D & F arrived in Vermont in the fall of 2014 primed to launch into their backyard farming adventure.

Coming from an urban setting, they’d satisfied their vegetable cravings by community gardening and spent their time away from the garden researching gardening, permaculture and homesteading.

They were ready.

The Basics

Season: Spring – Summer 2015

Location: Colchester, VT

Size of Property: 0.75 acres

D &F wanted a productive, beautiful, and interesting backyard but needed help creating a vision and plan for their space.

Step 1: Assessing the site

We began by assessing how their site was functioning:

  • the types of soils;
  • where there was sun throughout the day;
  • how water moved on the site;
  • the plants that were already growing there;
  • and how they as the residents were interacting with the property.

Step 2: Setting goals

With this assessment complete, we talked about D & F’s goals for their property:

  • to grow organic, nutrient packed food;
  • to be able to share excess food with neighbors;
  • to be good stewards of their property and help the threatened local species;
  • to have an exciting space for their children to play and learn in.

From there we went to work designing a layout that would work within the existing site conditions to meet D & F’s goals.

Once the design was complete and we’d discussed all the details, everyone got to work.

Step 3: Project list and timeline creation

We helped create a project list and timeline to break the large plan into smaller, manageable projects. D & F were eager to be hands-on with some parts of the work, something we encourage, and took the lead establishing new beds for their vegetable garden.

Step 4: Getting our hands dirty

We helped by building the parts of the backyard farm that they weren’t comfortable tackling: the chicken coop & run, rainwater collection tanks, water piping to the garden, a rain garden, and even a frog pond that has become the focal point of the property.

Being very hands-on, D & F were able to have an intimate relationship with the building of their backyard homestead. When it came to planting fruit trees and berry bushes for the edible berry grove, we provided coaching sessions to help with plant position, planting techniques and prioritizing The whole family then pitched in to establish an instant orchard.


used for this project

What Our Client Said

about our work with them.

The most important things that we wanted to accomplish were to create a source of food security, restore local ecology, and to teach our children about the natural world.

The caring guidance that Urban Homestead Vermont provided, along with their assistance with more complex projects allowed us to go from a back yard with a  lawn to a homestead  wonderland in just a few months.

As their homestead evolves D & F have the joy of seeing new baby chickens arrive, finding loving, excited care-takers in their children, watching a garden burst forth from their lawn, and finding peace and comfort in their new home.

Step 5: Watching it grow & evolve

New projects continue to arise as earlier ones are completed and their backyard homestead grows more interesting, unique and productive.

At the end of the first growing season we revisit the site design, observe what has worked and what can be improved upon, and lay the plans for the next season which will surely be a return to this homesteading adventure.