For a bit more clarity to the ensuing journey, here's a little bit more about what we've already got.
Our house sits on 550 squares of slightly slopping land. We've got a set of retaining walls stepping down to the back of the house, and what you can see to the right is the extent of today's veggie patch. It roughly equates to about 12m square for vegetables, with some extra space a the end for some citrus trees (and whatever grows under it) . The chook shed sits in the back corner, home to my two assistant gardeners.
When we bought the property, all that was up the back here was an old treated-pine sandpit that had been turned into a small garden bed. The hope is that one day the wall will extend around to where I was standing to take this photo, and match up with the retaining wall just out of view on the left (which can be seen in the next photo). As you can see its also treated pine, which is an absolute travesty. In fact, all the retaining walls and garden beds on the property are (or were) treated pine. Nope, there's nothing quite like the taste of CCA in your carrots. Worse than that, its a band-aid as a retaining wall solution - with all that wet soil pushed up against it, theres only so much hard chemicals can do to save the situation. Its also annoying that a lot of the soil runs from behind it during a good downpour.
Needless to say we're going to replace these - eventually. In the future I see a good few fruit trees in this picture. A good solid retaining wall also needs some good drainage - which is all good water that can be collected to put back on the garden (instead of running uselessly in every direction, and taking the whole backyard with it).
Ultimately our aim is to replace as much of the property as possible with productive food-producing land, while leaving a nice lawn and entertainment area for the enjoyment, preparation & consumption of said food. I like the idea of creating one big working system, and I reackon that's not outside the realm of the possible on a small suburban block. We'll see. The lawn you see here will probably remain, as its unlikely I'll ever get approval to rip it up and put in garden beds (I dunno, something about kids one day needing a lawn or something). But most other areas are fair game - including the fron yard. I'll introduce these as they become necessary elements in the ongoing story.