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The list of beautiful edibles is practically endless, and there are countless advantages of incorporating them into your overall landscape design. The edible landscape in action: instead of a flowering vine, garden writer Mary-Kate Mackey planted grapevines at the corners of this pergola in her Oregon backyard retreat. The edible landscape concept strikes a deep chord with me; I've been exploring its many options and variations for more than 40 years.
Edible landscaping is the practical integration of food plants within an ornamental or decorative setting. Edible plants can be combined in many creative ways-with other edibles, or with ornamentals.
The most important design elements for an edible landscape are strong, firm lines and structure.
Sue Hamilton, director of the University of Tennessee Gardens, grows blueberries, elderberries, oxblood beets, edible ornamental peppers, tomatoes, giant mustard greens, a columnar apple tree, and lots of herbs and edible flowers. Another advantage of edible landscaping means less time spent mowing and more time with the whole family learning to care for the land. Beauty and bounty can thrive together if you take the time to design a multifunctional edible landscape. The same design principles as for ornamental landscapes are used, while substituting edible plants such as lettuces, blueberries, vegetables and fruit trees for some of the otherwise unproductive plant material. There are tasty and ornamental edible plants for just about any garden setting in any climate. With edible plants, the main goal is a diversity of food on your table and not just the look of your yard.

Vegetables and herbs are escaping from backyards and making their way into the side and even frontyards of homes throughout the city. If you are new to gardening you might want to consult a professional designer who specializes in edible landscapes to help get you started. Edible landscaping, an increasingly popular gardening trend, brings herbs, berries, fruit trees and vegetables out of dedicated garden beds and beyond the backyard for their beauty as well as their bounty. Using edibles in landscape design can enhance a garden by providing a unique ornamental component with additional health, aesthetic, and economic benefits. However, in a purely aesthetic sense, adding edibles to your design provides a greater mixture of textures, forms, and colors than a typical ornamental landscape.
Temper spring enthusiasm with the knowledge that many edible plants not only need maintenance (mulching, watering, weeding, feeding, and pruning), but also take effort in the form of harvesting and cooking- and preserving a large harvest. More and more people are starting to turn their landscapes and lawns over to edible plants. The idea is to mix and mingle plantings that include edibles in every space available to achieve an aesthetically pleasing landscape design that will also feed a family.
In order to counterbalance this mix of plants, it helps to almost over-emphasize the line and structure of your landscaping elements. A member of the cucumber family, when small the fruits are edible and when they mature and hollow out they can be peeled and cleaned to make your own sponges.
Your edible landscape helps form a connection with nature and disconnect from the television and video games. On the other hand, there are culinary herbs suitable for rocky or poor soils, and a few perennial edibles for wet locations.

In fact, filling the yard with edibles would often produce too much food for most families, not to mention time and work. Theoretically, any edible plant can be used in an ornamental landscape; but practically and aesthetically, some are better suited than others. On the other hand converting your entire lawn and planting all edibles would be a considerable investment in time.
Without the backbone of an integrated design, an edible landscape can become just another scraggly vegetable patch. This is my number one favorite edible landscape plant — and most people don’t realize the tasty berries are edible! This is critically important in an edible garden because the beds are more apt to have plants with a wide array of textures, sizes, and shapes, such as frilly carrot leaves, mounding peppers, and climbing beans. First, make a list of edibles you like most and that grow well in your climate, noting their cultural needs.
The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.Plant Combinations to Inspire YouNot everything in your landscape has to be edible.

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