Case Study: Massachusetts Garden Design

Located in Massachusetts, this is a plan for a domestic garden. The site is largely level, laid largely to lawn at present, with many mature trees around the property boundary. Many of the existing trees can be retained, though I recommended establishing better under-storey planting utilising a range of useful native plants. 

The property is in USDA planting zone 7a and is generally rather sheltered, though does sometimes experience gusty winds from the north east blowing in off the Atlantic. Winters are cold and summers are warm. Both the beginning and end of the warm period are somewhat delayed due to the moderating influence of the Ocean. 

Soil is classified as udipsamments, smoothed, though clay is predominant on site below 1 ft. Existing vegetation suggests a fertile, rich soil, that is relatively free-draining but reasonably water retentive, already enriched in places with plenty of organic matter. But continued amendment and a ‘no dig’ approach recommended. 

The primary goal is food production for the family, with potential to sell excess in future at farmers’ markets locally. Yet the space also needs to cater for the recreation and play for a growing family, with kids currently aged 3-5. Already wildlife friendly, the site can also be improved for wildlife through the addition of further native planting and biodiverse edible and useful plants. 

A proportion of the property currently laid to lawn I have suggested be turned into a productive food forest or forest garden, with plenty of fruit and nut trees appropriate to the site. Approximate suggested locations for apple, cherry, peach, almond, apricot, walnut, pecan, and plum trees are shown on the plan.

The wilder and biodiverse forest garden areas will provide a bounty of food. But on the plans you will see that I have also recommended creating a series of polyculture vegetable beds in which the client will be able to grow a range of annual fruits, vegetables and herbs. 

If you are interested in a similar permaculture design for your own property, please do get in touch.

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