Thank you very much Rob for the suggestions, your situation sounds virtually identical to mine, cheap fill then clay and about the same size of lot. I am very tempted to push things a little more towards the aquaponics route especially because we've been wanting to do that but had been looking more at ibc and barrel methods. Was there anything special you did to seal up the pond for the aquaponics? Most of the things I found online refer to using bentonite and cut plant matter to seal the pond sides. About what size did your pond end up being and what did you do with the excess dirt? What we havedoes decently for planting in but not spectacularly but I had considered using them to berm up the sides. How did you setup the beds you converted to aquaponic grow bed? Most things I have seen suggest using some kind of plastic or pond liner or just put them into bins of some sort. We were trying to establish a small food forest in our backyard (a food glen maybe?) and have really had decent success given its a first year garden. We were wanting to do fruit trees but I have seen some references to people growing trees in aquaponic systems so I don't think that is a good reason to avoid the aquaponics. Our current plan is to do perennials around the border, mainly a mix of blackberry, elderberry, globe artichoke and asparagus. The main issue is we do not intend for this to be a permanent property so we want to use it as a test bed but we can't do anything too crazy that would lower the perceived value too much.
Cristo, we have native red and white clovers and I have tried to get them to establish themselves and start working their nitrogen fixing magic, though really this just means I do my best not to shovel them. I have found that clover is one of the best weed suppressors in our yard, so much so that they sometimes even suppress established dandelions.