Growing all your food is a great goal to strive for, but what do you do when you only have a small amount of land? You may not have the space for a giant garden, but you can still sneak in edibles all around your property. The trick is to hide your food crops within a more traditional landscape. Here are some easy landscaping ideas that can help you grow more food, while still keeping a beautiful city yard.
Easy Landscaping Ideas For Concealed Food In The City
Want pictures of some beautiful landscapes that incorporate edible and useful plants? Check out the book, Gardening Like a Ninja: A Guide To Sneaking Delicious Edibles Into Your Landscape.
Plant Useful Trees
If you own your property and are planning to be there for a long period of time, start out by planting useful trees. Fruit trees can be a good choice, and most of them are attractive even when not producing. Also think about adding in nut trees. If you don’t have space for a full size tree there are plenty of dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties now, and even self pollinating trees so you only need one instead of two.
Do double duty with shrubs
Even if you already have trees in your landscape, most trees are happier with some friends. There are many useful shrubs out there. For example, the bay laurel is used in cooking, and it’s an attractive evergreen shrub that can be used instead of overly popular juniper bushes.
Roses are both beautiful and useful if you choose varieties that grow hips. Rose hips are a great source of vitamin C! They also have the benefit of making an impenetrable barrier, which can be very useful in maintaining property lines.
Bushy herbs also make great shrubs for around trees, along borders, or along the foundation. Good choices include rosemary and lavender, as they remain evergreen and need very little maintenance. Here are some tips on growing rosemary.
Pick attractive edibles
If you have established plantings, fill in around the edges with edible plants that are also attractive. There are some very beautiful cauliflower plants and cabbages. Some are even sold as ornamental plants!
One of my favorite plants to grow is rainbow chard. It’s easy for gardening challenged people like me. It has beautiful colors and visual interest. Plus, it’s very useful and versatile in the kitchen! Chard makes great green smoothies, can be added raw to salads, or can be cooked like spinach.
Get more ideas on attractive edible plants from the book Gardening Like a Ninja: A Guide To Sneaking Delicious Edibles Into Your Landscape.
Include lots of flowers
There are so many useful and beautiful flowers out there, it would take forever to name them all. Think about adding in flowers with herbal uses such as echinacea, feverfew, or calendula. You can also plant flowers that will attract beneficial insects and pollinators. Good choices would be comfrey, borage, and bee balm.
And of course there are edible flowers themselves such as nasturtium or sunflowers! It can be particularly fun to group flowers together by using color to create a specific look.
In my Portland house the front yard herb garden included both white feverfew, daisies, and white queen anne’s lace flowers. In combination with the white fencing and white trim on our house it added a cohesive look that helped tie together some of the other plants in the front yard. (Read more in Beautiful Front Yard Gardens Save You Time And Money).
Have a green ground cover
Instead of using a mulch or straw ground cover, try using something green to add more visual interest and keep down weeds. Strawberries make great ground covers, as do low growing herbs such as thyme. They will be much lovelier than black plastic or that popular prickly wood mulch! You can also include flowers as ground covers such as sweet alyssum or sweet woodruff.
By selecting plants that are both beautiful and useful, you can do double duty even within a small space. Hopefully these easy landscaping ideas will help you make the most of your yard, even if you live in the city!
And feel free to check out Gardening Like a Ninja: A Guide To Sneaking Delicious Edibles Into Your Landscape for more details and plans for front yard landscaping.
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