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How to do Urban Permaculture Design in a visually pleasing and inviting manner.

 
Marty Mitchell
Posts: 316
Location: Chesapeake, Virginia
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I am wanting to create an environment on my .36 acre lot that is going to be both permaculture And visually aesthetic.

I want my yard be very homely and inviting to draw family and visitors out into the yard to explore. I want to increase my property value and make it easier to sell(I am in the military and have to move every four years). I also want to inspire others to be enthusiastic about permaculture and to Want it. If you can have your yard leaving others wanting... they will typically copy tad bits here and there and integrate it into their lives. I am betting that before you know it... just like pools are usually throughout a neighborhood... you will find permaculture being part of our culture itself.

We could find ourselves having real community.

I ultimately found this website... and permaculture... through trying to find a way to increase the quality of life for my family. I originally just wanted a tiny garden to teach the kids some things and get them interested in nature and all of it's awesomeness. Now I am finding myself hoping I can hold onto this home forever... being much calmer and happier in life... and spending hours every day reading up on sites like this to expand my knowledge on this subject.



Here is what I am going to attempt to do with my yard. I am not doing "Zones". Everything is close to my house. No matter which way you look. Instead, I am using the architecture of the different things I am planting to actually make my yard feel larger. I aim to hide my fence line and steal the views of the large oaks and such beyond. I aim to create small "rooms" with the plantings and tidy the pathways that interconnect them. There will hopefully always be something within view to always draw the explorer to the next room. There will be guilds here and there throughout my landscape... as well as hidden gardens.

Since I cannot plant 20 support trees for each of my fruit trees... I will be simply starting out with a large inoculated mulch ring around each new planting. I will plant edibles and flowers mixed together in a seemingly organized hodgepodge. Not to forget the companion support plants.

I want the design to be in a way that keeps the optimal sunlight on the right plants throughout the years.

I get good rain here where I live. I do have a 3ft deep hardpan of clay on top of awesome topsoil. They laid the clay down when they built the neighborhood. So to give the water a chance to seep in without altering the landscape... I simply have started adding 4inch deep trenches near my plantings and it(the micro swale) becomes a simple border that doubles to keep the grass from creeping into the mulch.

I hope to even have my front yard to have some "rooms" with food. I currently have a few almonds planted and put in some Siberian Squill under plantings. Hoping that they will bloom at the same time. Imagine trees filled with pink and white flowers... with a sea of blue flowers underneath in early spring every year. Seems inviting in my mind. We will see if that one works out. lol

Here is a link to the set of videos that inspired me to set my yard up like this. Season 2 Episode 1(two parts) is the important one. I liked them all though...
 
casey lem
Posts: 30
Location: under a foil hat
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Love what you're doing, but a four year time frame really puts you in a crunch. We use raised beds bordered w/ scrap logs that visually lead up the front sidewalk to our door. It kind of guides the gaze of passers by though the gardens to the house. After being told by a neighbor while breaking ground that the neighborhood would "shut me down" if I grew corn in front I changed strategies. Now use perennial plants at ground level paired w/ taller edibles or pollinator attractors. Think strawberries, ground cherry, and asparagus under sunflower, bunched up pearl millet, and cosmos. It creates a sort of prairie leading to the front door. Left to their own devices, a lot of the annuals will self seed and provide a harvest w/ minimal care. And no neighbors have sent in the city w/ a bulldozer yet after 3 years.
 
Charles Tarnard
Posts: 337
Location: PDX Zone 8b 1/6th acre
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Last season I built a framed hugelbed in my front yard and planted it with a bunch of perennials. It looked very nice when everything had grown, but was a bit of a monolith in my front yard. After digging a French drain/pathway I have built a number of raised mounds that are (in my opinion) contouring very nicely with the hugel and other aspects of my yard. I'm going to interplant corn with other tall monstrosities like quinoa, amaranth, and sunflowers to see if it can blend into a landscape rather than be the landscape as is usually the case with corn rows. I expect it to look very lovely in spring and summer, but in fall I'm going to have some work tearing stuff down and cover cropping.

I'll post pics in the garden thread if it's amazing. I'll ask bewildered questions if it is not .

Good luck OP.
 
Cortland Satsuma
Posts: 319
Location: (Zone 7-8/Elv. 350) Powhatan, VA (Sloped Forests & Meadow)
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Your plan sounds great! I do agree that 4 years is not much time to grow your garden equity. If you draw up an ornamentals layout that would look great for the dynamics of your property; you can then substitute the ornamentals with fast growing companion plants. Adding garden veggies and herbs scattered throughout; so as to not leave a "hole" after harvest. Just be careful to avoid creating frost pockets and wind disturbance areas. Enjoy!
 
Marty Mitchell
Posts: 316
Location: Chesapeake, Virginia
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I agree. Just having four years is daunting to me. If I do have to sell and move away then maybe someone else will fall in love with permaculture and not even know it. lol

I am betting that with the whole healthy eating movement that is going on right now... that if this is done right it can not only make your place easier to sell in a tough environment; but also raise the value a little.

I have only been focusing on several small 4x6 raised beds in the back for my annuals. That was the first thing I did. Then I planted several almonds, peaches, Asian pears, apples, blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries, lemon, several grapes, figs, mulberries, hostas, ostrich ferns, sun chokes, daylilies, purple cone flowers, Shasta daisies, black-eye susans, chives, garlic chives, rosemary, oregano, strawberries, and... well... I have been busy. I am just now starting to interplant my annuals around my perennials. I wanted to get the perennials going as much as possible. I have an established mimosa tree that I want to under plant with passion fruit since it is only dappled shade. Sooooo many more things to do. Just got lots of comfrey seeds to germinate and plant around the perennials. Even top seeded the entire yard with inoculated white Dutch clover seeds. That is just now starting to show up good this year.

On a plus side... after this tour is up... I will only have 5 years left until retirement. Also, the in-laws live down the road so I have a great excuse to keep the house. If I can extend for an extra year that would be great. If I can change to another unit within the same base that would be Awesome.

My neighbor either currently do... or used to have gardens. So I am scheming ways to introduce them to permaculture. Several cloned boysenberry plants already in pots and ready for free delivery later this Spring. lol

I want to see if I can get cilantro/coriander to naturalize in the yard. That is the single best insect attractant I have seen so far when in bloom.

 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Marty - what you describe is very similar to the "potager" gardens that originated in France, where fruits, veggies, herbs and flowers are all mixed into an eye-catching, edible, landscape. Here are a few pictures:





 
Marty Mitchell
Posts: 316
Location: Chesapeake, Virginia
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I think that any of those "flower beds" would look great coming out from the understory of a fruit tree.

Another bonus of having the outdoor rooms is it creates sooo much more of the edge effect everyone keeps talking about. Since most life tends to stack at the borders between two different environments.
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