Edible Landscaping

Edible Landscaping

When you’re selecting plants and trees to landscape your home and yard, why not consider those that are edible or have edible components? There are many plants and trees that provide attractive foliage and decorative interest to your landscape and can also be used for eating or cooking. This article will focus on some really easy alternatives you can incorporate into your master landscaping plan or add to your existing landscaping that do just that.

Fruit trees. Fruit trees are a wonderful addition to any landscape. During the springtime or early summer, the blossoms on these trees are delightful and colorful. Later the fruit provides color and interest to your yard. And ultimately, at harvest time, you can reap even more benefits in the way of tasty fruits for eating, freezing, and baking.

The specific type of fruit tree you incorporate into your landscaping will depend on the plant hardiness zone in which you reside. Some kinds of fruit trees require warmer temperatures, specific soil types, or longer growing seasons. Consider, for example, apple, orange, lemon, plum, pear, nectarine, apricot, peaches, mulberry, and cherry trees, among others. There are many different varieties of each, and some come in miniature varieties for smaller spaces.

Go nuts with trees. Many varieties of trees that produce edible nuts can also be wonderful additions to your landscape. Similar to selecting other trees, you will want to be sure the tree you select will thrive in your area of the country. Some nut producing trees to consider are: walnut, hazelnut, almond, pecan, chestnut, and butternut.

Colorful fruits amid the foliage. You can include other fruit growing plants in your landscaping to introduce height, depth, and visual interest to your yard. Many fruits are produced by low-growing plants with foliage that is also attractive and can make a nice ground cover. Again, some fruits grow in better climates and soils than others, so select plants that will thrive in your area. Strawberry plants, rhubarb plants, currant bushes, bush cherries, gooseberries, grapes, and raspberry, chokecherry, honeyberry, elderberry, and blueberry bushes have very diverse and distinctive foliage, for example. When planted in groupings or with other complementary plants to take advantage of their individual features-such as height, leaf size, leaf texture, etc.-they can add interest to your landscaping in addition to tasty fruits and edibles that work well in cooking and even jams.

In addition, bright red chokecherries, blue blueberries, currant bushes that change color, and other fruit laden foliage provides beautiful color and visual interest. Again, floral blossoms contribute to a gorgeous springtime display. And both blossoms and fruits are fragrant.

Herbs do double duty. Many herb plants can be incorporated into flower gardens, potted gardens or patio landscaping, and other landscaping elements in your yard, as well. They are varied in form, color, structure, and scent, providing a wonderful range of practical diversity. Spiky lemon grass, tarragon, rosemary, basil, and even chives are great additions. Some flower and provide wonderful fragrances as they grow in addition to seasoning cooking after they are harvested.

Going green. While all natural landscaping elements are “green” in terms of being good for the environment and ecologically friendly, edible plants are an even better use of environmental resources, including those in your yard. Why not incorporate plants that can help you feed your family and neighbors and provide all of you with organic food options? You’ll save money, help reduce waste from packaging of products you would otherwise purchase in stores, and do your part to improve your little part of the world.