By Rosalind Creasy
Mother Earth News
Landscape design doesn’t have to stop with strictly ornamental plants — plenty of food-producing plants are gorgeous, too. As the gardening season winds down, it’s the perfect time to plan a whole-yard redesign. Consider turning your grassy lawn into a beautiful and bountiful edible garden. These edible-landscaping gurus will give you the inspiration you need to tear out the traditional lawn and start planting food, writes Mother Earth News.
Many people would plant a flowering vine to climb up and over this beautiful pergola. However, garden writer Mary-Kate Mackey planted grapevines at the corners of her Oregon backyard retreat (made of salvaged Douglas fir logs), giving her outdoor dining area a European feel.
I have been exploring edible landscaping options for more than 40 years, and the concept still strikes a deep chord with me. Americans cover millions of acres of valuable agricultural land around their homes with lawn, marigold and azalea beds, wisteria, and an occasional privet or maple. Yet as a landscape designer, I know most edible plants are beautiful and that homeowners could grow a meaningful amount of food in their yards — a much more noble use of the soil.
Instead of the typical landscape, we could minimize lawn areas and put in decorative borders of herbs, rainbow chard and striking paprika peppers. Instead of the fleeting color of spring azaleas, we could grow blueberries that are decorative year-round — or pear and plum trees that put on a spring show of flowers, have decorative fruits and yellow fall foliage. These plants aren’t just pretty — they provide scrumptious fruit and can save you money.
The Future Is Now
I’m convinced that, in addition to being a viable design option, an edible landscape (if maintained using organic methods) is the most compelling landscape concept for the future. Edible landscapes offer incredible benefits:
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