Dual-Purpose Edible Landscaping For Beauty & Food

by Texas Homesteader~ 

Several years ago I became interested in dual-purpose or edible landscaping. It’s a two-fer deal!

I mean, just because a plant is edible doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful, right? Herbs are a perfect example.

For instance I have a large sage plant in my front ‘flower bed’. I’m constantly stepping out on the porch and picking some 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!

Just because it's an edible plant doesn't mean it can't be part of a beautiful garden landscape. And oftentimes it's pollinator friendly too! Come see my tips. #TexasHomesteader

Interesting Leaves

But your edible landscape doesn’t have to be limited to pretty flowering herbs. Sometimes the leaves of the plant itself are beautiful.

For instance I noticed how beautiful and fern-like the tops of carrots are. So I got to wondering  – why not plant them as a border in my front flowerbed? 

So I planted a line of carrots against the porch to take advantage of those pretty lacy leaves. Then I planted a section of spinach next to them. I loved that it broke up the lacy leaves with the spinach’s more rustic thick crinkle-textured leaves.

I even planned for a large anchor-plant of a bush-growing squash too. To me at least, the heavy leaves looked similar to some pretty yet expensive and single-purpose tropical plants I’ve seen showcased in other people’s landscape.

All together it all offered lots of visual appeal – the blooms of the herbs intermingled with the varying leave textures of the other plants.

And I mulched the whole shebangie with straw hay which decomposes and enriches the soil each year.

Carrot border. EDIBLE LANDSCAPING: There's no reason you can't plant beautiful yet edible plants right in your decorative landscaping! #TexasHomesteader

Blueberries Are Bushes Too!

Then one day I saw some beautiful landscaping shrubs in a plant nursery. Those shrubs displayed colorful (yet non-edible) berries. So I thought, why not blueberries?

I planted two varieties of blueberry bushes in the flowerbed. It’s fun to pick fresh blueberries often to eat fresh and freeze the excess.

I even placed a large piece of fat-lighter wood behind the blueberries just for interest. But fat-lighter is a coveted wood for anyone with a chiminea or a wood fireplace. So it will be used for that purpose when the time is right. But in the meantime, it decorates my landscape.

Then I Planted a miniature blueberry In An Old, Galvanized Tub. I love that this will actually be a decorative feature right off our porch.

Blueberry bush. EDIBLE LANDSCAPING: There's no reason you can't plant beautiful yet edible plants right in your decorative landscaping! #TexasHomesteader

The rustic galvanized look ties in perfectly with my other Galvanized Trough Raised-Beds.

And harvesting couldn’t be easier – just step right off the back porch and harvest as many as you like.

Tree For Shade, Tree For Food

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.

So I planted a pair of Jonathon apple trees. 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??

Apple tree blossom. EDIBLE LANDSCAPING: There's no reason you can't plant beautiful yet edible plants right in your decorative landscaping! #TexasHomesteaderEvergreen Rosemary Bush

And of course I love my blooming Rosemary. It’s got great evergreen color, pretty purple flowers in the spring & wonderful for both cooking and soap making.

I have several large rosemary bushes planted around our home. They grow well in my area of NE Texas. And our honeybees love the blooms.

Blooming rosemary. EDIBLE LANDSCAPING: There's no reason you can't plant beautiful yet edible plants right in your decorative landscaping! #TexasHomesteader

When it comes to the 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!


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39 thoughts on “Dual-Purpose Edible Landscaping For Beauty & Food

  1. JES

    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! 🙂

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      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~

  2. MIssy

    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.


    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      🙂 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~

  3. Sherry in Texas

    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.

  4. Kristin

    Great post. love edible landscaping – there are so many plants that are equally beautiful and provide wonderful nourishment. Thanks for sharing on Wildcrafting Wednesdays! I hope you’ll join us this week and share more of your awesome posts.

  5. Linda

    I’m inspired now. The yard and garden have been cleaned up and I can see possibilities. This is a pretty idea. Thanks. for sharing at What’d You Do This Weekend.


  6. Linda @ A La Carte

    Fun idea! I’m going to try some container gardening this year I hope! Thanks for joining TTF!

  7. Megan @ Purple Dancing Dahlias

    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

  8. Mary G

    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!

  9. janetpesaturo

    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.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      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~

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      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~

  10. Colleen

    Your rosemary plant is beautiful. Every time I get one, I kill it. What kind of soil do you have it in?

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      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~

  11. daisy

    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)

  12. Gentle Joy

    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

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      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~

  13. Shan

    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,

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      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~

  14. Jamie (@va_grown)

    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!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      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~

  15. Texas Homesteader Post author

    Barb, it’s fun to change it up every year too. Plus you don’t get much closer to your garden than right out your front door. LOL Thanks for stopping by. ~TxH~

  16. Jenny

    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.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Jenny, with spring around the corner it’s a perfect time to amend your flowerbed soil & throw in some herbs or veggies. Fun planning! ~TxH~

  17. Willow

    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. 🙂

  18. Kristi @Let This Mind Be in You

    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!

    ~Kristi@Let This Mind Be in You

  19. katy

    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

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      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~

  20. Kathy M

    Edible landscape, now that makes perfect sense. Food and beauty all at the same time. Thanks!

  21. Elise

    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.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      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~

  22. Nancy@livininthegreen

    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!! 🙂

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Nancy, I was thinking swiss chard and ornamental peppers as well. Great minds, eh? Thanks for stopping by! ~TxH~

  23. Texas Homesteader Post author

    Thanks for stopping by Cara. The good thing about our edible landscaping is that I’ve chosen just a small area in the front flowerbeds to play with each year. I can add to it of course but the area right outside my front door is great for both cool-weather greens and herbs, but I don’t get overwhelmed trying to do too much at one time. I’ve found it to be great fun and as I stated a good conversation piece with dinner guests! ~TxH~

  24. Cara

    Stopping by from the Eco Kids Blog Hop. What great ideas! We are starting to garden, but only have space for 2 small garden boxes. I am sure we could find room in more random spaces and it will look pretty too.


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