Gatewood Urban Homestead
City living that meets the challenges of peak oil, climate instability, and economic irrationality.

Prairie Rose Permaculture - my new permaculture practice offering online permaculture education worldwide and design consultation in the Oklahoma area.

Permaculture is the art and science of designing sustainable human habitations and systems.

Gatewood Urban Homestead is a permaculture design for my home, which sits in a densely populated neighborhood close to downtown Oklahoma City. The 185 pages of the document cover topics such as earth works, nutrient management, food production, shelter, access, energy, water, community, economics, budget, hazards, and staging. Extensive appendices including species lists, resources, book lists, and how-to materials.

The lot is 1/7th of an acre, the house was originally built in 1929. There is a second smaller house on the property. We grow more than 100 different varieties of useful or edible plants on the former lawns.As the economic situation continues to unfold, one thing that brings me peace of mind is the knowledge that "we the people" do not have to be helpless pawns of big economic trends over which we have no control. There is much that we can do to increase the safety, security, health, comfort, and well-being of our families and households.

That's why I began to study permaculture ten years ago. We're all going to have to adapt to the changing times, and a place to start is reading the permaculture design for my home -- "Gatewood Urban Homestead: City living that meets the challenges of peak oil, climate instability, and economic irrationality." While the recommendations are site specific to my house, readers can learn from this design about the household systems that can help protect you and all you love from what is coming at us.

Not adapting to the times is not a good option -- so now's the time to jump start your own household response to troubled times.

And yes, while the title reads "City Living", it is also useful for people in rural areas. Ten dollars is a small investment to start your own journey towards sustainability, security, and healing for our planet.

Scroll below the embedded video of the OETA Stateline episode about our property for the order information and the Table of Contents. For further reading, download a free set of Permaculture pamphlets: Permaculture Design Course Series and Living Lovingly on the Earth - an article on permaculture principles, by Dan Hemenway.

OETA Stateline Video about this house

If this embedded video doesn't work, click on this link to go directly to the Google Video version of the documentary.

Gatewood Urban Homestead sent in PDF format (4 MB), by email, within 24 hours of receipt of your order and payment. Just click the "Buy Now" to pay via the PayPal system with a credit or debit card, or electronic check. $10.00.

Gatewood Urban Homestead, on a CD sent via the US mail. $16.00
Just click the "Buy Now" to pay via the PayPal system with a credit or debit card, or electronic check. You must include your address in the comments or email it to me at

To pay via a check or money order ($10 for PDF sent by email, $16 for PDF on CD sent by mail), send payment payable to Robert Waldrop to:

1524 NW 21st Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73106


Gatewood Urban Homestead


1.1 Clients
1.2 Site description
1.3 Community


2.1 Earth Works and Nutrient Management

2.1.1 Earth Works

Soil 1 Build retaining walls at the curbs, raise the level of the yard closest to the retaining walls and shape the soil levels so that the ground slopes towards the center of each yard section that is west of the north-south public sidewalk.

Soil 2 Build a swale and berm system in front of the house.

Soil-3 Build retaining walls west and north of the house.

2.1.2 Nutrient Management

Soil-4 Replace Bermuda grass with other ground covers.

Soil-5 Mulch areas not planted to ground cover.

Soil-6 Convert an old bathtub into a vermiculture project.

Soil 7 Compost in place.

Soil 8 Grow additional compost/green manure crops.

Soil-9 Plant cover crops that boost soil fertility.

2.1.3 Food Production

Food-1 Increase the area for food production.

Food 2 Re-work the growing beds in the garden area west of the house.

Food 3 Use all of the growing season.

Food 4 Make a plant spacing grid.

Food 5 Use companion planting techniques.

Food 6 Grow crops vertically to increase production in your limited space.

Food 7 Use your sun porch as a greenhouse.

Food 8 Make cold frames to increase winter food production.

Food 9 Preserve heirloom plants and save seeds.

Food 10 Increase production of food producing legumes.

Food 11 Increase your production of multiplying onions, shallots and Egyptian onions.

Food 12 Plant and cook alternatives to summer squash.

Food 13 Keep good garden records.

Food 14 Add more perennial food/useful plants to the garden.

Food 15 Learn good pruning and grafting techniques.

Food 16 Make improvements to the fruit tree area north of the house.

Food 17 Increase production south of the storage building.

Food 18 Use the perimeter of the property for food production.

Food 19 Build more vertical growing structures.

Food 20 Plant a medicinal garden.

