The modern American home is currently a purely cosmetic landscape. It simply will not do to defy convention! A clean weed free lawn and no messy piles or unsightly plants are prerequisites to being allowed to stay in many neighborhoods. Vegetables and vegetable gardens are prohibited in some HOA bylaws.
No matter where you live,
enjoy the profits of good design and good stewardship
from your landscape space.
Recently, more and more families are enjoying the expression of their personal tastes as well as having fun with edibles. Few of us in the urban environment can be totally food ready, but we can lessen the impacts of the unknowable future. It is possible to have beauty and a functional landscape. How useful and productive depends on the size and specifics of each property, of course. Many edible landscapes are excellent examples of Good Stewardship.
Why not grow figs as small ornamental trees? Or peaches, Asian pears, apples, a new variety of persimmon? Why grow fruitless trees when one can at least have the potential of a harvest? Consider the fruits a bonus to complement the inherent beauty of the plant.
A mass of cabbages whether red or green is just as delightful to the eye as any inedible annual that we insist on planting for cosmetic purposes. Buttercrunch lettuces are simply gorgeous as they unfurl their foliage. Beets and their leaves can be a beautiful border to a shrub bed or even a sidewalk, and growing your own beets will save you serious money at the grocery store.
Do you like Hibiscus flowers? Plant okra, it is in the Hibiscus family. Would you like a fast growing vine to grow over your arbor or to trail across your porch railing? Consider Malabar spinach or Hyacinth bean vine.
No residential landscape is completely maintenance free. Edibles can and do require maintenance as well, however there is often a reward for your expenditure that goes far beyond the cosmetic contribution that a conventional landscape can offer. We spend incredible amounts of money and time in caring for our cosmetic landscapes, many of which are poorly designed and are wasteful of resources in their upkeep.
The well designed residential landscape should provide at a minimum
1) privacy from neighbors
2) keep mud and dirt out of the house
3) minimize soil erosion
4) provide utility and service areas for garbage cans, compost piles, cord wood, as well offer the opportunity to dry the wash.
5) perhaps there is enough outdoor area for a vegetable garden.
6) properly placed trees can block the western sun in summer and allow the sun to warm the house in the winter.