I attended the edible garden tour in Edmonton last Sunday, and boy is it amazing to see what people have done with their yards! It was put together by Wild Green Consulting, and we went to about 10 different places, including the University Garden and several totally amazing yards. One of them was a yard backing onto the river valley, and they had made a series of swales and berms all the way down (it looks like terracing) and planted fruit trees into the berms, along with plants to keep the berms from washing away. It was great to see what all is happening in Edmonton - many of the yards were completely grass-free. They ranged from the super-weedy to the incredibly well-kept, and from suburban-sized to, well, the terraced acre.
At the University Farm, there's a giant garden run by volunteers. They sell the produce on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and donate the proceeds to a non-profit in Rwanda that helps women who've dealt with abuse and war.
But my favorite spot was the children's garden at Belgravia Elementary School. It was a naturescape including trees, little hills, even a shallow pond. The kids apparently come down to the pond to do pond studies, they race around the area during recess, clamber on the rocks, and even roll down the little hills in winter. Who says you need grass to play on? I'm rapidly learning that if planned properly, a garden (or naturescape) can provide much more "scope for the imagination"! I'm hoping to include some elements for kids in my front-yard garden. Not sure what yet, but it'll come.