An edible landscape is a beautiful and practical approach to gardening that incorporates a variety of plants that are both visually appealing and produce food. This approach can yield a bountiful harvest while also creating a visually stunning outdoor space. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best plants and elements to include in an edible landscape.
- Fruit trees
Fruit trees are a great addition to an edible landscape, providing shade, beauty, and a source of fresh fruit. Consider apple, pear, plum, peach, or cherry trees for temperate climates, or citrus, avocado, or mango trees for warmer regions. When selecting fruit trees, consider their mature size, growth habit, and pollination requirements. Dwarf or semi-dwarf varieties are a good choice for smaller spaces.
- Berry bushes
Berry bushes, such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, currants, and gooseberries, are excellent additions to an edible landscape. They can be used as hedges, borders, or focal points. These bushes not only produce delicious fruit but also offer attractive foliage and flowers. Choose varieties suited to your climate and soil conditions.
- Nut trees
Nut trees can be both attractive and productive in an edible landscape. Examples include walnut, almond, pecan, hazelnut, and chestnut trees. Nut trees may require a larger space, but they can provide shade and a windbreak as well as a valuable food source.
Incorporating vegetables into an edible landscape is a fantastic way to maximize your harvest. Plant colorful and ornamental vegetables like rainbow chard, red-leaf lettuce, purple cabbage, and kale to add visual interest. Use attractive vegetables like artichokes and asparagus as focal points or plant herbs like basil, parsley, and chives as border edging.
- Edible flowers
Many flowers are edible and can add a pop of color to your landscape while also providing culinary options. Examples include nasturtiums, calendula, borage, pansies, and violas. Plant them in mixed beds, containers, or use them as borders to add beauty and flavor to your garden.
- Climbing plants
Climbing plants like grapevines, kiwi vines, or passion fruit can create visual interest and provide food. Use them to cover trellises, pergolas, fences, or arbors, creating a sense of privacy and seclusion.
- Ground covers
Edible ground covers, such as strawberries, creeping thyme, oregano, or mint, can serve as a living mulch, suppressing weeds and retaining moisture while providing food. Plant them between stepping stones, under fruit trees, or along pathways to create a lush, green carpet.
- Perennial herbs
Many perennial herbs, like rosemary, lavender, thyme, and sage, are not only useful in the kitchen but also make attractive landscape plants. They can be used as hedges, borders, or mass plantings and provide year-round interest with their fragrant foliage and attractive flowers.
- Aquatic plants
If you have a water feature or pond, consider incorporating edible aquatic plants like watercress, water chestnuts, or lotus. These plants can help filter the water, provide habitat for beneficial wildlife, and offer a unique food source.
- Ornamental grasses
Ornamental grasses like wheat, barley, or quinoa can add texture and movement to your edible landscape. Plant them in large drifts, along pathways, or as a backdrop for other plants.
- Beneficial insect attractors
Include plants that attract pollinators and other beneficial insects to improve your garden’s overall health and productivity. Plant flowers like zinnias, sunflowers, and cosmos, or herbs like dill