Lawn Remodeling the Edible Landscaping Way
by Karen Couch Brier
(Gardnerville, NV, US)
We live in Nevada and water is precious, but my guest house lawn was a sloping mess. Too much water and still the grass wouldn't grow.
First we cut the size of the yard and built a retaining wall of reclaimed railroad ties to level what was left. We put in rocks, gravel, sand, soil and finally topsoil. We packed it down and watered it for several days and then planted grass plugs and seed, covered it with hay and watered it.
While the grass was growing, we installed a white vinyl picket fence inside the retaining wall, leaving enough space for edible landscaping on three sides. The front side became the grape arbor with 4 big steel arbors moved from another area on our property. I planted 8 assorted grape vines and sunflowers in the arbors. There was still space left along the front, so I planted catmint, tomatoes, basil and leeks and framed it with timber to make a vegetable garden area. In the front corner nearest the driveway, I planted a dwarf cherry tree that is rated for zone 4. We are at 5000 feet elevation and technically zone 5 but often have micro-climate issues that kill off the zone 5 plants and trees. On the other two sides I planted thornless blackberry bushes dug up from a neighbors yard, along with alpine strawberries and a few flowers that like shade. Inside the yard, I've left space along one side of the fence for more edibles and will be putting in a fall crop of carrots, lettuce and peas for our third season.
I'll have to keep them covered at night to protect from freezing but it's a small price to pay for having veggies in the fall.
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