Making the Signs for Naturalized Areas
We recently decided to demarcate some of many accidental meadows across Windsor with these Naturalized Area signs. In hopes that these signs might momentarily allow residents of Windsor to look at these naturalized spaces for what they are—that is, wonderful additions to our urban landscape—instead of the result of a politically-charged issue, we spent the earlier part of this week designing the signs, getting them printed, drilling holes, and installing them.
After a conversation on the blog, Steven, Danielle and I spent Monday visiting FastSigns for a quote, Home Depot for some supplies, and then a few hours working with the design for the signs.
Steven worked on the design, trying to keep it looking kind of official, but ultimately a lot more playful than anything the city would likely do on their own. The idea wasn’t necessarily to try to trick people into thinking the city put the signs up, but rather just to insert something into the city’s spaces to try to get people to think differently about what they’re seeing.
After some discussion, it became imperative to add a silhouette of the Detroit skyline.
We worked for a while with the colours, but finally settled on the design above.
The email sent off to the FastSigns, who printed it very, very fast—as in, less than 24 hours we picked up the signs.
After we picked up the signs, we started drilling holes to attach the signs to the green fence poles we picked up from Home Depot. The poles are usually used for a type of fencing (not chain link, but something else).
We didn’t exactly have the right tools, but we did some approximate measuring and started drilling the holes.
We attached simple 1/4″ bolts.
The sign itself started to bow, so we needed to finesse the bolts.
Hand-tightening didn’t work.
So we switched to some tools, which weren’t ideal, but did the job.
Then we did a test install at Lebel.
Again, not the right tools, but a large piece of wood seemed to be okay.
Back to the signs with a bit more precision in measuring.
Drilling was thankfully very easy.
Josh held down the sign, while I drilled. We bolted the first hole to keep us aligned for the second.
The print on the front of the signs did lift a bit around where the bolts went in, likely due to over-tightening.
Danielle and Josh added bolts to the other signs.
Our completed signs! Each sign cost about $50 in total.
This was the first area, along Huron Church, across from the University’s Naturalized Area.
Steven and Josh went to install the sign, while Danielle stood as lookout.
We debated between the brick and the wood.
Ultimately, we went with the wood, I finished getting the sign into the ground.
The sign as installed.
Steven documenting the sign, while Danielle and Josh admire our work.
The next location was the Paterson Park in Sandwich. Though one end of the park has a playground, the other is just a great sprawling field, a perfect spot to keep naturalized after the strike finishes.
Thing time we were equipped with a brick wrapped in newspaper, which worked perfectly.
The sign, as installed at Paterson Park.
Steven documenting with CUPE’s sign in the background.
Another potential site, but maybe not visible enough—this is the park on the corner of Huron Church and University. There was a patch strangely mowed in the middle of the park.
Since Riverside was closed for construction, we took advantage of being able to install comfortably and put this sign in the meadow at the top of the slope that leads to the riverfront.
The sign as installed at the top of the slope. This could be a great place, seeing as no activity usually happens at the top of the slope, and that’s key. We didn’t want to put these in places that would benefit from being mowed again (eventually), instead, we hoped to suggest spaces that could be interesting to keep naturalized.
The Ambassador Bridge in the background, with our sign in what could hopefully remain a naturalized area. We have one more sign, we’re still deciding where to put it.