Main design principles
Our vision was an edible garden for learning, working and being in.
Our back garden is our zone zero/one: keeping the door open to the back garden as much as possible we aim to make the garden and outdoors part of our zone zero.
The back garden design
We decided to plant an edible garden with a tree layer, a shrub layer, vegetable layer, ground cover layer and climbers to create a natural and healthy environment for the soil, the plants, animals and ourselves as well as providing a high food yield of foods we consume a lot of (ie greens and herbs for tea) and/or are expensive to buy (greens in winter and fruit).
The top soil was not deep and underneath that we had compacted clay, so we mulched the newly created beds, with a layer of cardboard, compost from the community compost area, some horse manure from the local biodynamic farm. We also chose made sure we had nitrogen fixing plants dotted all over the garden.
We decided to plant unusual perennial plants for diversity, low maintenance and learning.
We planted a pear tree as we love pears and there are none available for picking in the community.
We all had an interest in bees and wanted to plant plants for bees in support and honour of the bees.
We aimed to make use of most of the space as a growing space with a small area for sitting as there are bigger spaces for the children to play in the community.
We designed the boundaries as follows: towards the car park, privacy was important to us, so we decided on a low fence and trellis for growing, with shade loving plants on our side of the fence and sun loving plants to reach over the fence towards the south. We mixed evergreens with fruit yields. Towards our neighbour, we put up a trellis for making use of the south facing aspect towards the neighbour without blocking her sunlight. Towards the west, we kept the elder, the two buddleias (because the neighbours wanted to) and the roses, took out the ash tree and planted an edible hedge of rugosa rose and cherry plum, together with some blackberries and tayberries.
The garden was quite steeply sloped towards the west so we decided to put in terraces to build soil and prevent moisture and nutrient loss.
We created flow with curved paths and stepping stones, the concrete paving slabs take up from the garden, to allow access to the beds.
Our friendly neighbour, who cares for the herb garden, gave us some herbs and wild strawberries from the herb garden.
We aim to use the nearby greenhouse for seedlings and all-year round production – see my Greenhouse Design.