The design of what is happening to the grounds of the new house is just starting. We had to take into account what I want and what my friends want. Their priority is a hot tub and a table outside. My priority is a large enough spot to throw a barbecue (in front or back), a large vegetable garden, an herb garden and places to put all the fruits I want. The land we own is about 94' x 75' (7000 sqft), but in reality we have a larger area. The road is a private way and we are at the end of the road. Though we don't own it, we are responsible for its care and upkeep including the unpaved parts. If we include that part it is a square 94'x98' or about 9000 sqft. In fact the builders fenced this whole section in so it is very private. The dead end does not have a turn around and end abruptly so no one else is likely to come down this way. The road in front of the house looks and feels much more like a private driveway than a private way.
This is the private way in front of the house. The neighbors have gates to access it. As you can see there is a large raised planting area. It is the sunniest planting area I will have, but it isn't fenced off from any critters and can't be. It is three feet wide and has a planted area of about 200 sqft. The tall fence will probably have little eyelets screwed into it so I can put up trellising when I need it. It would be great for heat loving plants. With the rock wall below it will be very hot in here. In the winter it might make a good greens area.
The front of the house is shaded for quite a while all morning long. It is the northwest side of the house. I expect that a peach tree or two would be a nice addition since the ground won't unfreeze here for a good long time. I'm guessing it will act like a northern slope. But by summer the sun will be high enough to give it plenty of sun.
Then here is the side yard which right now is totally paved. This is the southwest side of the house and except for one spot gets a lot of sun. We will rip out most of the pavement and make some kind of parking on their side for one car. The parking is very hard here and tight. Even with the spot they put in it is hard to get out since the private road is only 13' wide. We have already hit the back of the car against the rock wall once. And you probably guessed it but we are ripping out the pavement to put in my vegetable garden.
Above is the current plan that is very much in flux. You can click this one to get a bigger photo so you can see better. I'm thinking of a 3' brick walkway along the ends of the beds from the driveway down to the bottom of the paper where the compost piles are. Then it will turn to your right and go along the compost piles and then turn again and go up into the back door of the house. The paths between the beds will be mulched. This gives ten beds that are 16'x4' wide (63 sqft each). The three closest to the bottom right corner get only 5 hours of sun a day right now (and yes I've been there at different times during the day to check out the sun). There is a maple tree in my neighbor's back yard that shades it a bit. I'm guessing there won't be much shade there in June or July as the sun gets higher. The other side beds lose the sun just at the edges for a short time. The two beds by the house already have full sun all day long.
Along the fence in the garden area I want a small short shed at the end for my tools. I want a potting bench. Then a place to store the wheelbarrow. After that the leaf collection area and the compost piles. My friends will be taught the basics of composting. I think I'm going to get a tumbler for the veggie scraps though. I'm thinking anything on the ground will attract rats. This ought to keep them out. Once they are decayed enough I'll put them in the real pile. I'm hoping Molly, my friend's cat, will also help keep the rodents out of the yard.
If you look harder you can see some of my fruit ideas. Nothing is written in stone yet. Currently I have blueberries along the house basically from the driveway to the small spot that sticks out of the house. On the other side of that I have a gooseberry (is one enough?). Then I have rhubarb in front of the air conditioning units (the two circles next to the house in back). I' thinking of putting the raspberries with three sides surrounded by something (the stairs down to the yard, the wall of the house, and the bulkhead). Raspberries are weeds so really need to be kept under control. Now I only have one side to deal with. Then I have two dwarf apple trees in the back yard. I wanted to put them where the raspberries are, but I think they really need more than 5' to spread. I think the neighbor has an apple tree right against the back fence too so I should have good pollination.
We discussed more fruit trees as there is plenty of room in the front yard. But she is allergic to cherries and I hate the upkeep of a pear. I hear of too many pear deaths and issues. A single plum would be nice, but I don't think they are self fruiting and two plums is way too much. I'll eat them, but don't go crazy over them.
So that is the start of the plan for growing edibles - which could change at any time. It has about 800 sqft of growing area which to my mind is huge and about three times what I have now. Is it too big? It really is a garden for two families though so in reality it is just 50% bigger.