Eat Your Yard! How to Design an Edible Landscape

Convert a resource-guzzling lawn into a lovely, money-saving edible landscape.

| September/October 2011

  • Writer Rosalind Creasy sawed the legs off a wood trellis, painted it, laid it on the ground and transplanted a young Bibb lettuce into each square.
    Photo By Rosalind Creasy

  • Photo By Rosalind Creasy

Many of us are lucky enough to have at least a small plot of land surrounding our homes. Yet we often choose to occupy that land with grass, marigold and azalea beds, wisteria, and the occasional privet or maple—plants that look nice, but don’t give us anything in the way of food or value. Edible plants are equally beautiful, and nearly any homeowner could grow a meaningful amount of food in her yard—a much more noble use of the soil. Consider replacing the typical landscape with decorative borders of herbs, rainbow chard and striking paprika peppers. Instead of the fleeting color of spring azaleas, try the year-round beauty of blueberries—or pear and plum trees, which put on a spring show of flowers, have colorful summer fruits and produce yellow fall foliage. These plants aren’t just pretty—they provide healthy food and save money and resources.

In addition to being a viable design option, an edible landscape (if maintained organically) is the most compelling landscape concept for the future.

Edible landscapes offer these incredible benefits:

Energy Savings: Food from your yard requires no shipping and little refrigeration. Plus, conventional farms use a large amount of energy to plow, plant, spray and harvest produce—planting and picking tomatoes in your front yard requires a miniscule amount by comparison.



Food Safety: You know which chemicals (if any) you use.

Water Savings: Tests show that most home gardeners use less than half the water to produce the same crop compared with large-scale agricultural production. Drip irrigation saves even more.

KarenR
5/13/2020 7:35:51 PM

Many people underestimate have they can grow in a small area you do not need a lot of space to grow to produce for your family. There are many dwarf varieties of veg. plants that can be grown and will produce as much as a regular-size plant. Everyone should grow something.


JenG
2/7/2019 7:33:31 AM

Bravo! Thank you for this article. It would be wonderful if everyone would at least turn their front yards into food. In addition to all the benefits mentioned, "Front Yard Food" gets us out tending to our gardens where we can meet the neighbors and spread the organic gardening word by our actions.




Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Get the latest on Natural Health and Sustainable Living with Mother Earth News!

Mother Earth News

Your friends at Mother Earth Living are committed to natural health and sustainable living. Unfortunately, the financial impact of COVID-19 has challenged us to find a more economical way to achieve this mission. We welcome you to our sister publication Mother Earth News. What you sought in the pages of Mother Earth Living can be found in Mother Earth News. For over 50 years, “The Original Guide to Living Wisely” has focused on organic gardening, herbal medicine, real food recipes, and sustainability. We look forward to going on this new journey with you and providing solutions for better health and self-sufficiency.

The impact of this crisis has no doubt affected every aspect of our daily lives. We will strive to be a useful and inspiring resource during this critical time and for years to come.

Best wishes,
Your friends at Mother Earth Living and Mother Earth News

Save Money & a Few Trees!

By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of Mother Earth News for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Classifieds