Friday, March 30, 2007

Suburban Front Yard Vegetable Gardening.

The abdication of sound landscape design practices does not have to come at the expense of installing a vegetable garden, especially if the garden is going to be placed front and center in a suburban front yard.

Good design can happen and an abundant vegetable garden can be attractive all year round.

It just takes forethought, a bit of planning and the desire for good aesthetics.


Basic landscape architecture 101 - Give your yard good bones.
If you have good strong architectural stature all year round your front yard vegetable garden will look good whether it is planted or not.


One achieves good bones by using both softscaping ( plants ) and hardscaping ( built structures) . Good bones creates order.


In my own front yard suburban vegetable garden I rely on a clipped boxwood hedge to frame and enclose my potager.
It is a small but prolific garden . It measures a mere 15 feet by 15 feet but in this melange I manage to grow a bevy of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers.

A simple axial path bisect the plot into 4 quadrants.
A terra cotta pot sits in the middle of the quadrant surrounded by a circular path.
In past years I have had a lemon tree planted in the large container while other years I have opted for a topiary rosemary shrub or a lushly planted herb and flower scheme.

Winter time potager


potager with glimpse of center leading path



Orange flowers line entry to potager




In larger potagers that I have designed and installed for the suburban front and back yard gardens we have used low evergreen hedges of boxwood and pineapple guava to lend architectural stature.
We have also planted living walls of espaliered apple , lemon and fig trees as well as cordoned kiwi and grapes vines to create a sense of contained order.
In several potagers we have use deciduous blueberry, raspberry and rose bushes to delineate the structure of the plate - bande.

Arbor's , trellis’s, fencing and well laid out paths can impart good architectural bones upon a vegetable garden by providing structured permanence.

By giving your garden a sense of grounded framework you can fill in between the lines with ephemeral seasonal vegetables, flowers and herbs and when they have been harvested your garden is not left lifeless without substance of form.


small potager in a suburban yard


A terraced vegetable garden

5 comments:

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

It is a little hard without being there or having spent near enough time getting to know the place, but I have envisioned my future mountaintop nursery being enclosed by a hedging frame work of some sort with a formal entry to give it seperation from lush surrounding woodland and meadow gardens.

It would be like these potager bones on a larger scale.

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Jeff in Portland said...

What a lovely design! Thank you for sharing. I'd love to know more about your espaliering. The plot we've for a potager is about the same size as yours and we've started 3 apple grafts this year. Still seems like they'd need a good deal of space to grow. Have you found that to be the case? Cordons of fruit trees are intriguing, too. Thanks again!

Gayle in UK said...

Front gardens have been 'waste space' for too long. Growing edible plants - fruit and vegetables - is an ideal way to make use of space. The formal look of a potager scheme will keep the neighbours happy too. Keep up the good work!

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