Hi, I'm completely new to Permaculture, but I'm afraid I've started off very, very badly... I moved into a new house a few years ago. The soil in my back garden was very good, but the soil in my front garden was completely compacted (probably by heavy machinery as the house was being built). Nothing would grow there. I dug a small hole into the ground, and found that the drainage was so bad that it would still be a puddle 2 days after some heavy rain, and then when it was dry, the ground would crack open. I tested the soil and the pH was 8.5! I hated this front garden soil with determination and I have spent the last 2 years digging it all up (I couldn't build raised beds as the garden beds were adjacent to driveways and off-street car parking spaces, and any car doors would bang against raised garden bed walls). After 2 years of back-breaking digging, I had dug out the soil in all my front garden beds to a depth of 45 to 60cm. My front garden looked like an open mine with pits everywhere instead of garden beds. But, by the time the digging was finally all finished, weeds had grown up in the pits that I had dug out earlier. So, I sprayed (?bombed?) the whole area every weedkiller and herbicide I could lay my hands on, including so-called yearly garden path clearers. In hindsight, I may have been somewhat over-zealous. As the weeds died, I filled in the garden pits with sulphur (to lower the pH of the underlying soil), lucerne straw bales, composted cow manure, composted pine bark, more composted cow manure, and covered everything with tea tree mulch. I didn't add any actual soil because I've heard too many horror stories of garden supply stores delivering nasty, toxic stuff as "loamy garden topsoil". So, my garden beds are now finally "looking" ready to plant something, but now I'm afraid to plant anything expensive eg, the magnolias, camellias, roses, gardenias, etc, that I had originally planned to grow, because of all the weedkillers/herbicides I had sprayed at the bottom of my garden beds a couple of months ago, and because as I did more research, I realized that my "soil" would keep subsiding as the organic matter would decompose, and if I just keep adding more mulch as any perennials I've planted subside together with the "soil", eventually they would just suffocate. I also realized that there may not be sufficient actual rock mineral content, eg, silica, in my "soil", for proper plant growth. So, as I did more and more research into soil improvement, I came across Permaculture, which seems to be at the cutting edge of soil science. I'm now investigating adding biochar, rock dust, introducing deep burrowing worms and growing green manure crops for the first couple of seasons, before I plant any permanent perennials. Do you think there is still hope out there for me and my front garden?