Edible landscaping describes a hybrid approach to landscaping and gardening, using food plants in conjunction with ornamental or decorative plants to create and enhance the lawns and gardens around your home.
This approach doesn’t just beautify your home; it also provides you with a bountiful harvest of fruit and vegetables for your family to enjoy. Follow these tips to get started on your own edible and aesthetic landscape design.
Start with a Little Research
Fruit trees, berry bushes and vegetables can be planted alongside flowers, ornamental grasses and deciduous or evergreen trees with eye-catching results. But in order for your edible landscaping to grow successfully, spend a little time researching the plants you would like to use. It is important to evaluate the soil, water and sunlight requirements for each type of plant, so that you can group them with other food plants or ornamentals that require similar growing conditions.
Annual vegetables and fruit trees need a great deal of sun and rich soil. Consequently, they could be paired successfully with other sun-loving plants like marigolds, lavender or daisies.
Other edibles like herbs are suitable for drier, rockier soil, and might do well paired with deciduous shrubs and ferns. Do your research and you’ll end up with a healthy and successful garden.
Consider the Landscape Design
Edible landscaping uses the same design principles as ornamental landscaping. When making a plan for where to put any plant, it is essential to consider the existing landscape’s elements.
You may want to enhance the look of a flagstone path, for example, or add some ground cover around a shade tree. Or, you might want to remove certain elements, like an out-of-place hedge or a patch of lilies or violets that are taking over the garden.
Analyze your landscape, thinking vertically and horizontally, to determine which edible and ornamental plants can best enhance your home’s features.
Make a Blueprint
When designing edible landscaping, it can be helpful to create a blueprint. With a scaled-down map of your property, you can plan out where each type of plant will go. This provides a comprehensive view of the complete landscape, and better allows you to integrate edible plants along with various decorative trees, shrubs, vines and other plants. If your yard is large, start small with a single section.
Keep in mind that edible plants often require more care than ornamental varieties, not only with maintenance, but also in the form of harvesting and cooking or preserving the food.
By starting small, you can get an idea of the amount of work you will need to put in to care for the plants. You can always scale up and spread the edible landscaping to other areas of your garden next year.
A great way to research this exciting concept is to talk with your local garden center. If you are interested in learning more about planting edibles along with ornamentals for a prosperous and beautiful landscape, stop by Millcreek Gardens. In the Salt Lake City area, we are the premier, locally owned and operated garden center. We have everything you need, including expert advice, to help you bring your dream for edible landscaping to life.