by Texas Homesteader ~
What if you could have a beautiful flowerbed in front of your home and harvest food from it too? Edible landscaping is simply choosing pretty vegetable and herb plants in different sizes, shapes and textures to plant right into your decorative garden. I’ll give you tips on how to plant a beautiful yet edible garden right in front of your home for all to see!
Planting Edible Plants In Your Flower Beds
There’s no reason to restrict growing food to your vegetable garden. Several years ago I became interested in dual-purpose or edible landscaping. It’s a two-fer deal!
Just because a plant is edible doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful, right? Herbs are a perfect example.
I have a large sage plant in my front ‘flower bed’. I’m constantly stepping out on the porch and picking fresh sage to include with my cooking. You really don’t get any fresher than that!
But it also blooms beautiful purple blooms. And our honeybees love them too. A beautiful, edible AND pollinator friendly option? YES PLEASE!
My edible landscape offers lots of visual appeal – the pretty blooms of the herbs intermingled with the varying leaf textures of the other veggie plants.
Where Can I Plant My Edible Garden?
You may wonder where is the best place to plant your decorative edible garden? Or perhaps you’re worried about an Edible Landscape In An HOA Community?
Don’t worry, it can be done! Just because a plant’s edible doesn’t mean it’s ugly. You can plant a beautiful edible landscape:
In your front flower bed.
As a more beautiful vegetable garden design.
A pretty raised bed using a galvanized trough.
Just combine the different textures that appeal to you.
What Plants Work Well For Edible Landscape?
There are several plants that work well with edible landscape. Especially pretty flowering herbs. But don’t limit your design to just herbs!
Carrots have pretty lacy leaves and don’t grow tall. I like to use them as a border.
Spinach leaves are rustic and interestingly textured.
Bush-variety squash with their large lobed leaves makes a pretty anchor plant.
Sage blooms beautifully and grows into a small to medium sized bush.
Plants That Stay Short
When designing your edible landscape it’s best to layer different sizes of plants. You don’t want your short plants hidden by taller plants. So plant your shorter plants in the front as a pretty edible border.
Strawberries – grow low to the ground and spread by runners. Also nice interest in raised beds.
Carrots – Only the pretty lacy fern-like tops are visible.
Spinach – Heavy and crinkle-textured leaves.
Kale – Thick ruffled leaves.
Thyme – low-growing herb that blooms readily to the honeybee’s delight!
Medium Sized Edible Plants
Pretty medium-sized plants can be planted behind the lower-growing plants. This will add some depth and interest to your edible landscape. Some examples of medium-sized plants are:
Basil – Grows about a foot tall and has small light-green leaves. I allow it to bloom which helps the honeybees as well as reseeding for the next round of plants.
Cilantro – Bloom stalks grow taller and offer white lacy blooms. And cilantro seeds are coriander – an herb AND a spice in one plant!
Colorful Peppers – aim for the smaller and most colorful pepper varieties for a nice pop of color.
Bushy Edible Landscape Plants
Anchor your edible landscape with a bushy plant.
Rosemary – Evergreen, purple blossoms and pollinator friendly.
Bush-types of squash – Prolific producer & a nice anchor plant in your landscape.
Blueberries (either full sized or miniature). I planted my miniature blueberry in a rustic galvanized tub and I love what it adds to my landscape among my other galvanized beds.
So don’t be afraid to add interest to your landscape using fun or interesting things.
Think about an old rustic galvanized tub, a pretty trellis, shepherd’s hook with a pretty windchime or eye-catching sun catcher, etc.
Taller Edible Landscape Plants
You can even add a backdrop of taller edible plants at the back of your pretty edible landscape bed. Some things can be accented with a pretty trellis.
Corn – Tall & slender growing.
Okra – Woody stalk grows tall, flowers prolifically.
Cherry Tomatoes – Prolific producer, use a cage or tie to a trellis to contain the plant.
Thornless Blackberries – Blooms readily, use a pretty trellis to showcase as well as support.
Peas & Beans – Use a trellis for these productive vines
Ground-Cover Edible Plants
I love to make sure I have my ground covered at all times. I use vining plants as a Living Mulch.
Sweet Potatoes (those pretty purple sweet potatoes are all the rage now!)
Cantaloupe – Small hand-sized leaves grow rapidly
Vining Squash – Same as cantaloupe but with plate-sized leaves.
Trees In Your Edible Landscape
My dad always said, “If you’re going to plant a tree for shade (or landscaping), it might as well give you something to eat!” Thanks dad – so true.
It’s probably best to stick to miniature varieties here unless you have lots of space & can utilized a large amount of fruit each year.
