Owning an orchard is not limited to farmers or grand estate holders.

Fruit wall design

Even those of us with tiny backyards (or sideyards) can have a private collection of fruit trees and vines.  Its called backyard orchard culture and involves high density planting, successive ripening, and pruning trees to short, manageable sizes.

 Pruned to size

I learned about backyard orchard culture during my Master Gardener training, from Tom Spellman of Dave Wilson Nursery, a major grower of fruit trees.  Their web site is a fantastic source of information about this type of fruit gardening.

January is the best time out here in Zone 9 to plant bare root fruit trees, so today's design will give you a start, using only a single wall!

Trees  Photo courtesy of Paul Lau


  • One sunny wall, six feet high and 10 feet long (dimensions can vary, just adjust recipe to size and number of walls)

  • Four bare root fruit trees (different varieties, according to taste.)

  • One bare root berry vines, according to taste.

  • One fruit bush such as blueberry or currant.

  • Five one quart pots of assorted herbs.

  • Three 1.5 cf bags of Cactus Planting mix

  • Three 1.5 cf bags of compost

  • One 8 ounce container of Multi Cote time release fertilizer for flowering and fruiting plants

  • One pair of clean, sharp pruners

  • Several eyelet screws and a spool of coated wire.

  • One decorative wall plaque


  • One decorative bench


Dig a trench along the wall, extending out two feet from wall.

Amend native soil from trench with Cactus Mix, compost and MultiCote.

Plant one fruit tree at each end of wall, two feet out from wall.

Plant one fruit tree directly against wall, two feet away from the end tree.

Plant  fruit vine between trees.

Prune the end fruit trees to leave three to four major branches, two feet long.

Prune inside fruit trees to form espallier along wall, attaching with wire and hooks.

MunPingChew_peach_fan2  Lily_ligocki_asianpear

Hang decorative plaque in center of wall near top.

Place bench in front of wall at center.


Enjoy the beauty and bounty of your private orchard!

Fruit wall diagram