Hi Lori. Just ran across this thread. It sounds like you’re doing great, and in circumstances not that dissimilar than mine. Small lot (1/3 acre), old house, worry of lead, Japanese maple....
I’m in the Lehigh Valley. You? So far, I’m pretty lucky that our neighborhood has a pretty strong live-and-let-live approach to things. People seem pretty impressed by my growing edibles in my front yard, the only place we get any significant sun. We are doing our best to keep them attractive. I’d love to see some pictures of your work! I’ll see if I can find a couple of mine.
If you haven’t run across it, I recommend Amy Stross’s book and blog, Tenth Acre Farm. She’s active on permies.
Lori thank for the update and bumping your thread. Wow, 16 fruittrees? I'd love to see your layout. I keep trying to figure out how to get more trees on my tiny property (I have about 9 now) without crowding or too much shade.
It's strange to me that you have problems with your township. I figured me living in a pretty urban area of California we'd have community problems, but the wilder my front yard gets, the more compliments I get from the neighbors!
The thread didn’t get any love, but it’s a good illustration of my approach.
Daniel, great pictures! I'll try to bump your thread when I get a chance to find pictures, I'd love to see more pictures of urban/suburban yards. I'm always so confused aout what to put where to maximize what I can do with my space. I have such incredible porch envy!!!
Thank you so much for the book rec, Daniel!! I'm more south of you and at least in this area, the township can be pretty harsh with certain issues, and seemingly a bit arbitrary or unfair. There's no real way to challenge them about certain things and I won't say more as this is a public forum--details wouldn't be good to post. And anyway I don't know everything, so perhaps most residents are perfectly happy with the township's actions in certain ways.
I might be able to share some pictures but they won't be as pretty as what you guys are posting, especially in this season.
Kali - from what I see online and read about, it seems like certain places have a very different view about growing food than others, and messy landscaping, etc. My impression is that California is a very live-and-let-live in many areas when it comes to food, wild areas, etc. Maybe that's because of people who have come before, or a different culture / attitude, etc. I couldn't say for sure.
Though PA is still pretty heavily forested, something like 58%, and we have the highest rural population out of any state just because there's so much area that counts as rural and so many people that live here all told (unless that's changed recently), it seems to me there's a pretty strict lawn culture both in the law and in people's minds. I've never cared about having a neat lawn, I'd rather grow lots of wild things and trees and "weeds" (pollinator food), etc. But it appears I have to comply more than I was complying. I do hope to see changes in the way people view landscapes and stop seeing monoculture lawns as the be all and end all of Good Home Ownership, and Not Being Poor/Lazy.
Frankly I think some folks don't realize how good we have it. This is a great climate even with everything that's been going on in the world. We don't have a lot of forest fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, or terrible droughts. It's just kind of a nice climate. Lots of people are moving into this area lately, and there's so much building going on. It worries me that the roads aren't being maintained to the level they're being used, but there's hope that will improve. Most of all, I hope we don't see the massive deforestation that could easily change all the good things about this area. Deforested places get terrible droughts and floods a lot faster (there's science to it but basically, trees are awesome). And the earthquakes could get here, too, if the fracking spreads. Anyway right now, there are certainly issues in PA, but it's still a really beautiful place to live, and I feel fortunate to be here.
I would really like to see a bigger organic and local movement, and less of a lawn culture, fairer local governance, etc. But once again, I think there are good signs this could be happening.
Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association