A well-manicured, nicely landscaped yard is pleasing to the eye, but it can also provide a farmer’s market bounty. Why not get a return on your investment of water, fertilizer and time with edible landscaping? This will allow you to create a multi-functional landscape that provides returns of fruits, vegetables, and plants you can eat. An edible landscape can be just as attractive as a traditional one; in fact, the colorful fruits and foliage of many edibles are quite beautiful.
You don’t have to have a specific garden plot to have edible plants. They can blend in your landscape and perform the same functions as non-edible plants.
Here are some ways you can incorporate tasty plants into your landscape:
Blueberries make excellent hedges. They also have lovely spring blossoms and striking fall foliage. Blackberries and raspberries are also useful as hedges. They are great along a property boundary as well. Their aesthetic appeal includes flowers, form, and fruit color. In front of this hedge could be planted spring-flowering bulbs, and perennials such as peonies and low-growing, summer bloomers.
Need some shade in your yard? Plant a fruit tree. Try apples, pears, peaches, plums or persimmons. They have beautiful flowers in the spring with the added benefit of providing fruit in the fall.
There are several varieties of blueberries that can serve as groundcover. There is also a groundcover raspberry called Formosa Carpet. This is a spreading, vigorous and versatile semi-evergreen plant. It will thrive in shade as well as full sun, and the amber colored fruit has a good flavor.
Grapes are ideal trellis candidates with their climbing vines. They will provide the dense shade you seek on a sunny day and will also provide beautiful full clusters of grapes ready for picking. Plant multiple varieties for colorful (and tasty!) interest.
Whatever edible landscaping you choose, remember that ripening fruits and vegetables will require monitoring and maintenance during the harvest period. Also, you will need to take precautions from pests and hungry animals. Fruit dropped from trees will need to be picked up before they start rotting and attract unwanted creatures. Edible landscaping may take a little extra work, but the “fruits of your labor” are rewarding.