Turning a lawn into an edible landscape is rewarding in a multitude of ways. Lawns are a lot of work for minimal return. On the other hand, an edible garden is easy to maintain and provides tons of delicious food for the whole family once established. Wildlife, including important pollinating species, also greatly appreciate an edible landscape.
What is an edible garden landscape?
An edible landscape is different from a traditional garden. There is a garden, yet the design includes the entire landscape instead of focusing solely on growing vegetables in a square plot.
Edible landscapes incorporate fruit trees, bushes, berries, herbs, and regular vegetable crops around the already existing trees, shrubs, and plants. Emphasis is given to local varieties since that is the best for native pollinators and the natural environment.All of these elements are interwoven to create an eco-friendly, food-first environment. In general, decorative plants are used minimally while focusing on plants that produce a valuable product. The area is still beautifully designed; it is just different from the classic landscaped lawn that is familiar across the city and suburbs.
Using edible plants in the yard isn't complicated, and it doesn't have to be difficult or stressful. Yard space can be converted a little at a time, tree by tree, and bush by bush until it is an integrated food landscape.
The Benefits of an Edible Garden Landscape
Cost: Let's be honest; lawns are expensive to maintain. Fertilizing, watering, and frequent mowing don't just require significant amounts of money; they also take a lot of time. Imagine not having to mow the lawn every week!
Many homeowners outsource these tasks to lawn care companies because they take so much time and effort. All that mowing and maintaining adds up! An edible landscape reduces these costs considerably.
Health: Eating better starts at home, literally. Children are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they grow them. Grocery stores disconnect us from our food sources, and many children today have no idea where or how vegetables come from or how they are grown.
Environment: Lawns remove natural ecosystems and replace them with unnatural homogeneous ones. The natural world suffers exponentially when we remove micro-ecosystems in favor of sterile, unproductive lands. The most notable species that suffer are pollinators and wildlife that rely on plants as food sources and require variety.
Return on Investment: A lawn is an ideal space for kids to play and dogs to run around, but rarely are they used to their full potential. There is value in open spaces.
But, for most families, the yard is not fully utilized. And, the cost of maintaining the lawn stays the same regardless of use. On the other hand, an edible landscape provides food for the family; that's a money saver!
An edible landscape doesn't have to use the entire lawn, either. If open space is essential, it can be incorporated into the design, so there is open space and an edible landscape. The two ideas are not mutually exclusive.
Food Security: The world food supply chain is shaky and highly susceptible to climate change, environmental issues, and various other unpredictable reasons. As we've discovered in recent times, food scarcity can be a significant issue even in first-world countries.
Time: Since edible landscapes incorporate trees, bushes, and perennial plants, once the space is established, it needs minimal care.