A beautiful photo story of an urban home Jane Hilliard from Designful and I (Hannah) designed together and that’s just been finished!
But first a little “before” photo. The site was 97% grass with an old double car garage (which was replaced with the small house), a few raised garden beds growing rosemary and weeds, one gloriously old and special apricot tree and a couple of dead’ish fruit trees.
The clients were a grandmother, her daughter and her two teenage kids all lived together in the main house and wanted to build a small house for grandma to move into so they can all grow old *together*. They wanted no grass, a low maintenance edible and beautiful garden. You can see the design we completed for them and read their vision statement below.
Vision statement: “Our urban garden is productive, low maintenance and beautiful. It is where we forage for food, enjoy the view and each other’s company.”
This is what guided us throughout the design process to create this…
The central bed beneath the existing apricot tree has a baby food forest planted in it – this a multilayered, perennial plant system. This includes layers of white sage shrubs, globe artichokes, comfrey, a border of sweet alice flowers and a groundcover of prostrate rosemary. I’m looking forward to seeing it in 12 months time when it’ll be a flurry of thriving green layers!
The raised veggie beds on the left are for annual vegetables and the fence directly behind them has cable wire which the young passionfruit vines will grow up and along – soaking up the hot sun hitting the fence. On the far right are some existing rose bushes with a floral understory of mixed daisies – yes, even permaculture values flowers of all types for beauty and the bees (they need to eat too).
The bed with the steeping stones is also based off a food forest model with ground covers of mixed edible herbs, sweet alice flowers, mixed currants, native Hardenbergia vine growing up the funky vertical structure and one blueberry shrub (out of shot). The Hardenbergia will eventually create some “soft” privacy between the two homes, creating different garden spaces/rooms.
This bed leads around the west side of the house to the communal compost station shared between the two houses.
Where you’ll find this worm farm made from a recycled bath and hardwood timber.
The northern patio area (seen below) welcomes sunlight into the house and creates a warm, protected microclimate to grow grape vines up the fence line and eventually beneath the laserlite roofing. This will provide summer shade (and food) while still allowing winter sun into the space once the grape’s drop their leaves in late autumn/early winter.
The paths are intentionally generous to allow for easy movement between the two houses and visiting grandkids to run and ride their bikes round and round and round.
The new gate cut into the side of the existing fence to access the new small house is just so special and inviting…
You walk straight into this…
Me with Danny Lees and Sam (from Earth and Wood), being our best smiley selves – eating cake with one of the delightful clients to celebrate completion.
- Special thanks to Jordan Davis for the photos.
- If you’re looking for a skilled and friendly landscaper trained in permaculture, talk to Danny from Earth and Wood: 0468 667 633 (website coming soon).
- For more information on the building side of things, contact Designful.
- If you’d like to work with us to design your house and landscape, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org