Image by Amy Suardi of Frugal-Mama.com

Harvesting Instead of Mowing

Convert your front lawn into a gardenscape. No more mowing… instead, you can harvest bounties of fresh garden vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruits!

Who decided that grass should be the “standard” house front? Sure, an expanse of fresh mown green lawn is beautiful, and who doesn’t love walking barefoot in the grass? But in the end, that expanse of land requires time, energy and money to maintain while giving only aesthetic pleasure in return.

You can’t eat grass, and some people are even allergic to it! So instead of time spent mowing, you can be tending garden plants that save money by producing food for your family. Instead of watering grass that needs mowing again each week, you can water edible plants that give sustenance and save money while adding beauty to your yard and neighborhood.

A couple years ago I was in Portland, Oregon with my family. Portland is a beautiful green city, with luscious gardens and abundant trees and flowers. We drove and strolled through neighborhoods with front yards like award-winning magazine covers. Even then, it was mostly ornamental trees and flowers.

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What if we could turn our front yards into attractive, crop producing, plots?

Instead of fighting traffic to shop for dinner after work, you can head home to enjoy fresh air while peacefully plucking vegetables… from garden to plate. If you have a family, even better, enjoy this as a family activity and time to unwind and share about your day while tending the garden and preparing dinner.1)https://gardensall.com/kids-and-gardening/

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Next, you’ll find info on yard gardening for profit… even on less than 1/4 acre, mention of places where it’s illegal to do front yard gardens! Or, skip to page 3 for more on front yard edibles.


Cover Image Photo: Credit Rebecca Sweet.2)http://harmonyinthegarden.com/portfolio/

Profit from Yard Gardens (if it’s Legal)!

We’ll get back to front yard gardens in a minute, but it’s important to share the topic that is of the greatest interest to many in the  Gardens All community: How to make money and even earn a living from gardening your yard or land.

Beyond feeding your family, some people are actually profiting by selling their produce! Some are earning six figures per year on less than 1/4 acre. How’s that for some additional income?! Whether your garden earns a few thousands extra per year or replaces your job and allows you to work full time farming at home… this could be something you’ll want to investigate.

An excellent book on this topic is MiniFARMING, by Brett L. Markham.

Illegal Front Yard Gardens

First, make sure you don’t live in one of the few cities where it’s illegal to garden in your own yard! When we first heard this we couldn’t believe it to be true, so we looked into it.

From our research there doesn’t seem to be a complete list of cities that have banned gardening. We dug deeper and found an article from Dr. Joseph Mercola that cites a few US and Canadian cites where front yard gardening is now illegal.3)http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/08/08/planting-vegetable-gardens.aspx

If it’s illegal in your state to front yard garden, then you might want to jump to our article on Home Owner’s Associations – HOAs.4)https://gardensall.com/guerilla-gardening-yard-gardens-and-homeowners-associations-hoas/

Cover Image Photo: Credit Rebecca Sweet

 

4 Tips for a Beautiful Front Yard Garden

by Ivette Soler, authorThe Edible Front Yard

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The successful edible front yard garden all comes down to the right plant in the right place.

We have to be brutally selective, following the same kind of rules used by ornamental gardeners, when choosing which edibles to plant out front. Yes, these extra generous plants do us the honor of feeding us, but when they are placed front and center they have another set of standards they need to meet.

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Here are my criteria for any edible plant to be included in a front yard garden:

1. The entire plant must have a pleasing form — it cannot stand on the merits of its flowers (or vegetable or fruit) alone.

2. It has to give me at least two reasons to plant it (such as color and form, or texture and seedpods).

3. Its leaves must hold up for the entire growing season. Some edibles have leaves that are susceptible to mildews, or are such heavy feeders that the foliage is just worn out by the end of the season. In the backyard, you can deal with it. In the front yard, plant something else.

4. If you must plant less ornamental edibles in the front yard because you have no other suitable space, pay extra attention to your hardscape. It’s a lot easier to overlook wilted cucumber leaves if they are supported by a beautiful trellis

Next: front yard edibles!