And it’s also best to plant these far enough from the house that they don’t harm your foundation or roof as they grow. They’re usually best planted in the yard instead of in your flowerbed. (See my tips for Planting Trees)
I planted a pair of Jonathon apple trees in our front yard. These are smaller varieties that only get about 10-ft tall when fully mature. So they work very well in our yard.
Trees for landscaping beauty, gorgeous light-pink flowers in the spring, and apples to eat as well later in the season. What’s not to love??
Natural Mulch For Your Edible Landscape Bed
Now that you have your edible landscape bed set up, there are some natural ways to keep weeds down and preserve the moisture too.
If you’ve planted one of the spreading/vining plants listed above, you have your own Living Mulch. I use this method often – it’s mulch that grows and still gives me food!
But if you haven’t planted living mulch you can still accomplish some weed control and moisture retention in other ways.
I like to lay down cardboard between plants, or use heavy paper feed sacks as biodegradable weed block.
The paper will decompose over time but in the meantime it will keep any weeds from popping through for the whole season! #WorkSmarterNotHarder.
Then I top the paper with free wood chips I get from our county.
They both help beautify my edible landscape. And they’re FREE!
Edible Landscape: Change It Up Every Year!
When it comes to my front flowerbed plantings, I typically mix this plan up each year as I play with the front flowerbed section of my landscaping.
It’s lots of fun to change it out each year. And I promise you that stepping onto the front porch to harvest fresh spinach or home-grown carrots for a dinner party is sure to get the conversation going!
My Favorite Garden Hacks
- Easy Garden Planning Spreadsheet
- Getting A Jump: Planting An Indoor Greenhouse
- Repurposed Cardboard Seed-Starting Pots
- 3-Sister’s Garden – The Original Companion Planting
- Planting A Large Galvanized Trough
- Tricking Birds AWAY From Your Strawberry Plants
- Easy Compost For A Healthy Garden
- Propping Tender Seedlings
- Cheap (or FREE) Wood Mulch For The Garden
- Homestead Hack: Remember Where You Planted Seeds
- How Vegetable Gardening Can Change Your Life!
- Keeping Potted Plants Watered
- Planting A Blueberry Bush In Galvanized Tub
- Stevia – Growing Your Own Sweetener!
- How I Use EcoBricks In The Garden
- Compost Old Confidential Documents
- Repurposing A Coffee Can For Deep-Soak Watering
- How Leaves Benefit Your Garden
- My Simple, Zero-Waste Herb Drying Setup
- How To Grow Fresh Salad Greens In All Seasons
MORE Gardening Posts
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I love this idea! Especially with the herbs and fruit bearing trees! We planted mounds of lavender around our place but I now want to add some rosemary too! Thank you for sharing this week on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! 🙂
OMGosh JES, I love my rosemary! (and I have several bushes) They’re evergreen, have beautiful purple flowers and will actually LIVE in this valley of death yard where we apparently planted our home. LOL Plus it’s edible and usable in beauty products – what’s not to love?? ~TxH~
Love your garden ideas. I have placed some gardening ideas on my blog and I just can’t wait to start planting this year. Happy gardening.
🙂 Daddy always said, “A tree can offer you shade to sit under on a hot summer’s day, it might as well give you something to eat while you sit!” LOL! Such a wise man he is! ~TxH~
Love it. Fabulous idea. I hope you can keep the critters out! I planted some carrots too a week ago. Nothing up yet. I sure hope they sprout! Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful day.
Fun idea! I’m going to try some container gardening this year I hope! Thanks for joining TTF!
I love this idea. We do this a lot with vertical, climbing plants. squash, cucumbers, Scarlet Runner pole beans, Purple Podded pole beans…so much fun!
Stopping by from Oak Hill Homestead: HomeAcre Hop
I want to do more with vertical plants this year too Megan. Hummm…. ~TxH~
Beautiful edible landscaping has been my goal for many years; so far have dwarf fruit and nut trees and a decorative herb garden with a bay tree in the center. Hopefully everything will survive our drought!
Thanks for sharing on HomeAcre Hop. I think it’s great for people to be thinking both edible and ornamental at the same time. We did this as we planted trees and shrubs, but not all of it was intentional! We intentionally planted certain fruit, nut and berry trees/shrubs for the food they provide us, but eventually I learned that some of the others we planted, both for ornamental and wildlife value, are edible for people. A great surprise.
That is a great surprise Janet. I had my ‘slaps forehead moment’ when I began trying to design the flower bed for our new home years ago. I’ve really enjoyed dabbling with it ever since. ~TxH~
What a great idea. I wish we had more sunlight to implement this at our house. Thanks for sharing!
I would like to go more in this direction. I’m going to be replacing some worn-out shrubs with more edibles.
