According to a recent survey, two-thirds of Americans believe they have what it takes to live off the land. That’s a compelling thought. Just imagine the sense of accomplishment you’d feel while picking fresh fruits and vegetables grown by your own hands.

A self sufficient backyard can turn this into reality. You can provide your family with fresh, organic food all year round. Here are the seven essential things you need to make your backyard self-sustaining.

1. Backyard Garden

Finding the right location is key for your garden. You’ll want to choose a flat spot in your yard that gets plenty of sunlight.
Clear the area for your garden. One way to do this is solarization, which uses the sun’s heat to kill grass and weeds. You can lay clear plastic over your garden space, and over time, the unwanted greenery should be gone.

Healthy soil equals healthy plants. Add compost to enrich the soil with nutrients.
If you’re not sure about your soil quality, get it tested. Knowing what your soil lacks can help your plants grow better.

2. Rainwater Harvesting Stations

To collect rainwater safely, start by identifying a suitable collection area. The material of this surface area should be non-toxic and clean to avoid any water contamination. Rooftops are usually the ideal choice.

Equip your chosen area with gutters and downspouts to guide water. Regularly clean these to remove leaves, dirt, and other debris that could pollute your collected water.

In addition to this, consider using diverters and roof washers. They help eliminate the first flow of rainwater that may contain pollutants from the collection surface. This ensures only relatively clean water gets into your containers.

The rainwater should be in a clean, sturdy tank meant for water storage. Cover the tank to inhibit the growth of algae and prevent debris and bugs from entering.

3. Renewable Energy Solutions

Solar panels are a great choice. You can run your lights, TV, and fridge without depending on the power company so much.

You should consider hiring professional solar panel services to help. They know how to set up the panels and solar batteries for maximum efficiency.

Geothermal systems are another option. They tap into the Earth’s heat to warm or cool homes. Though setting them up can be pricey and disruptive, they promise significant savings on energy bills.

Similarly, hydroelectric systems harness the power of nearby streams or rivers. By converting the flow of water into electricity, they provide a reliable energy source that can be more consistent than solar or wind.

This is true as long as the water keeps moving. During droughts, hydroelectric units generate less energy.

4. Beekeeping

Beekeeping contributes to the pollination of your garden, which is essential for producing fruits and vegetables. The honey produced is a natural sweetener and can be used for various culinary purposes. It’s also a valuable product.

Familiarize yourself with the behavior of bees, their environmental influence, and the unique challenges they face depending on the climate. Next, check local regulations to ensure beekeeping is allowed.

Purchase or build a bee-friendly hive. Langstroth and top bar hives are popular choices.

Order your bees from a reputable supplier. You can get a nucleus colony or package bees.

Place the hive in a quiet spot in your yard that gets morning sun and is sheltered from strong winds. Ensure a water source is nearby.

5. Pest Control

Use integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. Begin by creating optimal conditions for your garden, such as good airflow, to deter pests.

Choose pest-resistant plants and rotate your crops each year to prevent pest buildup. Use row covers to shield plants without resorting to chemicals. Also, encourage natural predators, such as ladybugs and birds, to create an ecological balance.

Opt for organic pest control solutions like neem oil, diatomaceous earth, or insecticidal soaps. Regularly handpick pests and insect eggs to control the population.

Plant companion plants, like marigolds, to ward off pests. You can also add lavender and basil to attract helpful pollinators that prey on pests.

Proper garden hygiene is key. Remove and destroy pest-infested plants. Deal with snails, slugs, or fruit flies using traps.

6. Animals

Raising animals in your backyard is essential to your food supply. Chickens are a popular choice because they lay eggs, provide meat, and fertilize the soil with their droppings.

Rabbits are another good choice, especially for small spaces. They’re easy to care for and offer fertilizer.

Ducks and geese offer eggs and meat too. They also help control garden pests such as slugs.

For larger spaces, goats can supply milk and meat. Also, adding a worm composting system can improve soil health by turning kitchen scraps into nutrient-dense compost.

7. Protection

To protect your backyard farm, build sturdy fences and enclosures. This step is vital to prevent unwanted animals and trespassers from damaging your crops and livestock. Additionally, using protective covers for your plants can shield them from extreme weather and pests.

For added deterrence, consider security lighting. Motion sensor lights can trigger whenever there is movement in or around your garden.

You can use signage. A “Private Property” or “No Trespassing” sign functions as a clear warning for anyone attempting to intrude. Such signs can indicate that you’re vigilant about your garden’s security.

Planting defensive plants such as thorny or prickly shrubs can be an effective natural barrier around your garden boundaries. Plants such as holly, roses, or berberis can give an extra layer of protection.

CCTV cameras help with ongoing surveillance and let trespassers know someone’s watching them. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, the Blink Outdoor camera could be right for you. It operates on AA batteries.

Perfecting a Self Sufficient Backyard

Each of these steps takes you closer to a self sufficient backyard. You’ll be eating food you grew, using water you collected, and harnessing power from the sun. It’s all about being smart and caring for the Earth.

Even more life hacks are waiting for you on our blog. Browse our tips for ways to improve your backyard and other DIY projects.