Food 21 Monitor the shade cast by the perimeter hedge.

Food 22 Build a planter box by the sunspace.

Food 23 Make a container garden on the driveway.

Food 24 Create a greenhouse/fish culture system in the storage building.

2.1.4 Food processing and storage

Cook 1 Build an outdoor kitchen and deck.

Cook 2 Build a root cellar/tornado shelter.

Cook 3 Get the equipment you need for food processing and preservation.

Cook 4 Build a solar food dryer.

Cook 5 Create a food preparation area in the kitchen.

Cook 6 Create more food storage places.

2.1.5 Human Excreta Management.

Waste 1 Use urine as fertilizer.

Waste 2 Build a chopped straw toilet.


2.2.1 The house

Shelter 1 Develop better accommodations for guests and travelers.

Shelter 2 Decorate walls with musical instruments.

Shelter 3 Don't tear out the natural gas chimneys and fireplaces.

Shelter 4 Plan for meetings and acquire suitable equipment.

Shelter 5 Enclose the front porch.

2.2.2 The storage building

Shelter 6 Repair the Storage Building Roof with an eco-friendly roofing material.

Shelter 7 Renovate the porch and exterior of the storage building.

2.2.3 Privacy Improvements

Shelter 8 Reinforce your perimeter hedge.

Shelter 9 Build a fence to connect the house and the storage building.

Shelter 10 Build a front gate.


Access 1 Choose more eco-friendly methods of travel.

Access 2 Refurbish the electric assist bicycle and purchase an adult trike.

Access 3 Bicycle route to Bob's work.


2.4.1 Passive heating and cooling

Energy 1 Do a Home Energy Audit of the house.

Energy 2 Learn how to operate your passive solar heating and cooling systems

Energy 3 Install grills to facilitate ventilation and heat transmission.

Energy 4 Grow more summer shade.

Energy-5 Create shade for the solar sun porch.

Energy 6 Make some improvements to the house's insulation.

Energy 7 Use area rugs in the winter.

Energy 8 Make R-20 insulating shutters for the windows.

Energy 9 Trim the elm tree to allow more winter sunlight to shine on the sun porch.

Energy 10 Optimize the efficiency of your solar sun porch.

2.4.2 Wood stove

Energy 11 Follow important wood stove safety recommendations to protect the household.

Energy 12 Harvest wood from your lot and neighborhood.

Energy 13 Move the wood storage.

2.4.3 The Storage Building

Energy 14 Build an alternative energy system for lights in the storage building.

2.4.4 Materials Cycling and Waste Management

Energy 15 Create a materials cycling center in the utility room.

Energy 16 Place additional materials cycling containers in areas of high use.

2.4.5 Other Energy Issues

Energy 17 Monitor appliances' energy consumption.

Energy 18 Improve the household's laundry arrangements.

Energy 19 Install a solar hot water system.

Energy 20 Recharge small batteries with solar power.


Water 1 Install a rainwater harvesting and storage system.

Water 2 Develop an appropriate gray water recovery system.

Water 3 Find the hand pump wells in the neighborhood.

Water 4 Develop a household water purification system.

Water 5 Use water pots or jugs in the ground to water plants.

Water 6 Install a "speed bump" on the driveway to intercept water runoff and direct it into the yards.

Water 7 Build a pond between the storage building and the water tanks.


2.6.1 Markets, job opportunities

Market 1 Develop a contingency plan if one or both of the household's "day jobs" go away.

2.6.2 Implementation skills available for hire or barter.

Barter 1 Trade skills to save money on renovation.

2.6.3 Material resources for design implementation and management


Budget 1 Increase your monthly principal payments in order to pay off your debts in an accelerated manner.

2.7.1 Budget and narrative.

2.7.2 Analysis of on-site income potential

Econ 1 Make and sell artistic rosaries.

Econ 2 Sell plants that are not normally available from local distributors.

Econ 3 Present "Applying Permaculture Design Principles in the Kitchen" workshops as a source of income.

Econ 4 Make bulgur wheat and sell it through the coop.


2.8.1 Tornadoes and straight-line windstorms

Hazard 1 Build a tornado shelter/root cellar.

Hazard 2 Update your tornado contingency plans pending the construction of the tornado shelter.

2.8.2 Lightning

Hazard 3 Maintain your Uninterruptible Power System.

Hazard 4 Suspend outdoor activities when lightning is present.

2.8.3 Fire

Hazard 5 Acquire additional emergency equipment.

