The idea of creating an edible landscapes is one that has always appealed to me. I know that when planning your yard space it is not always the first thing on your mind but think about this. Millions of acres of productive land is being planted with lawns flower beds and hedges around homes all across America. This same land could be used to grow an abundance of food while still giving you a beautiful landscape to enjoy and be proud of. Thinking outside the box is all that is necessary and the rewards can be phenomenal. Let me give you a few examples.
Many people build arbors or pergolas to cover their patios or garden entrances, planting flowering vines to grow over them and provide a point of interest in the garden. Instead of wasting all this valuable growing space why not plant a few pots of flowers around the patio and grow grapes instead on your arbor or pergola. You will not only be infusing old world charm to your garden but providing fruit for your self and the local wild life.
Instead of flowering shrubs how about growing blueberries that bloom in the spring then give you decorative fruits and look appealing the year round. You can also grow fruit trees such as pears or plums. These trees bloom profusely in the spring and provide you with a bounty of fresh fruit every year. Not only will your yard look beautiful you will be saving a lot of money at the grocery store as well.
Lets take a look at your flower bed. Instead of planting flats of annuals why not give these beds over to vegetables and herbs. A bed planted with an herb border can be very attractive especially if planted with pepper plants that will give you a mixture of green, yellow, orange, and red fruits. Cucumber vines can replace annual screening vines on a trellis and help provide for a very cool summers menu as well as offering privacy. Purple eggplant hanging from the branches of a plant that already is interesting looking will give a splash in any area of the garden. If you want to brighten up and area sunflowers are the way to go they not only command your attention by their shear size but those giant flower heads are a real show stopper.
Why not layout your walkways and grow herbs like chamomile and oregano in between the stepping stones not only is this an attractive way to grow these herbs it is also a very pleasant fragrance when these plants get crushed underfoot while walking the garden paths.
These are just a few ideas that i have offered. It is important to take note that while you will be saving money you will be able to help your community as well. By growing more of your own produce you will be saving energy and pollution by not having to buy produce trucked in many miles from where it was grown. You will be eating healthier food because you will know it is chemical free. Excess fruit and vegetables can be donated to local food shelters or soup kitchens to help others in the community. I believe it is time we all explore growing edible landscapes!