We picked up this repo about three years ago, knowing that we had our hands full. It was crazy - totally gutted (not even cabinets in the kitchen). The yard was DEAD. There are a few trees and shrubs, but the ground was bare dirt. We didn't even have weeds that first year. So, I concentrated on making the house livable and we let the yard mostly go, doing very little. The second year, we started getting some weeds - mostly amaranth. I'd cut them when they started getting big, but mostly tried to leave things alone, confident that they were helping the soil. The next year it started getting a little crazy, so I'd cut more aggressively. Someone complained to the city. :/ This year the property went nuts. "Weeds" are growing everywhere. The variety of amaranth we have isn't great for food, but I figured it'd compost well and help the soil, so we just cut it and put it in a pile. It seems our perseverance has paid off, in spite of a few visits from the city. I did put in a couple of beds and worked a little on keeping water from running off our property. But that's about it, until this year. In order to try to create microclimates and a smooth flow around our front yard, I'm using a combination of planters, hugelmounds and paths around four trees we have. Hopefully the image helps show what I'm doing. The middle circles are four trees, which are all already planted. Two are mature pecans, the other two young mulberries. Around each of them (leaving 2' diameter for trees), I'm putting in 2' wide planters. I dug down about three feet (except around mature trees, obviously), then sheet mulched on my way up, with logs at the bottom. We spread woodchips on top liberally. So, it's sort of like a sunken hugelculture/sheet-mulch hybrid I guess. We call it a Sonoran planter. I have a few of them, in various shapes, that I've already built. They do nicely here in the hot Arizona climate. As I noted, the planters are 2' wide (to make access easy), then a path of wood chips is around each one. The next rings are six foot wide hugelmounds that I'm still working on. They'll likely have a buried french drain or similar material so I can water deeply if needed. We'll see how that goes, but it's easier to bury it in as I build than do something later. And it's an experiment i want to try out to see how it goes. Since we get most of our rains during monsoons, with almost all the rest coming in mid to late winter, I'd like to get at least one built so it can get a good soaking. It's slow going though, so I'm not holding my breath. Getting more wood is required and I'm having a hard time getting enough woodchips. Eventually, I'm hoping to have the entire project covered in as deep of woodchips as I can get here. Funds are pretty limited too, so I can't go as fast as I'd like. Most of it is grunt work, but not enough for me to just forge ahead. So far, the trees are planted, three of the inner planters are installed (finished one yesterday) and two of the path-rings are set up with woodchips. I'm working on the third one right now and should get it completed tomorrow. Then I'll try to make more of the paths to help define things and provide my boundaries. Any thoughts or concerns? Anything I might be missing?