Hands holding bowl of salad vegetables with garden in background

Are you looking for ways to revamp your garden? Perhaps you want to start growing your own delicious produce, or maybe you wish to make your home and yard more sustainable. Whatever it is, you can reap great rewards from planting your own food.

A traditional garden bed can be a great backyard project for families to take on. However, there’s another type of gardening that can be even more beneficial for your health, wallet, and the environment: edible landscaping. 

What is Edible Landscaping?

An edible landscape simply celebrates and shows off the ornamental qualities of food plants in your yard. Instead of sectioned-off garden beds and enclosed planters, an edible landscape includes fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are planted out in the open. There, they integrate with the landscape and look just as stunning as the decorative flowers, trees, and shrubs. 

Benefits of Edible Landscapes

So, why should you consider edible landscaping? There are many benefits of growing your own food in your yard. Here are several of the major benefits below:

  • An eye-catching and beautiful landscape. Your yard will benefit from alluring and pleasing pops of green and other vibrant colors.

  • Environmental benefits. Replacing parts of a grass lawn with edible plants will reduce the amount of pesticides, water, and mowing needs required by your yard, making your home more eco-friendly. Plus, planting flowering plants will attract and support pollinators. 

  • Access to fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables. Having nutritious foods growing right outside your door can encourage you to eat healthier and add valuable nutrients to your diet.

  • Saving money on grocery store produce. Harvesting your own food crops will allow you to skip paying for them at the store. 

  • Soak up more vitamin D. While tending to the edible landscape outside, you’ll absorb more vitamin D, which supports bone and immune health. 

  • Decreased stress. Gardening can help lower stress levels, increase focus, and encourage more physical activity in your day. Therefore, an edible garden can make for a great addition to a happy home

The Best Plants for an Edible Landscape

As you get started planning your edible landscape, it’s important to know which plants to choose. There are lots of options to try out, but the veggies, fruits, and herbs below are ones that can grow especially well out in your landscape. 

Vegetables

  • Peppers: Choose cayenne peppers for a spicy option and bell peppers for something sweeter. Garden-harvested peppers make great fresh salad and salsa additions.
  • Artichokes: Not only do artichoke’s purple flowers bring lovely color to the garden, but the vegetable makes a healthy and delicious side dish for dinnertime. 
  • Eggplants: With rich purple fruit and tiny white flowers, eggplants also have leaves that are scratchy enough to keep hungry deer and other wildlife away from the garden.
  • Pole beans: Use a trellis to grow these tall-growing beans, which make for great veggie additions to any meal. 
  • Onions: Essential flavoring for many dishes, onions are great for an edible landscape because they aren’t appealing to hungry animals. 
  • Kale: Kale’s lacy leaves and colors that range from green to red make an eye-catching, not to mention ultra-healthy, member of the garden.
  • Tomatoes: A classic home gardening choice, tomatoes are great ingredients for soups, salads, and many other dishes.

Herbs

  • Chives: Not only are chives useful for cooking, but they also grow bright purple, tufted flowers that attract pollinators and keep the garden looking fresh.
  • Oregano: This kitchen staple is also a great garden addition for its aroma that detracts pests and wildlife.
  • Rosemary: Rosemary is cold-hardy, attracts pollinators, and sprouts lovely, purple blooms.
  • Sage: Another kitchen staple, sage is a hardy plant with gray-green leaves and colorful flowers.
  • Thyme: This culinary herb is an aromatic, evergreen perennial plant with a fresh smell and earthy flavor. 

Fruits

  • Blueberries: An ideal summer snack, blueberries grow on bushes that sprout delicate, lantern-shaped blooms. 
  • Strawberries: Delicious strawberry plants spread quickly to form excellent ground covers in the yard.
  • Currants: Red currants tolerate shade and moisture, and in the kitchen they can be made into tart jelly and smoothies.
  • Fruit trees (cherry, lemon, peach, pear, fig): Trees add some height variety to the landscape and can yield delicious fruit to share with family and neighbors. 

You can also grow edible flowers, such as roses, pansies, daisies, lavender, and hibiscus, in your edible landscape. These can make for great salad garnishes to add color to your meal.

Edible Landscape Design Ideas

To get started with your edible landscape, choose one or several of the plants above and mix them in with ornamental plants, such as flowers and shrubs. As you begin to grow your edible landscape, here are some garden design ideas and tips to keep in mind. 

  • Make sure you know your landscape. Be mindful of your yard and find a spot that gets adequate sunlight per day—around 6 hours or more is usually best. You’ll also want to test your soil nutrients so you can pick a healthy spot in the yard to grow your plants. Make sure the area is also easily accessible for watering your plants. 
  • Speaking of accessibility, you may want to consider installing a walkway of stepping stones or gravel around your plants. That way, you’ll be able to easily maneuver around the edible landscape to tend to your plants. You’ll also have a nice place to stroll around and admire the landscape!

With a little time and patience, you’ll be able to cultivate a lush and thriving food garden right in your own backyard. If you want to read more about edible landscaping, check out Angi’s infographic below!

 

Please include attribution to Angi.com with this graphic.

Edible Landscaping 101

Hana Rehman is a Chicago-based content creator who believes in the power of compelling stories. Her passion for creative writing has led her to cover unique home topics ranging from interior decorating to gardening. In her spare time you’ll find her exploring and listening to audiobooks while walking her dog.

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