Artist Michael Bernstein was finding new uses for the city’s disused dumpsters long before the dumpster pool craze. His Ten Yards project turned one of these trash receptacles into a beautiful and portable garden for the Sculpture Center in Long Island City back in 2001. With the prototype under his belt, Bernstein forsees the Ten Yards project as a way to bring movable green space to New York City, as well as urban centers around the world.
Whether purchased by the city or individuals, Bernstein’s dumpster gardens could bring infusions of greenery to any pocket of the city, including the concrete thickets of Manhattan. Like Kim Holleman’s Trailer Park, the dumpster gardens could be pulled from place to place, providing flexibility for parking zones and other city traffic. The possibilities for Bernstein’s dumpster gardens are endless, from portable edible gardens bearing fresh produce, to movable forests that could provide temporary shade or fresh air to an urban neighborhood.
With the prototype as inspiration, Bernstein has been expanding the idea of the Ten Yards project, using the dumpsters in more ornate designs. Thus far a dumpster-koi pond design is in the works, as well as a Japanese-style rock garden. Both are traditional garden designs, but take on an eco-twist by not only repurposing a disused object, but also being able to truck from location to location with ease.