The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden

The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden

by Ivette Soler

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Overview

“Front lawns, beware: The Germinatrix has you in her crosshairs! Ivette Soler is a welcome voice urging us to mow less and grow some food—in her uniquely fun, infectious yet informative way.” —Garden Rant

People everywhere are turning patches of soil into bountiful vegetable gardens, and each spring a new crop of beginners pick up trowels and plant seeds for the first time. They're planting tomatoes in raised beds, runner beans in small plots, and strawberries in containers. But there is one place that has, until now, been woefully neglected—the front yard.

And there's good reason. The typical veggie garden, with its raised beds and plots, is not the most attractive type of garden, and favorite edible plants like tomatoes and cucumbers have a tendency to look a scraggily, even in their prime. But The Edible Front Yard isn't about the typical veggie garden, and author Ivette Soler is passionate about putting edibles up front and creating edible gardens with curb appeal.

Soler offers step-by-step instructions for converting all or part of a lawn into an edible paradise; specific guidelines for selecting and planting the most attractive edible plants; and design advice and plans for the best placement and for combining edibles with ornamentals in pleasing ways. Inspiring and accessible, The Edible Front Yard is a one-stop resource for a front-and-center edible garden that is both beautiful and bountiful year-round.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781604691993
Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 02/23/2011
Pages: 216
Sales rank: 295,106
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author


Ivette Soler is a garden designer and writer living in Los Angeles, California. Her plant design work for Elysian Landscapes, and her own personal garden, have appeared in magazines such as Metropolitan Home, Sunset, and House and Garden, as well as in several books. Soler’s garden writing has been featured in Garden Design, Cottage Living, and Budget Living, and she was the resident gardening expert on NBC’s The Bonnie Hunt Show. See her popular gardening blog, The Germinatrix, at thegerminatrix.com.

Read an Excerpt


A front yard revolution is at our fingertips and our doorsteps. Its time has come.

Walking through the ethnically diverse neighborhoods of East Los Angeles, I am always struck by the fascinating and creative ways people utilize their front yards. Some communities are dotted with front yard farms bursting with fruit trees, sugar cane, melons, brassicas, and all manner of greens in well-tended rows, along with pass-along plants from family members. The traditional front yard—the useless, boring, outdated lawn adorned by a few shade trees and perhaps some lackluster shrubbery—pales in comparison to these vibrant, productive spaces where growing food is serious business. I find these front yard farms inspirational; they speak to a resourcefulness that is long-gone in mainstream American culture, and they have a beauty all their own. Growing edibles out front is also a smart, practical choice: it takes advantage of the simple fact that wherever lawn can thrive—in places with significant amounts of sunshine—so too can herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

While record numbers of people are growing food and returning to more thoughtful land and resource use, it’s unlikely that strictly utilitarian front yard farms will be widely seen anytime soon. We still want our front yards to look like gardens. We still want the front of our house to be an inviting and livable space—an extension of ourselves and a reflection of our personal style. The challenge lies in weaving together the pieces to create a front yard that is sustainable, beautifully designed, and edible: a modern-day victory garden.

It can be done.

When I purchased my home, I promptly ripped out the front lawn and planted a garden that included such drought-tolerant plants as sages, grasses, and succulents. My blossoming as a cook followed this transformation and I slowly began integrating tough herbs (culinary sages, marjoram, and basils) and architectural edibles, like artichokes and fennel, to associate with the bold agaves that dominate my public garden. Without sacrificing my strong, sculptural planting style, I now have glorious herbs to cook with and vegetables to eat almost all year long. The creation of my successful, interesting, rewarding garden took years, but equipped with the right information, you can have it much faster than I did.
 
This book will show you how to create the new front yard: a diverse, sustainable mix of ornamentals and edibles, imaginatively designed and organically gardened. The process starts by taking a step back—looking at what inspires you—to hone in on the particular style of curb appeal you want to cultivate. Next comes the ornamental edibles: a plant palette of statement-makers and supermodels, from exotic plants, like paddle cactus, to garden standbys that you may not have realized were even edible (rose hip tea, anyone?). The shrubs, trees, and perennials in the palette of helpers (many of which are edible in their own right) will help you create a garden with year-round interest to spare. Armed with enough plants choices to fill your garden a hundred times over—and the principles of structure, repetition, form, texture, and color discussed in the design primer—the possibilities for breathtaking ornamental combinations are endless. From there, it’s reality time: look at what you have, see the lawn you want to remove, decide what you hardscape you want to build. And then take the methods in this book and do it. Get your dream garden out of your mind and into the front yard—your organic, homegrown, delicious food won’t be far behind.
The heart of this revolution goes much deeper than the visible surface. By minimizing your lawn, you are taking a stand against turfgrass as the biggest irrigated crop in America. You are saying no to something that takes precious resources without giving back anything just as precious. Growing food in your front yard is a courageous expression: you are telling people that you care about what your family eats. You are also setting an example for your neighbors. Are you the type of person who can be the standard bearer for a new kind of garden? Be bold and brave, because no matter who you are, there is a style of edible planting that will capture your imagination and suit your taste—from the wildly mixed and exuberant to the elegant and composed.

Growing food can be integrated into our daily lives. And such a fundamental change can be reflected in our front yards, for everyone to enjoy and admire. Let’s make this happen!
 

What People are Saying About This

Garden Design - Sarah Kinbar

“Soler’s fully-realized sense of style is matched by her glittering personality and deep knowledge of gardening and design.”

Stephen Orr

"I love Ivette's infectious enthusiasm for gardening, which is matched only by her deep knowledge of horticulture. Few people can make me laugh so hard and think so hard in the same sentence." -- Stephen Orr, garden editor and writer
Stephen Orr, garden editor and writer

Garden Rant - Susan Harris

"Front lawns, beware - The Germinatrix has you in her crosshairs! Ivette Soler is a welcome voice urging us to mow less and grow some food - in her uniquely fun, infectious yet informative way."

Sarah Kinbar

“Soler’s fully-realized sense of style is matched by her glittering personality and deep knowledge of gardening and design.”
— Garden Design

Susan Harris

"Front lawns, beware - The Germinatrix has you in her crosshairs! Ivette Soler is a welcome voice urging us to mow less and grow some food - in her uniquely fun, infectious yet informative way."
— Garden Rant

Customer Reviews