Our house is situated on about 1/3 of an acre, with a large double lot to the east and a smaller single lot on the west side of the house.
Here’s our house! This is looking south, so the East double lot is on the left side, the West lot is on the right of the photo.
Some before photos of the West lot:
West lot, looking southwest
From the back of the West lot, looking North over some weeds.
Back of the West lot, by the garage and shed, looking south to the alley. This is where we had planned to build a new chicken enclosure.
The first thing we did in our new yard? Start an orchard in the West lot. There was already a 3-4 year-old peach tree over there, and we wanted to add to it. We ordered the trees online soon after we moved in last September, but they weren’t delivered until November. So we planted our trees right before Thanksgiving 2013. Two plum, two cherry, three apple, and one peach tree to go along with the one already there.
We worried that the trees wouldn’t make it through the worst winter we’d seen in a long time. Come spring, though, we started to see some signs of life.
The peach tree we inherited.
We got enough peaches to eat fresh, share with friends and family, and make 3 pies. Not bad for our first year!
The second thing we had planned was to build a new chicken coop and enclosure. Sallie was nice enough to keep the chickens in her yard after we moved out. We wanted to build a new home for them but ran out of time before it got too cold and the ground froze. So we moved them into our yard using the same chain link pen and dog-house-turned-chicken-coop set up, seen wrapped in the green tarp in the photo below.
Mother, Yolko, and Chica
Here’s a view of the West lot from the front as of today (our house is on the left). The trees up front are plum.
We worked the soil and replanted the old, overgrown garden plot with lettuce, salad mixes, Red Russian kale, lacinato kale, and romanesco.
Surprise lilies next to the house.
We’ve also found several nice patches of medicinal, native yarrow growing wild in the yard, lucky us! (Yes, Rosco loves to be in photos!)
Our plan for the rest of the yard: more food production. We’ve got big plans for the future, including a food forest, outdoor kitchen, and a water feature.
We leaned our mushroom logs against the North side of the garage and got some shiitakes this spring. We also have lots of herbs in pots until we find the right spots for them.
Our future berry patch, also housed in pots for now until we find the right spot! Elderberry, raspberry, and blackberry.
We’re planning to till up and farm a large section of the east lot, but for now it’s mostly lawn. We got rid of the dead yews and started a small garden in the back for this year.
View of the East lot, with Maggie and her beloved frisbee.
The new garden space in the back.
We planted some of our extra tomato plants.
Black bean teepee trellis
A baby wild gourd
More wild gourds. It’s been really interesting to see the differences in this second generation. Some are much darker and even striped!
Sweet potato patch.
We are also growing pumpkins, watermelon, zucchini, bush beans, pole beans, and basil in the back.
The rest of the East lot is mostly grass, though Eric did decide to build a brick pizza oven on a random brick pillar that was already in the middle of the yard.
New pizza oven in action
We landscaped around the side and front of the house a little more formally, but didn’t lose our sights on edibility.
We transplanted feverfew, mint, oregano, asparagus, sage, thyme, echinacea, azaleas, and a blue cedar tree (the calla lilies were already there).
There are two patches along the front steps down to the sidewalk that we dug up and replanted as well. We transplanted some yarrow we had grown at Amy’s last year, as well as some bibb lettuce, curly kale, and a few wild gourd plants. There was already a weird rose tree there.
Wild gourd growing on our front fence.
More wild gourds!
A volunteer pumpkin took over one of the little plots. Again, lucky us!