Not many projects bring in so many elements onto one property. This was an ambitious project and one that checks a lot of boxes by integrating stormwater management and permaculture guilds with traditional landscaping elements!
Permaculture design provides a wonderful toolbox to integrate all of these elements into one cohesive design.
Part 2 of this project summary will focus on the productive parts of the backyard.
From the deck you can see many of the elements in the backyard-
- Fruit guilds
- trees and berry bushes with productive and/or beneficial perennial plants
- Annual garden, compost bin & herb spiral
- rain barrel (for the best water) right by the garden
- Patio & firepit
|Overlooking this new productive and relaxing backyard space|
The site had a very challenging slope that was difficult and dangerous to mow, with poor soil quality, erosion and soggy areas. We finished this amazing residential project last season.
|Enhanced rain garden and dry stream bed.|
This water feature is a feast for all the senses and could provide a drink for pollinators and beneficial insects like dragonflies. The surrounding prairie planting provides habitat and attracts pollinating insects necessary for fruit and vegetable production.
|Constructing the herb spiral-|
also high on the customer wish list
|Herb spiral with historical salvaged bricks, rain garden|
overflow stream in the background.
Herb spirals are often found in permaculture gardens and something the customer really wanted to include. A spiral pattern is one that repeats in nature and depending on the herb spiral's size can induce microclimates that can be targeted with herbs that appreciate them. Herbs are generally quite resilient and do well in these raised systems which can be too dry for typical vegetables. We positioned this one near the edge of the lawn for easy access and near the annual vegetable garden.
|Looking across the raised keyhole garden beds|
as the sod was being finished. With the amount of
earth sculpting, sod was needed for the small lawn.
|Before - Garden space|
|Keyhole garden beds with composter behind.|
A rain barrel is on a stand behind the stairs.
|Native pollinator beds were already established, we just added the |
planting space on the hardest to mow areas - between the tree guilds.
|Apple guild view from below|
The apple guild includes rhubarb, gooseberries and currants. Strawberries were used as a productive ground cover, along with pockets of clover for nitrogen fixation. The tree spacing allows a good deal of sun through for fruit production but does provide shade in the afternoons which strawberries appreciate. The swale on contour captures runoff from above hydrating the plants below. The access paths (dark mulch) also follow the contour to prevent erosion and make them easier to navigate.
|Apple guild, view from the deck -|
you can just see the compost bins and garden at the bottom
Now for the understory plants to fill in! I'm really looking forward to revisiting this yard as it develops.