Well I live in a city that has laws about how things look and neighbors as well. So it's a catch-22 situation and looking at the devastation after I let my yard die (being a good citizen) I swore never again. Then the losing war against the weeds...
I couldn't keep up. Other than the odd spray with the Southern lawn at the beginning of each particular weed season my yard is back and healthy and grows a bunch of edible dandelions. I just mow it and spot-water when it needs it. The weeds can't compete with my grass very well because I cut it at the mower's tallest setting.
Anyway the hugelkultur speaks to me. I'm revamping my plan to see if it can be modified cause I got some old prime hugelkultur wood laying around. I can't do anything on the scale I'd like to- seven feet tall? My yard ain't that big.
I'll bore you with my reasoning for my approach. When I moved in to this house in 08 we were under the same drought conditions- except things are worse now. I had now idea how badly it floods back there until we had one of those incredible but typical Texas thunderstorm systems come through.
It gets as much as a foot deep back there spanning about 6 backyards with the deepest part in mine. I installed a sub-pump to drain the thousands of gallons of water. The soil is a rich but heavy clay so it only absorbs so much. I can't have a lake back there for weeks as it evaporates. My neighbors love me for that pump!
The "garden" is a project to raise the level of the yard so I can more easily divert the water to the pump. However I like the garden so it'll rise as the dirt does.