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permaculture in a rental  RSS feed

 
Briggs Burnham
Posts: 24
Location: Fairfield, IA
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So, my partner and just moved into our first (rented) house!  No more apartment for us, no sir, we have a garage!  A front and back door!  A basement!  And a yard complete with a garden plot and a few fruit trees!

Now, we only plan to live there for a year or so, and right now autumn is just settling over the midwest, so I'm not going to be doing much except compost building and sheet mulching right away ... but I can't just let this opportunity go to waste.  I must permie-up the place at least a little bit!

A bit about the lot: the back yard is about 50' square.  The garden plot is in the center at the very back of the lot (of course!) and is overgrown with strawberries (woo hoo!) and weeds (meh).  I have two pear trees near the back door and one red delicious apple tree back by the garden.  This yard floods right up by the back door in heavy rains (this is the low point for most of the block), and one of the pear trees may have root rot from occasionally being in standing water.

I plan to post a sketch of my yard and brainstorm ideas here, and I would love love love any feedback you guys have.

I do have to keep in mind that this is a rental property, and while my landlord is pretty open to my doing some landscaping and would love to see me re-claim the garden, I need to plan for my eventual departure and expect the future tenant to not be as go-hung about intensively managing a system I might implement.  And it has to look pretty, both for me and so my landlord doesn't freak out.

My first thoughts are: how do I deal with the water problem?  Rain gardens?  Terracing?  Swales and ditches? 
 
Briggs Burnham
Posts: 24
Location: Fairfield, IA
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This is my quick sketch of our property.  The cross hatched area by the back door is the place that floods. 

I wonder if a long rain garden along the north side of the house would be a good start...
Base Map Sketch.jpg
[Thumbnail for Base Map Sketch.jpg]
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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I would do a bunch of shrubs in containers - blueberry and goji come to mind.  That way you can take them with you when you go.
 
Marla Kacey
Posts: 127
Location: Wyoming Zone 4
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Congrats on the new place!

Water up against the foundation (concrete?) could cause some serious damage.  I've got a couple of ideas, but am anxious to hear from some of the experts (I ain't one of them).

You could plant water loving plants outside the backdoor.

Or you could build up the dirt near the backdoor, perhaps with dirt from further out in the yard (maybe a future mini wetland? or even a pond?)

Either way, you really need to get that water away from the foundation IMHO.

 
Briggs Burnham
Posts: 24
Location: Fairfield, IA
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Actually, water doesn't get close enough to the foundation (that we can see).  The landlord has sloped the land away from the house pretty well, and while water does come up to the back steps, this is a good 4' away from the house.  Sorry, my sketch isn't entirely accurate.

Another thing: both the down spouts point into the back yard.  I could set up a rain barrel on either pretty easily.  At least that would let me use the water on the garden rather than 'wasting' it all in this puddle.
 
Hugh Hawk
Posts: 225
Location: Adelaide, South Australia (Mediterranean climate)
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A few photos might help to get a better idea of the space.
 
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