Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Yard Plans

I say this hesitantly, but here are our final plans for what the yard is going to look like. Inevitably they'll change somewhat, but it'll be something like this:

You might want to click on it so you can read the key in the full size version. I've expanded the main sections below though so you can see a bit more of the detail.

So basically, the house and main courtyard (top left) are drawn in the plan as they are now. There are a few little tweaks planned here, but these are pretty much as they'll remain.

What I've been referring to as 'the yard' is... if you look for the roughly 'r' shaped dark boundary line through and over the vegetable garden (below), everything to the right of the vertical part of this 'r' shape and also everything south (=down) of the house is 'the yard'. The strip to the left of the dark line and bordering the right side of the house is our current back garden, but even this is simply a couple of feet (60cm ish) of top soil laid over the top of concrete. So most of the area to the right and south of the house is covered in concrete. We've a little strip along our east (right hand) boundary, in front of the hedge, that has actual soil on it and then broader strips of soil/rubble all along the southern and south-eastern boundaries.

The vegetable beds (orange) that we currently have are just those in the strip to the left of the vegetable garden, nearest the house, + 3 additional beds in the yard. As you can see from the image above, we'll be creating many more when the concrete comes up and these will be planted with a mix of annual and perennial veg. The ground level for these beds will drop down a couple of steps from the level of the lawn garden (the dark boundary edge is the perimeter of this terracing effect), which will leave us with some lovely south and east facing banks to absorb warmth from the sun and help to create a nice little micro climate for our vegetables.

The main forest garden is the patch immediately south from the vegetable garden. The green spots here in the plan will be fruit trees and bushes, with a few shade loving perennial veg scattered around. The trees will help to shelter the vegetable patch from the wind, which currently rushes up the site from the hills to our south.

I've created a bit of a horseshoe shaped southern edge to this dense area of forest garden to maximise the boundary length. This boundary will be a really good zone for growing plants that prefer a good dose of sunlight, so I'm keen to keep it as long as possible. The area in front of the forest garden (south) is going to make a lovely sheltered spot for having picnics and I've been careful to arrange trees to the south of this spot so they don't block the wonderful view.

The next section - south from the main forest garden, but north of the terraces on our southern edge - is going to be more forest garden, but this time made up of loosely planted fruit trees. The understorey here will by my cosmetic herbs. These will be nice and easily accessible from my office and workshop (yet to be built), from which I'll make my lotions and potions and will manage the business.

On the southern edge of the office/workshop, we're going to build a lean-to greenhouse. In here we'll grow lemon trees, melons, sweet peppers and tomatoes. It'll have a fantastic view of our surrounding hills and our local nature reserve and will make a wonderful venue from which to run courses in making natural beauty products.

Right at the bottom of our site, we're going to create two terraces, which will contain ponds and coppice hazel and will be bordered by a native hedge. The hedge will act as the first line of defense against the wind and then the hazel and scattered trees behind them will help break it up some more before it reaches the denser forest garden behind this. Hopefully by the time it reaches our lawn right at the top of the site, it will be no more than the gentlest little breeze.

We're going to set up a little camp on these terraces, in the same spot as our existing camp fire area and again, I've been careful to arrange trees so that they don't block the lovely view from this point (the exact spot is marked with a little V in a circle to the right of the image above). Sitting with the stepped terrace behind you, this spot will become a really secluded and private area. These terraces will make a great place for volunteers to pitch up tents if we were to have weekend workdays in future.


  1. Looks beautiful. Great plan.

  2. That is really inspirational, the amount of thought that you have put in to it all shines through, as does your vision. I am really looking forward to seeing your dreams start to take shape. I particularly admire the way you are managing the prevailing wind and maintaining views in key areas.

  3. This is so well thought out. I think you will truly enjoy it once it is done.



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