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Suggestions for unfinished portions of our yard

 
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I need suggestions for what to do with the unfinished portions of our yard.

We had our small (900sq ft) home built 3 years ago and have made great progress on the property so far. Unfortunately I've become indecisive to the point of not being able to move forward. Part of the problem is inexperience and the other part is lack of any topsoil on the unfinished parts as well as a sloped backyard. The side yard is 4 inches deep in wood chips that haven't decomposed yet.

The only grass is in the front yard on top of the septic field and I don't want any more. The flower garden is not yet out in, it will be on top of our dug well. The property is .8 acres.

The dark green circles are evergreen trees bordering the property for privacy, the black is two very large outcroppings of bedrock.

I'm not looking to add animals at this time due to my poor but slowly improving health. I'm not interested in adding any more fencing, so the additions need to be able to survive all manner of wildlife. I've seen snowshoe hare, raccoons, deer, coyotes, bear, and lynx so far. The hare are the heaviest pest pressure, there is a family nesting here.

I'm in Canada zone 5b.
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The veg garden for reference
The veg garden for reference
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gardener
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Location: Zone 6 in the Pacific Northwest
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Do you want ideas for perennials? A food forest? Your annual veggie garden looks good.  

As much as I like daydream designing other people's properties, if you give a little more idea about what you want and what your goals are, I think we will be better able to help you. Or do you just have absolutely no clue what you want?  

Here's some ideas of goals you might have that would influence your design:
-save $ on groceries
-create habitat for animals
-reproduce local native ecosystem
-have a place to relax
-have a place to entertain
-grow food for other people (donate or sell)
-grow nursery stock for other people (donate or sell)
-educate others (by invitation or by passerby's casually observing)
-grow food with the least amount of work
-grow food for x amount of people for x amount of time

Also what kind of plants do you enjoy for whatever reason or plants you absolutely hate? And how much money and time do you have to spend?
 
Rose Wood
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Thank you for your rely!

My goals would be:

1. To grow most everything I eat - Looking at what I currently eat, is mostly annuals, chicken, and pork. I have a lot of food intolerances so I don't plan on growing anything I don't currently eat. The side yard is about the only suitable place to expand my annual production but fencing it is not really an option in my mind due to cost, looks, effort required (my partner ended up going to physio after building the last fence thanks to the copious amount of large boulders that had to be moved to put in ground stakes for the posts). I don't see much point in animals unless I could grow most of their feed.

2. Keep the side and front yard "pretty" - the front yard is finished and has a septic field so nothing more can be added here. If I were to grow anything "ugly" like potatoes in the side yard I would want some sort of border between the driveway.

3. No additional mowing - the front yard was seeded in a no mow mixture but grass moved in and ruined that plan. The side and back yards need to be no mow.

4. Finish the backyard - it's bare fill brought in by dump truck and tall weeds and wild raspberry are beginning to take over.

To mention a few of your suggested goals -
We don't entertain and we don't have children. We relax in the front yard setting area with firepit thanks to the thick tree cover between us and the road. Money is limited but my time is not, his time is very limited come summer/fall. I'm happy to slowly make additions as money allows. We are deeply private people so there wont be too many others on the property. If I could grow something to sell to supplement what I cant grow that would be a lovely bonus. We are surrounded by plenty of wild habitat so we don't plan to add more. Plants I hate - anything that smells bad (looking at you spirea and boxwood) and I have an irrational hate for calendula and marigolds.
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Rose said,  I've seen snowshoe hare, raccoons, deer, coyotes, bear, and lynx so far.



Other than the hare, deer, and bear I doubt the raccoon or lynx will be a problem.  At least I have never had a problem with raccoons or lynx.

I like to plant french marigolds to help deter unwanted animals and pests.  I plant these at the corners of the annual veggie gardens and also among the veggies.

Since you have a lot of food intolerances, I don't want to mention anything in particular.  I would suggest looking into some perennial veggies:

https://permies.com/f/384/perennial-vegetables

If I were to grow anything "ugly" like potatoes in the side yard I would want some sort of border between the driveway.



I have never thought of potatoes as ugly though if you can tolerate sweet potatoes those are pretty.

Have you started the flower patch or are you in the planning stage?  I would recommend having some pollinator-friendly flowers nearer to the veggie beds.

"All things flowers! Plant breeding, adding beauty and fragrance to the landscape, attracting pollinators and other beneficial insects, repelling pests, and also they're just so purty!"

https://permies.com/f/379/flowers

Best wishes for growing all those veggies and for your yard.
 
Rose Wood
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Anne Miller, thanks for the reply!

Regarding the lynx and raccoon, I only see them being a problem if in a few years my energy levels improve to allow my to keep chickens.

Ugly is probably not the best word to describe potatoes. I suppose what I was getting at is that bare soil 8 months out of the years when not growing potatoes in this cold climate is not what I'm looking to see when I pull in the driveway. I'd rather keep those in the back.

The flower garden is just a plan for next year at this stage. I do have pollinator friendly flowers near the annuals now. Lower maintenance perennial flowers like roses and peonies are the plan for now.
 
pollinator
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I would add something that invites you to spend time outside. A seating area, a table, a hammock, and outdoor cooking area. The more you are outside, the more you will notice what needs attention.
 
pollinator
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I’m not clear on which area is the “side yard,” do you mean the strip between house and driveway? Or on the far side of driveway?

Between house and driveway, maybe some low-maintenance fruit bushes like currants or blueberries ( if you have acid soil for blueberries).  Or rhubarb, which is pretty and edible. Since it’s near the house, maybe motion-sensor light/sprinkler would keep deer away.

 
Jenny Wright
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What are you intolerant to? I don't want to suggest things you can't eat. Are berries an issue?

You said you mostly eat annuals and want to grow most of what you eat. Would you be interested in growing perennial edibles? I find that I like to try new fruits and now I eat things I never tasted before I had land to grow on since they aren't things you find in the grocery store. If you are interested in perennials, if you pick the right stuff for your locale, things can be very low maintenance once they are established. You should grow things in their own rootstocks and protect them with a simple loop of chicken wire to keep the deer from completely eating it to the ground.

An easy, low cost experiment you can do is to stick the seeds of any fruit you eat in a pot outside or a corner of one of your beds. Anything that sprouts and survives a year will be a good candidate for planting out in your backyard. Expect less success with this method of you are eating fruit shipped from the south and more success if you are eating something locally grown.
 
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