After I measured out how much space we have to work with in our yard, it was time to figure out my priorities of what I wanted to plant, and then experiment with placement.
My priorities are:
- Building more raised beds for all-purpose growing
- Planting fruit trees and other fruit-bearing plants
The raised beds are easy because we can put them almost anywhere that receives full sun. The fruit trees, bushes and vines are a little more challenging because a) they’re fairly permanent and b) can take up a relatively large amount of space. Even dwarf trees need about 6 feet of growing space. And if I don’t plant them in the right place they can end up shading plants around them. It gets complicated.
To start experimenting with placement, I broke out the graph paper and cut out shapes of the beds and plants I wanted to put in in roughly the same scale as the map we developed of our lot. At that point it was easy to just move them around and see what I liked best.
Front yard photo: Apple trees closest to the house, edged with something pretty like lavender. Stepping stones to either side of the house. Sidewalk lined with miniature trees (like the mini peach trees I just ordered from Stark Bros.). Stones along the front border of the yard, interplanted with something pretty to make the raised beds in the front less stark. And then something unknown in the middle of the yard.
Backyard photo: green = existing raised beds, purple = existing grape vines. Grey = existing garage that will eventually be taken down. Behind the grape vines is a native plants garden for attracting pollinators. Squares on left are composting area, then rows of new raised beds. Coming off the back of the house is a small addition, two-tiered deck/outdoor kitchen with hardi kiwi growing over the top as an arbor.
I think the backyard is more or less finalized. We plan to use it as our production powerhouse, so I’m not very concerned with its landscaping appeal. We just need to maximize space.
But I’m still very iffy on the front yard. I like the beds and stone along the front border of the front yard, and I think putting the apple trees closest to the house makes sense for space usage, but I need to verify that they would still receive adequate sun. I really don’t know what to do with the middle of the front yard, though.
Either way, we don’t plan to do much with the front yard this year. We plan to build another bed in the backyard this year, but the front yard will wait.