2.8.5 Interruption in regular food supplies.

Hazard 7 Support your local food system.

Hazard 8 Store 2 year's supply of food.

2.8.6 Fuel storage (wood and propane)

Hazard 9 Store at least two cords of wood.

Hazard 10 Store propane.

2.8.7 Severe cold, blizzards, ice storms

Hazard 11 Prepare properly for winter travel.

2.8.9 Loss or contamination of the city water supply

Hazard 13 Increase your household water storage.

2.8.10 Falling tree limbs

Hazard 14 Trim limbs that threaten the property.

2.8.11 Interruption of Centrally Generated/Grid Distributed Electric Power.

Hazard 15 Maintain a basic non-grid dependent electricity backup.


YEAR I: The Year of Getting Ready
YEAR II: The Year of Growing
YEAR III: The Year of Water
YEAR IV: The Underground
YEAR V: The Final Touches


Appendix 3.1 Client survey.

Appendix 3.2 Resources (places to get info and skills support)

Appendix 3.3 Suppliers

Appendix 3.4 References

Appendix 3.5 Species lists

Appendix 3.6 12 years of climate info on rainfall, wind, and temperature

Appendix 3.7 Existing features of the property

Appendix 3.8: Notes on the social and economic history of the region

Appendix 3.9 Bus route information

Appendix 3.10 Resources and plans to assist in implementing this design

Appendix 3.10.1 Food storage list

Appendix 3.10.2 Suggested Mulch Materials

Appendix 3.10.3 List of recommended food processing and preserving equipment

Appendix 3.10.4 Oklahoma Extension publications on home gardens

Appendix 3.10.5 Oklahoma Extension publication on pruning fruit trees

Appendix 3.10.6 Notes on building trellises

Appendix 3.11 Calculations for determining heat loss through walls and the benefit from various levels of insulation.

Appendix 3.12 Ideas for Community Involvement

Develop urban permaculture demonstration sites.
Use your memberships, leadership roles, and community contacts to involve your community in permaculture.
Support the local food system.
Host teams of students for "alternative spring break" programs.
Assist gardeners in low income areas.
Develop an "Applying Permaculture Principles in Kitchen Designs" workshop.

Appendix 3.13 Soil Test Reports

Appendix 3.15 Book List

Shelter, Energy, Material/Resource Cycling
Growing, Eating, Preserving, Brewing, Household
Design for Health
Local Economics

Appendix 3.16 Index


Figure 1: Bob Waldrop (left), Sean Kay (right)

Figure 2: Base Map

Figure 3: House Base Map

Figure 4: West of house, looking north

Figure 5: From front porch, looking north

Figure 6, Looking east across front yard

Figure 7: View from the south at front yard of storage building and sun porch of the house.

Figure 8: Sun porch

Figure 9: Front view of the storage building plus south end of house

Figure 10: Full view of west side of house

Figure 11: Location of the retaining walls west of the house along McKinley Street.

Figure 12:.Map showing location of berm south of the east-west public sidewalk on the contour line.

Figure 13: Swale and channels north of east-west public sidewalk.

Figure 14:Location of the west side retaining wall along the house side of the north-south public sidewalk.

Figure 15 Location and depiction of vermiculture project.

Figure 16: Additional growing areas.

Figure 17: A sample plan for the intensive garden area.

Figure 18: Yard with water tanks and garden beds.

Figure 19: Location of new arbors.

Figure 20: Location and floor plan of summer kitchen.

Figure 21: Location of cellar.

Figure 22:.Location of fence, cellar, and new courtyard sitting area.

Figure 23: Locations for ventilation grills.

Figure 24 Location for storing sun porch shutters.

Figure 27: New location of clothesline.

Figure 28: Base map showing water tanks (blue circles).

Figure 29: Location of water storage tanks north of house.

Figure 30: General design of arbors with side details for summer kitchen arbor and house and storage building arbors.


Table 1 Budget

Table 2 Year 1 Implementation recommendations without pre-requisites.

Table 3 Year 1 recommendations with prerequisites

Table 4 Other Year 1 recommendations

Table 5 Year 2 recommendations without pre-requisites.

Table 6 Other Year 2 recommendations.

Table 7 Year 2 recommendations with pre-requisites

Table 8 Year 3 recommendations without pre-requisites.

Table 9 Year 3 recommendations with prerequisite

Table 10 Year 4 recommendations

Table 11 Year 5 recommendations

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