Backyard Story

May 6, 2014

A while ago we lived in Melbourne for a bit. During that time we lived in a few houses including one in Brunswick West – a rambling, old, falling down (seriously) house with relatively cheap rent and a decent sized garden, a rarity in Melbourne town.

When we moved in the backyard looked like this, green lawn with a few mature fruit trees (yay) and some good sheds.


We promptly started converting the lawn into something more productive and moved in chickens, veggie gardens, bees, compost bins and a campfire spot – we love campfires. Within a few short months we were getting all our veggies from here (except carrots) honey, eggs and some fruit.


A couple of shameless posers


A basic chook tractor means we could keep the chooks happy with fresh greens (without getting into the veggie garden) as well as help keep the lawn down.


Our fox proof straw house and chook house, all made from pallets and found materials.


Having bees in an urban garden is the best thing ever, there is always something flowering in the neighbourhood and they provide invaluable pollination for the crops.


We harvested just over 20 litres from one hive, our harvesting process was a bit messy, but it did the job.


While our garden was fairly small (around 60 square metres) we had surplus everything so preserved produce through drying and chutnifying.


The garden became a wonderful place to be in and sleep in.

Around 7 months later we decided to pack up and move to Tasmania, so we said a sad farewell to the now pumping garden. We loved this wonderful space, so productive and a true oasis from the big smoke we were working, living and playing in.

DSC01234 DSC01237

But what happened to the garden? We passed it onto our good friends, Sam and Kat, who continued (then and now) taking it to the next level, Anton’s just back from visiting them and took some photos of what it looks like now…


It is FULL of life – edible, medicinal and ornamental plants all live side by side as do the chickens, bunnies, cats, dogs, bees and worms. The rabbit poo goes straight into the worm farm which they apparently LOVE, the kiwi vine they planted is thriving and the bees, well…. Sam and Kat are part of what’s called a ‘bee share’ where someone else keeps their bee hives in their garden, maintains them and then shares the honey harvest with them – what a sweet deal (pun intended).


Rabbits and chooks playing peacefully. 


 White sussex ladies

 DSC_0259They’ve also created beautiful spaces like this – a small pond surrounded with plants, creating valuable habitat for benefiical bugs and small critters.

Urban gardens are an under-utilised resource. We can do so much with them, feed ourselves with them. Hand in hand with our rural farmers, we can actually create real, local, strong food systems. I truly believe this is the way of the future in terms of developing a sustainable and abundant food culture.

Having started A LOT of gardens in rental houses over the years, it warms the heart to see gardens you start take on new life and continue to bring sustenance, joy and colour to the world. So even if you don’t own your own home and are renting you can still grow some of your own food and enjoy the deep satisfaction that comes from doing so.

*Your blogger is Hannah Moloney, co-director of Good Life Permaculture and lover of all things fun and garden-esk.

your thoughts:


  1. Lindy Burrows

    Dear Hannah,

    After having read your marvellous, fact-filled, articulate appraisal of your former home, now under the management of my adored Son, Samuel, and his wonderful wife, Katherine, I am beaming with pride at their outstanding efforts to maintain, and build on, what you and Yours instigated.

    The world would be a better place if there were more people like you and your partner who lead the way, using the land as intended, in a thoughtful, sharing, productive and sustainable way, passing it on to like-minded others, like Samuel and Katherine.

    Thankyou for sharing your great photos, beautifully written piece, and praise of my Son & Wife.

    All the very best for the future, Hannah.
    May you continue to inspire and bring happiness to All, as you have to me.
    Love Lindy. X

  2. Hannah Moloney

    Hi Lindy,

    Glad you enjoyed the blog – they’re doing a great job aren’t they! You must be very proud :-).

  3. tanyalau

    I know this is an older entry now but just wanted to let you know that this is an awesomely inspiring post! (and site in general). We’re currently living in Sydney in a rental and have done a bit of small time food planting (with varied success) …have plans to move to a regional area where we have some land where we want to be more self sufficient. But also looking at what we can do now – really great to see it’s possible while still living in the city…and to see what can be achieved by starting the journey one step at a time.

    • Hannah Moloney

      So glad it’s useful for you Tanya! Gardening in rentals can be hugely productive, fun and rewarding – enjoy!


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