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The Backyard Permaculture Garden

Updated on February 10, 2010

backyard permaculture

It is time.  It is time to convert the big backyard into an urban permaculture garden. We moved into this house at the end of last summer. Presently we are renting but are going to buy. The house has a big backyard and is ideal for a small scale urban farm.

My training in permaculture design and the consulting work I have done on community and private gardens can now be put to use creating a space for us and that is most exciting.

The site is big enough that I can put one of the three permaculture ethics into direct practice and share some space for a community garden. I have had a preliminary conversation with the local food bank about this and as the project evolves we will talk further.

The site will be established over a three year period, although a garden is never completed which is one of it s many attraction.

I am giving thought at present to including chickens in the mix; there is a shed at back which could house a chicken coop with a wired in run to the outside. My next step will be to find out if the city will permit this.

A container herb garden will be on the deck, right next to the kitchen door so I can just step outside and pick fresh herbs when needed.

The orchard, most likely dwarf apples trees will be in the corner that is farthest away from the house as this is the section of the site I am less likely to visit.  The placement of plants and other garden elements will be determined using the permaculture zone system.

Permaculture uses zones, which are defined by the frequency of use, i.e. how often would you go to that zone, daily, once a week, for example, to determine where the various elements, hen house, wood pile, fruit trees, herbs, etc. are placed. The more regular your visits, daily, the closer the zone will be to the house, in the case of an urban environment.

The community garden (shared space), the orchard and herbs will all be established the first year as will a cut-and-come-again garden (salad greens, which will eb just off the deck at the bottom of the steps so it will be as close to the kitchen as I can place it.

I am also considering a green house, possibly a kit greenhouse) in order to extend the growing season. The potential siting of this greenhouse is important and may be put somewhere between the shed and the house, but that is a decision I will make after the snow melts and I can more readily access the yard. Pathways will also need to be established for ease of movement between areas.

Perennial vegetables such as Jerusalem artichoke will be including in the end design. The site is all gravel so this is likely to be a raised bed and container garden and of course there will be an area were I can experiment with plants that I do not yet know.


Submit a Comment

  • LongTimeMother profile image


    5 years ago from Australia

    Hi Bob, We live off the grid and have solar power, vege gardens, orchard, greenhouse etc. Even chickens. Pretty much all the things you mention in your hub. I'm interested in reading your update. How is your backyard permaculture garden going? :)

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    8 years ago from New Brunswick

    I am still thinking about the chickens, one thing I am giving more thought to is a renewable energy source, thanks for dropping by.

  • Michael Shane profile image

    Michael Shane 

    8 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

    Great Hub! I am glad you did a hub on this topic. I have been considering doing the same thing to our backyard area. We tried the chicken thing and it didn't work out to well..The first day we got them home my wife let our Jack Russell out of the house while I was putting them in the pen, unfortunately, our dog spooked them and my rooster flew out in the woods and the hen flew in the trees next door. My neighbor down the road has a rescue dog shelter thing supposedly going on and yep, I heard the hen bite the dust. However, the rooster hung out in the woods for several months. When we would sit on the back deck in the evenings he would come around to eat & of course, I could hear him crow in the mornings until one day the crowing stopped. Needless to say, I give up on the chickens.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    8 years ago from New Brunswick

    I have read about that and it is a possibility for this site, thanks for dropping by.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    8 years ago from New Brunswick

  • cally2 profile image

    Paul Callaghan 

    8 years ago from Paraparaumu, New Zealand

    The other day I saw a greenhouse attached to the chicken shed. The heat from the chickens warmed the greenhouse during the winter for all those tender seedlings. Looked like a pretty good idea and in keeping with permaculture's principles of multiple use.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    8 years ago from New Brunswick

    The big job is negotiating a sale price with the property owner. All the best to you both and thanks for dropping by.

  • HubCrafter profile image


    8 years ago from Arizona

    Hi Bob:

    I'm looking forward to reading more about your new project as time goes by.

    We're in a property likely to be foreclosed on at any time, so we've restrained our normal gardening habits. Linda and I have taken up nail-biting, lol. JK.

    After 20 years of designing residential landscapes it's a bit of an odd feeling to not have one of our own. We're both looking forward to your project's ongoing changes. It will be a vicarious pleasure to read.


  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for dropping by.

  • Smireles profile image

    Sandra Mireles 

    8 years ago from Texas

    Thanks for this interesting hub. I am interested in doing something like this, too. Good read.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    8 years ago from New Brunswick

    I have a long way to go to reach that status, thanks for dropping by.

  • FavorsInTheCity profile image


    8 years ago

    Our very own Bill Mollison, you are Bob. Thanks for sharing!

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Mother Nature just is, you are welcome, and thanks for dropping by.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    8 years ago from London, UK

    A good planning supposed the perfect result of a good garden. I always plan and mother nature does the opposite. Thank you for a lovely read.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Youa re welcome and I will be posting a followup or two. Thaanks for dropping by.

  • Hmrjmr1 profile image


    8 years ago from Georgia, USA

    Very interesting Bob I will be looking to see how it comes out here on hubs, Thanks!


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