I think that property values all depend on who is looking at it. For me, having a food forest would absolutely increase the property value. For someone who thinks that growing their own food is for the lower classes, it will probably not.
Over the last two years, I have worked hard with my landlord to not spray the weeds in the yard, so that my chickens can eat them, and to improve one small chunk of soil for a vegetable garden. I have every expectation that the day I move out, he will be in here with the chemicals to undue all of the soil building I have done.
I think the only reason I was able to convince my landlord to stop spraying is that there are few renters in my town and I am paying more than market value for the space. If the $$ every month were not so valuable to him, he probably would not have changed anything based on my suggestions.
In your case, perhaps you could start small with a small space and share the produce with the landlord. Most people will get excited about working with you when they have perfect, free tomatoes or spinach on their plate.
We have lawn around our home which is green and lovely and full of clover and other volunteers. It's been mowed tall and is never watered or fertilized. It takes a lot of foot traffic. In dry Augusts parts of it turn brown.
A mature food forest may not be much work except for the harvest, which is significant. Fruit and nuts raining down can be a problem if nobody has time to gather them!
Putting in a new food forest is an investment of time and money. If you are planning to stay there long term, like decades, food forest is good. If not, your best bet might be in convincing him to shrink the lawn by putting fruit bushes that birds or people will both enjoy at the edges of the lawn. Certainly share the lawn care article. Less toxic gick and less work makes for a better lawn!
For many lawn lovers a lawn is mostly aesthetic and putting in the work on gas mowers, leaf blowers, edgers, string trimmers, weed and feed etc is seen as a civic duty and a way to show politically correctness.
A developing food forest is primarily concerned with establishing the elements so they will function together, so it's appearance may be messy. (Not politically correct)
While trees in General can effect property value, for a majority of buyers fruit trees are seen as messy, a lot of work, and not as pretty, so it seems like land owners want to put in one shade tree and some monkey grass. If you cannot convince your landlord about a whole forest, maybe you could settle for establishing a few specific trees with perennials under them and then have a separate garden in a raised bed or something.
On my rented property I have planted some small fruit trees that I intend to take with me if I leave. But there are some free ornamental trees that I will establish and leave behind, when my land lady sees redbuds and dogwoods lining the street she will be very impressed. Perhaps you could work with your landlord in a similar way, offer to plant some free trees and gain their trust in your horticulture skill and just expand from there.
I know any type of garden over lawn is hard sale in this area.
I mean who ever heard of actually um, growing food?
Why have food when you can have something that is a drain on resources, and most folks even yell at ya when ya walk on it? Something that uses 2/3 more water then then the conventional vegetable garden(even more then a food forest), looks exactly like your neighbor's and is basically a big suck on our planet.
I mean, why would anyone want to do that?
Sorry my favorite pet peeve!
I am not completely against lawns. I like to have a summer party as much as the next guy, play frisbee, chase the dog or rol around in the grass with someone, but damn folks priorities are messed up.
You can make it sexy and productive. A food forest can be any look and size. Check this espalier fruit fence with full understory and fanned gooseberries with strawberry ground cover. Choose beautiful specimens like the Dragon's Claw Jujube or Trifoliate Orange understoried with rhubarb, comfrey and salvias. Mix in an herb spiral between islands of tree patches. All these will give you full season beauty and put together will make a stunning front yard that could only raise the sale price - or rent!
I would not talk with the landlord about something exotic like food forest. Talk about fruit trees surrounded by some herbs.
Then you plant some fruit trees and around every tree you plant a herb and flower bed. This can increase in size over time.
Someone who uses chemicals on the lawn is not ready for a hippie garden!
Michael Judd wrote:You can make it sexy and productive. A food forest can be any look and size.
That's for sure! Beautiful example.
I didn't mean to be promoting lawn, I find obsession with green manicured grass to be one of the more annoying and bizarre things about the culture I live in. My elevator speech on grass that I give to wwoofers and workshops goes something like: "You know how the imperitive for most creatures on earth is to reproduce? Grass wants to have seeds like anyone else. Mowing it constantly is like a symbol of sexual frustration."
Lawn is a tiny fraction of our property. You can make it sexy and productive! "How can I convince my landlord to put in a food forest?" and "How can I convince my landlord to let me put in a food forest" are different questions. At least you could help move him toward better lawn care, at best you could plant a beautiful thriving edible landscape that will last for a long long time.