Planning The New Urban Homestead Permaculture Design

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Property from a few years ago before we started homesteading.

The Changes

Earlier this year we purchased the lot next door and to the south of ours, this property only has a barn on it and although it’s not a large piece of land it did double what we had giving us nearly a quarter of an acre.

The building is a 30′ x 50′ pole barn with a cement floor with water and electricity supplied to it. The rest of the property is just grass with a sidewalk down the center of it.

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Thinking about what I ultimately want to do with this property has been a little bit of a challenge and it has taken me a few months to begin to get a vision for the design.

The Dilemma

The problem for me has been getting a vision for the property as a whole, meaning the two properties together working as one. When I designed my small urban lot originally I had no idea I would ever possibly end up with this lot so I proceeded to maximize the production of my property through the layout.

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This meant putting in fences planting trees along the property line installing other infrastructure like raised beds, greenhouse, ponds, shrubs, etc. This made this property boom with production and efficiency. Unfortunately, this also creates a hard separation from the other property which clearly defines the property line and has made it very hard to integrate this new property into the design.

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So I have had to put a lot of thought into my next steps and begin to do the things that I don’t really want to do because of all that I have poured into it.

The Undoing

So this is what it’s going to come down to, undoing many of the things I’ve done and starting over. Let me just tell you that it is a little painful to do this when you have poured a lot of time and money into something you have been proud of. However, the vision I have for the property as a whole will be much better and productive than what I currently have so I will take a deep breath and proceed with the plan.

I will be tearing down the fence. This is particularly hard for me because it was the outline and main infrastructure that I built my homestead around. I will also be making some changes to paths and walkways,

The raised beds will be relocated along with trellises. The greenhouse will stay where it’s at because it works there but I will be moving the grandkid’s swing set and playground.

The Infrastructure

When the rebuilding takes place I will begin as I did with the old design, with a fence around the entire property. The fence is not for privacy but instead layout an edge for design.

I have been putting a lot of thought into the style of the fence I want to put up. I have considered a picket style or perhaps sticking with the ranch-style I currently have. I had also thought about a wrought iron design made from aluminum to reduce future maintenance and repair but that would be really expensive. So far I haven’t completely settled on the style but it has to meet my requirements for accomplishing more than one function.

The Trees and Guilds

After the fence goes up the fun begins. I will outline the property on the inside of the fence with a variety of useful trees. Hazelnut, pawpaw, and plum. Around these trees I will design guilds to support the trees and maximize production of both the trees and the land. I will work in a variety of berry bushes and plants in a circle pattern guild.

The Raised Beds

I will then layout approximately six 4’x8′ raised beds down the center of the new property with walkways around them and integrated with the walkways of the old property. These beds and the remaining old beds will provide growing space for our annual vegetable production. The guilds around the trees will be more for the perennial production.

A Whole System Design

While I haven’t planned out every little detail yet I can tell you there will be a whole system design taking into effect water catchment and retention, wind and solar considerations, livestock integration, other infrastructure like compost bins, solar dehydrator, and a smoker.

Of course, all this isn’t going to happen overnight or even in a year but in the end, I believe the vision a have for all this is going to make this an efficient and productive permaculture homestead that will provide our family with an abundance of food and joy for many years to come.

Watch a video tour of the old property layout here: