Project John Bank

Custom Landscaping Design for an Organic Edible Garden

I have completed my first complete design.  Check out the details below.

Thought I’d share my progress so far. This will be my project for the certification. It’s a suburban lot that is just under 6000 square feet or just over 550 square meters.
This site created some challenges, as the clients are in their late 60s and travel out of state about every 3 months for a couple weeks at a time. The lady required all her flower gardens stay in place and the man required little maintenance for the garden. Other challenges included solar aspect as the yard is so small and tall neighboring trees will block some light. Fortunately, since they are only at 30 degrees latitude, partial shade is not a problem and could actually be beneficial during summer time.
She also wanted a water feature but he was frustrated with their old pond (very small – maybe 50 gallons) that had leaked over the past few years and he was ready to remove it. I was able to save the pond (although it will have to be redone) by installing an herb spiral just to the north of the pond and using the pond as the base of the spiral. The pond will no longer feature a waterfall but we are negotiating a small creek like feature if he will go for it, otherwise, it will just be a natural pond at the base of the spiral. She agreed to give up the waterfall feature if he was able to remove the center island flower bed and install a banana circle so that has been planned.
Just to the south of the driveway, which is all grass at the moment will be planted out with productive trees, herbs and pretty support species that draw in beneficial insects and provide nitrogen fixation as well as provide the system’s own mulch. This system will provide shade to the driveway as well, which is a definite benefit with the extreme heat here in Southeast Texas.
Moving along to the front yard, most will stay intact as is with her flower beds and grass. I have added a parking strip garden with a Persian Silk Tree to provide shade, beauty and nitrogen fixation to that area. Under the tree will be planted out with pretty chard and other ornamental edibles that are drought resistant. Behind that, in the center of the front yard, behind the grass and in front of part of the flower garden will be another fruit tree guild centered with avocado and surrounded by companions.
Moving along to the backyard, her flower gardens will line the fence to the right until they meet the very backside that is hidden from view from the patio and kitchen and bedroom window. To the left when you enter the gate will be a mushroom log production area that has a ground covering of alpine strawberries, both of which are shade-loving and are on the north side of the house, with a pine tree overhead.
Behind the shed is a sweet potato area that will be out of site but a good source of shade-loving greens as well as the tasty tubers.
Along the back of the fence, which is on the northwest side so has the southern solar aspect will be planted with many varieties of espaliered fruit trees. These will be the backdrop to her flower gardens which will provide beauty and nutrient-dense fruit.
Behind the house completely is 2 rows of keyhole gardens to maximize space and another small path to access ginger and other herbs grown along the side of the house since that is mostly shaded as well.
There is a 4-foot strip between the south side of the house and the wooden fence that is mostly shaded due to the house, fence and neighbor’s trees. This will be planted in shade-loving medicinal trees inside the fence and a strip of comfrey for mulch and medicine outside the fence.
We also have 3-330 gallon IBC totes to catch rainwater for use during our normally dry summers. Solar has been installed on a southwestern facing rooftop but the client is unsure whether he wants grid tie or independent. I suggested grid tie since we have very hot, humid summers and AC is a must if the house is not built with passive cooling in mind.
The man is ok with chickens, but the lady is not quite ok with it yet. That may be implemented in the future.
So far, I think that’s it. Noise and fire sectors have not been used due to the neighborhood type lot of this site and since the land is flat the fire could come from any direction and so does noise. Fire is not a big threat in this area anyway.