Homeowners nationwide are heading outdoors as the weather gets warmer, donning their gardening gloves and giving their backyard landscaping a makeover. But did you know there are ways to design your landscape that are not only beautiful, but can also help save you money at the grocery store and make your household more eco-friendly? It’s true, and you can make it all possible in your backyard by planting fresh produce and herbs that you then consume through the summer! The National Gardening Association showcases edible landscaping as the trend hitting backyards right now and it’s the perfect time to get started in your yard, either with your landscaper or on your own. Not only will your yard look beautiful, but you can’t beat the taste of fresh fruits and vegetables right out of the garden.
Benefits of Edible Landscaping
Is there any benefit to edible landscaping rather than other types of landscaping? Of course! There are actually tons of benefits to yourself, your family, and the environment that make edible landscaping the right choice for any space.
If you’ve ever seen a flowering cherry tree or colorful flowering kale, you know just how gorgeous edible plants can be. Not to mention all the types of fruits and vegetables you can plant together to create a cohesive look for your yard.
All the hard work of maintaining a garden and backyard landscape pays off when you can then, quite literally, reap what you sow. Eating out of the garden can save a ton of money at the grocery store and you’ll always know exactly what’s available.
Along with spending money at the grocery store on produce you could easily grow, the fruits and veggies you buy have often come into contact with chemical fertilizer or been treated with chemical pesticides (or both). By growing your own, you can keep harmful chemicals out of your and your family’s diet.
Eco-friendly - Water:
Large-scale agricultural production facilities use literal tons of water to grow as much produce as they do, but not all of that water is used effectively and much of it is wasted. In your own garden, you can monitor just how much water is needed and save water for other uses.
Eco-friendly - Transportation:
The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture reports that “it is estimated that the average American meal travels about 1500 miles to get from farm to plate.” Large trucks carrying produce over those 1500 miles create a ton of air and noise pollution, contributing to the environmental changes we’re seeing every day. When you grow some of your own food, there’s less that has to travel such far distances and thus less pollution created. Think how big a difference if everyone made the choice!
Design Ideas for Edible Landscaping
Instead of the traditional vegetable rows, think about planting plots in blocks with pathways between them (either grass or stone paths). You can include a variety of plants in each plot to give your yard color and texture, and harvesting is much easier when you can reach all sides of the garden.
If you’re willing to think ‘outside the box’ a little, try incorporating veggies, such as lettuce or carrots, as border plants instead of traditional options. This will give the veggies enough space to grow, while also providing a natural border and delicious snacks for use in the kitchen.
Companion planting is a great way to both incorporate veggies and herbs and also keeps pests out of the garden. For instance, garlic works well planted with rosemary, and carrots do well with onions. Not only do you save space and add visual interest but bugs usually attracted to carrots, for example, will stay away due to the onion. It’s a great way to care for your plants without chemicals.
Fruit trees generally don’t grow to be super tall, which makes them great options for any yard. Not only is the fresh fruit delicious but fruit trees are great to use in the larger landscaping, like bordering a stone pathway or as shade for a relaxing adirondack chair or two.
Arbors and trellises were practically made for climbing plants like grapevines, and there’s nothing more romantic than sitting or walking under one. The dangling grapes will automatically transport you to a rustic vineyard (and they’re just as delicious to eat as they are to daydream under!).