Bloemenbuurt

De Bloemenbuurt translated in English “Flower Neigberhood” in Volendam has a soil sealing density of 86%. Which puts them fourth on the list of neighbourhoods with the highest density of soil sealing.

The contradiction of the name in relation to the neighbourhood was used to create awareness.
The street signs were hijacked and changed to “Tegelstraat”, literally translated as “TileStreet”. To explain why their street sign got hijacked, citizens were given a letteraddressing each address to explain the current state of soil sealing within their street. The letter was supported with gladiolus corms to give them a start and motivate them into a greener direction.

This eventually resulted in some interesting discussions online between people that liked
it and people that hated it and labelled it as left-winged vandalism.

Experiment 2 : The Consequences 

People with a sealed garden can often not see the consequences, their garden may have on the environment and their surroundings. Therefore it is difficult for people to see the urgency to chance their garden. These rhizotrons mimic the difference between a green and a tiled garden. A rhizotron is simultaneously a laboratory, an architectural expression and a technical tool used to observe the soil below the soil’s surface.
On one side it shows a tiled garden. This rhizotron is filled with yellow sand with two tiles placed on top. Due to the tiles on top and a lack of greenery, this rhizotron won’t be having any soil or fauna functions. When exposed to heavy rainfall we see that water can’t go into the soil. Which results in flooding.
On the other side, the green garden shows it’s soil funcition you see root zones, soil fauna and flora which plays a major role in our biodiversity. When this is exposed to heavy rainfall we see that it is able to absorb the water.

Experiment 3 : Jesse’s Garden

Focusing on creating a greener and more sustainable future, you expect the chairman of Groenlinks to have a green personal space. However, the chairman Jesse Klaver nearly has any green in his garden. That is why I adressed him a letter asking if he, together with me wants to make his garden more green.

Leaving this letter with clover seeds at his home address resulted in a evacuation of his family. When spoken to the his press officer it was clearly that he was not amused. The seeds attached to the brief resulted in a call to the police and counter terrorism organisation in The Netherlands. Eventually Jesse did transform his tiled garden into a green garden together with me.
Jesse Klaver is representing interests that he does not even fulfil in his own private domain. To expose this fact I decided to recreate his garden at scale, confronting him that he is
 acting a bit hypocritical.