Birds Eye View: An Overview Of The Garden

I talk a lot about my garden, and if you are kind enough to read this blog, you know a lot about my garden. A reader asked me to put up a garden map or layout to make it more clear how all the parts of “my office” come together. It is still a great surprise and joy to me that anyone would care what I’m doing in my little homestead, but there it is: I got a request and I’ll do my best to fill it.

So, here’s the birds eye view of the main part of my garden, taken from the roof of my house a couple weeks ago.

I guess I’ll give the tour going clockwise, from front left. You are looking to the south.

Front Left: Backyard Orchard. Each square is planted with four fruit trees, still in their infancy. It’s an ongoing experiment. It’s hard to see, but there is also the beginnings of an espaliered 4-way Asian Plum to the north of the Orchard Beds.

Squatting around and atop the Orchard Beds are a few burlap sacks full of potatoes. You can see the little red wagon hanging out full of straw too. I am using straw to mound up the potatoes. Don’t know if it will work, but I am hopeful.

Behind the Orchard Beds is Coop 1.0. It’s hanging around until the chicks in Coop 2.0 start laying eggs, then we’ll sell it or something.

Back Left: Perennial Bed. The back (topmost) tier holds the transplanted asparagus, the middle is planted in raspberries and the front (bottom-most) holds artichoke and rhubarb. We’ve also tucked a few cabbages and kales and sunflowers in there.

To the left of the Perennial Bed is my garden shed. I have secret plans (shhh, don’t tell Nick) that if the kids can’t get jobs because in 20 years the economy has gone completely to hell, we will let the kids and their families live in the main house, throw a composting toilet in the shed and call it our tiny house. Not that I want the economy to go to hell or anything…

Back Right: The main vegetable growing area. There are 13 4’x8′ beds used primarily for annual vegetable crops. One is currently growing raspberries and is rather dilapidated and one is in strawberries. The other 11 are in various stages of planting and harvesting. The two in the near-ground, across from the greenhouse, are new as of early this spring.

Tucked between the veggies and the cedar hedge that defines the west boundary of our yard is a composting area. To the north of the main veggie area is the greenhouse. I grow peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and basil in there in the warm season (not all at the same time – I alternate year by year depending on what I really want to protect; this year it’s peppers and cukes). When I have my shit together, I grow lettuces, roots and winter greens in the greenhouse over winter.

Front Right: the smaller triangular bed to the southeast of the path holds a few varieties of blueberries that are fruiting for the first time this year. The larger triangular bed to the northwest of the path hold a quartet of sweet cherry trees and three white currant bushes. One currant is several years old and bearing, the other two are new this spring.

On the far right of the photo is Coop 2.0. I think I’ve already told you all there is to say about the chicken coop.

So that’s the main garden area. It’s taken 6 years and a lot of work to go from mud and grass to that picture, and I have to say I’ve got a fair bit of pride thinking of all Homebrew Husband and I have done in that time.

There are other fruit trees and of course the front beds, but I’ll have to show you those some other time – I write this at the end of a long day transplanting, apple thinning, and stringing cucumber trellis with a 9 month old on my back.

In related news, our son is really enjoying his own brand of gardening, which primarily involves eating things he shouldn’t. Like dirt.

How’s your urban homestead laid out? Is is where you want it or do you have big projects planned?


  1. says

    That one picture is proof enough that you don't needs acres upon acres to provide for your family (though it would be nice, right?). We'll be changing the landscape of our yard slowly over time as money allows. We've turned about 200 sq. ft. of grass into garden, so I'd say that's a good start. :)

  2. says

    I find that aerial views really portray yards the best. Sure, a drawing of the plan can kind of get the point across, but nothing says it like a photo from above. I recently realized (why it took me so long I don't know) that our water tower balcony is the perfect place to take photos to show progress over time. I just wish I had taken one before we started doing all the work.

  3. Kylie H says

    great use of space! We live on 700sqm block including the house and we've utilized the front yard for fruit trees and the backyard for some fruit trees, chicken coop, compost bays, raised veggie beds, frog ponds, aquaponics system, berry patch, as well has kids play area with trampoline and cubby house. It's proof you dont need a farm or acres to grow everything you want or need. Careful planing and plenty of trail and error is the way to go. You guys are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Sharon Miro says

    Oh, Erica, this is so cool. Thanks so I have a much better idea to visualize on when you write about something…Very nice.

  5. says

    I'm growing potatoes in straw this year, too! My one concern is that sunlight will filter down onto the spuds and turn them green. I have landscaping fabric left over from other projects that I may use around the plants to ensure no sunlight ruins my new potatoes, but we will see. Nothing like taking a gamble on my family's entire winter's worth of potatoes….

  6. says

    Great encouragement seeing your garden layout and how much you've gotten into your space! We continue to make progress in expanding our Seattle area urban farm on our city lot. I am amazed how much we're getting into our space and we still have room to expand. I, too, am in awe of all we've accomplished since purchasing our home nearly 5 years ago. Hoping to add orchard and chickens next year… Keep your wonderful posts coming. I love to learn from others and see what they're doing too!

  7. says

    Wow, that's six years well spent. Amazing layout. Thanks for the tour. I did one about a year or two ago and may do another for my 500th post. I'm not sure.

    I'm very envious of your garden area. It's fabulous. As for coop 1.0, I'd consider meat birds which need to be separate and fed 24/7 for good production. Anyway, just a thought.

  8. Dreaming of Jeanie says

    Wow! Your garden is inspiring! Someday I hope to have a backyard that looks like yours when I don't have a grass-loving landlord to answer to.

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