Yael from Home Garden Diggers
It’s a lot of fun coming up with different things to either tuck into existing landscape or like me design a small area of the overall flower bed each year anew! ~TxH~
Your rosemary plant is beautiful. Every time I get one, I kill it. What kind of soil do you have it in?
I have several rosemary plants – they like the hot & dry of my sandy loam soil so they work well here. One rosemary plant is a little too close to a downspout and although the water from it disburses well, it’s just too much moisture & that rosemary plant struggles while rosemary planted in other areas are as big as shrubs! It’s going to hurt my heart to hack the large 4-ft tall rosemary outside the back door this year but RancherMan has been asking me to cut it back for 2 years so this year I’ll trim it back some. ~TxH~
Fabulous ideas! I hope to do more of this with our next home. Why walk all the way to the backyard when a front porch bed would do just as well? ;0)
I love doing this also……….we have a “homestead-wannabe” in the city and WANT to get to the country, but so far the Lord hasn’t allowed that………….so,………….we make really good use of our 1/4 acre property…..and manage to still make it look “pretty” which helps w/ the neighbors. So many useful plants can be tucked in among the showy flowers and other stuff, so that they are useful, but not as noticed. Thanks for the post. 🙂 gentlejoyhomemaker.blogspot.com
Each of us has little things we can do right where we are today to be able to bloom where we’re planted. Good for you for finding that homestead attitude right where you are! ~TxH~
Brilliant! What a great idea. I am a BRAND new gardener and new to the healthy lifestyle all together. I would love to grow some of the produce that we are consuming soo much now.
My hubby just filled our front flower beds a few months ago with expensive red cedar mulch. Will this work?
I found you at ‘new life on a homestead’ blog hop
Thanks and blessings,
Shan, anywhere you are planting landscape plants you can tuck in pretty edible plants as well. It doesn’t have to be an all or none thing either, you can plant as much or as little as you like. Start small by planting a line of pretty foliage like spinach in your existing beds. Then maybe try others as you go. It’s fun to play with this design! ~TxH~
Great thoughts! I do the same thing with some flowering herbs in our flower beds (lavender, sage, and hopefully camomile this year) and we have a plum tree as an ornamental tree. Really, fruit trees have beautiful blossoms and great shape if they’re cared for–why not enjoy them around the house?! Thanks for linking up with us for Everything Gardening!
Jamie, sounds like you and I are of the same landscaping mindset. Why not have a beautiful landscape that includes things you can EAT?? LOL ~TxH~
What a cool idea! Our place is still pretty torn up from recent construction so landscaping will take a while but I will keep this in mind. We grow some beautiful lettuces.
I’m with you! I would love to do this more with herbs in our existing flower beds around the yard once I get my gardens going the way they need to be. We have many fruit trees that will provide us shade, beauty and fruit as well. Great post! Thanks for sharing it at the Farm Girl Blog Fest!
What a good idea I am definitely going to take a stab at that on our little farm yards garden next to the house this year. 🙂
Great idea! I am going to try to interplant/companion plant more to get more crops/square foot. That one little area is producing A LOT of food! YUM
Katy, I’ve studied companion planting as well. I have a spreadsheet year-to-year of what veggies I planted where in my raised beds each year – they’re already set up to be companion planted so I just rotate. Thanks for stopping by! ~TxH~
Edible landscape, now that makes perfect sense. Food and beauty all at the same time. Thanks!
Yes! I love this! I’m not much good at landscaping, so I tend to pretty much just fill the flower beds with vegetables in what looks like the most practical way to me. 😛
I was reading the other day that in some communities, edible landscaping is frowned upon, and sometimes downright forbidden. What? Why?! You’d think in today’s age of everybody going green and trying to solve world hunger and the energy crisis, the HOA would be on board with this.
I’m shocked Elise that HOA’s would have THAT much power over your flowerbeds, but even then that’s the beauty of this method. You don’t have to grow tomatoes with cages in the flower bed, you can discretely tuck in lettuces and carrots as borders. A shrub of blueberries looks much like any other shrub. If your flower bed looks like any of your neighbors landscaping (except the fact that you can EAT yours) there shouldn’t be any complaints. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! ~TxH~
Great idea to mix in veggies with flowers!! “Bright Lights Swiss Chard,” “Lollo Rosso Lettuce” and “Sweet Pickle Ornamental Peppers” would be beautiful too…oh and “Cardinal Basil!” Sorry, I’m trying to plant for you because all my flower beds have been planted for years and years with perennial flowers and herbs… 🙂 Great post and lots of great ideas for the landscape!! I will share this with a friend who is just moving into a house!! 🙂
Nancy, I was thinking swiss chard and ornamental peppers as well. Great minds, eh? Thanks for stopping by! ~TxH~