Less Noise, More Green: Front yard edible landscaping redesign - second time's a charm!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Front yard edible landscaping redesign - second time's a charm!

This is sunrise at Still House Cove, just around the corner from my house.                  Photo by Michael St. Jean

We were very lucky this week and just got grazed by a major storm. We had strong winds but barely a dusting of snow. Today is cool but the sun is shining and it feels right to be thinking about all things green! 

As I shared in my last post, a big rethink has happened concerning the redesign of my front yard. I was never really happy with the original plan I came up with (you can see it here). My vision for these beds is using edible plants to create an attractive but useful landscape and I feel I have achieved that better with this redesign.

Here is the new lay out:


As you can see, I have divided the beds up into four zones according to the height of the plants: zone 1 being the shortest and zone 4 being the tallest. The yard slopes slightly towards the street so I plan to plant perennial edible ground cover plants (strawberries and cranberries) along the stone wall to help prevent soil erosion.

This is the list of plants I will have to work with, separated into zones by height:

Zone 1                    Zone 2                      Zone 3                    Zone 4
Under 1 ft.                         1ft-2ft                                  2ft-3ft                             over 3ft

strawberries (p)                chives (p)                           rhubarb (p)                       hollyhocks (p)
cranberries (p)                  lemon balm (p)                blacked eyed susans(p)         bee balm (p)
violas (p)                          oregano (p)                        lavender (p)                       sunflowers
thyme (p)                          asters                                  sage (p)                      vine nasturtiums
marigolds                     dwarf batchelor's buttons      blue boy batch. buttons      morning glories
border nasturtiums             sweet peppers                      poppies
geraniums                          zinnias                                calendula
lettuce                               zucchini (patio)                    eggplant
red cabbage                  peppermint swiss chard            tuscany kale
                                  new zealand spinach

(p) perennial

Rosemary and mint - containers

I plan to add visual interest by using trellises and ceramic planters. The planters are practical as well as a design feature. Herbs, such as mint, will spread and take over the beds if not grown in a pot and rosemary must be brought inside over winter so container gardening is the way to go here, too. Originally I planned to plant a lot of lavender. After more research, I decided that lavender’s sandy soil requirements make it a hard plant to mix into a free form design. I have two beautiful pots I can use for lavender and then mix up the soil just as they like it.

Rhubarb continues to be one of the few signs of life in the garden. So far I only see new growth in four of my eight plants.

As I hope to pack the plants in, I will place stepping stones throughout the beds to prevent my big feet causing compacted soil!

Almost all of the plants I plan to use are edible, including the flowers, and will be grown from seed. I’m hoping I can strike the right balance between formal garden and country cottage by creating a design that looks unintentional rather than just messy! Most of all I hope the incorporation of edibles will spark conversation with neighbors and maybe encourage some of them to try growing some of their own food.

Wish me luck as I join the less lawns, more food movement!