Families can restore their backyards, invigorating the soil and existing plants by designing an area to hold the water in the soil, grouping plant communities together, and creating a harmonious relationship with the natural environment. The idea is to enhance biological activity and mimic nature by copying what already works and be as self-sufficient as possible, putting back into the soil more nutrients than are taken out. Nature requires 250 years to make one inch of topsoil. We can speed that up by composting and putting unused plant material back into the soil. Planting with local native seeds that have adapted to the area and working with the native plants that already exist in the landscape will help avoid future problems.
Edible landscaping incorporates fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs, and veggies in a colorful display, creating patterns of veggie garden beds and strawberry ground covers, amid fruit trees and blackberry hedgerows. Families can design garden beds that are contoured with the slope of the land, create shade, and windbreaks. Keep plants together that have the same water and sun needs and consider how the plants will look when mature. By maintaining plant diversity and crop rotation, you keep the soil healthy. Plant clover or shade loving plants under fruit trees, berry bushes and vines. Planting beans and cover crops is the most practical way to put nitrogen into the soil.
Kids love to observe the activity of insects, birds, and animals from a quiet seat in the garden. Kids can watch the path of the sun and to see where the air and water flows in the yard to find the right place for the right plant. Water everywhere needs to be cared for as a living resource. Ponds are a delight in the landscape, needing a source of water and a place for runoff, and will attract a wide variety of beneficial insects, birds, toads, and wildlife. Setting up bird houses for insect eating birds and for birds of prey, lowers the numbers of insect pests, rabbits, rats, and gophers in the garden. Planting fennel, borage, or dill throughout the garden will attract beneficial insects. This edible landscaping is a different way of growing food, rather than growing fields or rows of one crop, kids can grow a diversity of fruits, veggies, and herbs interplanted aesthetically in their backyard while restoring the soil and the health of the family.