 

5 Edible Plants for a Front Yard Landscape

By Amy Suardi of Frugal-Mama.com 

An edible front yard, I decided, was the solution.  Like many people, we have a sunny-ish front yard and a shady back yard. The trick with planting food in the front is making it look good, as Ivette Soler emphasizes in her excellent book, Edible Front Yard.

Note:  We live in zone 7a of the mid-Atlantic region in Washington, D.C.  You can find your hardiness zone in this footnote link.5)http://www.garden.org/zipzone/index.php

Image: Amy Suardi
Image: Amy Suardi

 

1. Arugula

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Arugula was the very first food that we tasted from our first garden.  A milestone moment — and we are still getting enough crop for salad after salad. I buy other lettuce (as you know, the kids love crunchy white stuff) and then intermix them. I don’t think the children would have eaten arugula otherwise, but even my four-year-old has been spotted folding the leaves into his mouth.

My neighbor and author of the children’s book, Jo MacDonald Had a Garden, Mary Quattlebaum, says:

“Kids are more than twice as likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they grow them.”

2. “Wonderful” Pomegranate

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Image: Amy Suardi

It’s probably a long shot, but when we were looking for a mid-height bush to fill the vertical space between our holly tree and our veggie garden, someone suggested a pomegranate tree. If you have really limited space, you may want to try something like this dwarf bonsai pomegranate from Amazon.

Native to Iran, these bush-like trees are full and pretty. Our tree has flowered several times, but we need the right temperature and direct sun for it to bear fruit.

Pomegranates are delicious a fruit to eat fresh, with yogurt, sprinkled on salads or in smoothies.6)http://mytrainerfitness.com/recipe/orange-pomegranate-ginger-almond-coconut-green-tea/

 

3. ‘Pink Lemonade’ Blueberries

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Image: Amy Suardi

Here is our Pink Lemonade blueberry bush, so-named because its berries turn pink instead of blue when ripe.  This plant is much more beautiful than the other blueberry bushes we have:  shapely, tall, and lush with pretty leaves, as well as lots of pink berries. Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 5.14.37 PM

You can get Pink Lemonade Blueberry Bush plants from Amazon that are: 2 1/2 inch fiber potted plants with at least a two inch root system and are at least 4-6 inches tall with Free USPS Priority Shipping.

 

4. Basil, Flat-Leaf Parsley and Thyme

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Image: Amy Suardi

Fresh herbs have given big taste to our dinners.  I grab handfuls of Italian parsley, basil, and thyme, for example, and toss them in the skillet with some zucchini and tomatoes for a fresh pasta sauce.

We’re not at the point where we can make basil pesto yet, but having ready herbs has made our cooking much fuller, a taste that you would pay dearly for at the grocery store.

 

 

5. Strawberries

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Image: Amy Suardi

Out of 10 bare-root plants that we planted in this strawberry pot, about five are flourishing. However, a friend tells me that they may not bear fruit this year. While this is not a terrible thing, it’s a little disappointing.  If you are considering growing strawberries, you might want to spend a few extra dollars to buy established strawberry plants. It’s not so expensive when you consider how much it could save in buying them over the summer.7)http://www.frugal-mama.com/2012/06/16-edible-plants-that-are-thriving-in-our-front-yard-garden-and-3-that-are-not/

You may also enjoy this BEAUTIFUL “Strawberry Jar“.

Are you growing in your front yard?  If so we’d love to know more about what you’re growing/grown.  Feel free to share on the Facebook Page!

 

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For more amazing, award winning gardenscapes by landscape design artists, Rebecca Sweet, author this photo, visit Rebecca’s siteHarmonyInTheGarden.com8)http://harmonyinthegarden.com/portfolio/

References   [ + ]

  • Jay Jackson

    I would add rosemary. I use it as a hedge. Blooms beautiful blue flowers. I use larger branches as skewers for shrimp. Plus it just smells great. My kids always run their hands over it and then smell them. Bees love the flowers as well.

  • LeAura

    Oh hey, Jay! Sorry for the lat reply. We don’t get to many comments on our articles, so it’s great to see yours here.

    Totally agree with you. We LOVE rosemary, and use it to make some of our own home remedies in addition to use in cooking.

    🙂
    LeAura