Desperate renter

Just came across this sub while looking for ideas. I am renting half of a duplex, and we intend to be here for quite some time. Our landlord is super chill with doing whatever we want pretty much (painting, landscaping etc) but he doesn't want to contribute financially/reduce rent or anything for the improvements. I HATE our front yard. We have a large cedar tree in the middle. A pr viouse tenent covered the front yard with plastic weed barrier and there is….maybe an inch of dirt on top? Many places the plastic is right on top. Some places are more like 2-3". The roots of the cedar tree have grown up and out of the soil everywhere and makes it impossible to mow (we just weed wack it currently). Due to the tree the majority of the yard is in shade most of the day. The area is also very uneven with small mounds and slopes everywhere. I've attempted to plant some things By digging up as much plastic in the area as I can, but the soil underneath is sooooo full of roots I can barely dig any depth.

I have received permission to do raised beds, so I think that will be my best bet, with walkways in between. I need help deciding how exactly to do this though. I have very little money but I can dedicate a lot of time. How do I make beds that will work well on such uneven land? I looked at like pound-in borders since they can kinda 'go with the flow' but everything is either too expensive or too short for my needs.

Also, if anyone has any other advice/ideas I would greatly appreciate it! I just hate the brown dead weed patch in front of my house.

Area is about 30'x30', the cedar tree is directly in the center, and my lawn is mostly taller than the sidewalk out front (so my watering tends to go straight down the plastic to the concrete). I'm so frustrated! Live near corvallis Oregon.

submitted by /u/ravensreign3
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