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I would plan this year's planting such that you can get equipment back in there (to deal with your drainage issue) without disrupting the plants. Sounds like you need to consider a French drain to intercept the water draining towards your foundation. Definitely don't want to let that foundation situation go too long, as it can get pretty costly later on...


As from the other comment, definitely get a drainage specialist in first to deal with water around the foundation before doing any other landscaping. It's not a DIY project as it will likely be a combination of reshaping the soil near the foundation along with interceptor drains. (French drains clog over time). If the house doesn't have gutters and downspouts in the back, need those too.

Now on to gardening, have you seen "Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew? (http://www.amazon.com/All-New-Square-Foot-Gardening/dp/1591862027/) Some good concepts that adapt very well to urban settings.

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