The Growing Trend of Edible Landscape Design
In the everything-old-is-new-again vein, a growing trend in landscape design that’s getting a lot of buzz this year is edible landscapes. According to the National Gardening Association, food gardening is at its highest levels in more than a decade. More and more homeowners are wanting a variety of fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruits incorporated into their backyard garden plans.
While hardly a new idea (after all, there used to be no other option; people ate what was available, either from their own gardens or from a nearby farm; and during World War I, Victory Gardens were introduced to aid in the war effort by reducing the pressure on the public food supply.), this landscape design trend feels new. Rather than neat rows of crops, gardeners are mixing vegetables, herbs and flowering plants together, understanding that these mixed use landscapes and gardens can be just as beautiful as traditional flower beds and gardens. An added bonus of this mixed approach is that there are a variety of flowering plants that will attract “good bugs” (pollinators and pest fighters) to your landscape and keep “bad bugs” (nibblers and other destructive insects) at bay.
Additionally, homeowners are bringing edible gardening via containers to their decks, patios, balconies, and even indoors to their windowsills. Along with this trend, an increasing number of miniature vegetable, fruit, and herb cultivars that are both compact and ornamental are being created. (Miniature, midget, and dwarf plants and their fruits and vegetables differ from the “baby” vegetables found in stores that are generally full-sized cultivars picked before maturity.) From Meyer dwarf lemon trees, lollipop watermelons (3-5 pounds), and boxwood basil (8-14” tall with small leaves) to prairie fire peppers, Kieffer lime trees, and Sweet Valentine cherry tomatoes, there are now a plethora of options for small scale container gardening.
Yet another offshoot of the edible landscape design trend is garden-ready communities. More and more new housing developments are being built with community gardens as part of the initial landscape design process. According to an article in USA Today, “gardens are popping up not only in new single-family and luxury condo developments, where they aim to lure green buyers, but also in new and decades-old affordable housing projects, which aim to get residents outdoors.”
The next evolution of this trend? NPR radio reports that “there’s a new model springing up across the country that taps into the local food movement: Farms — complete with livestock, vegetables and fruit trees — are serving as the latest suburban amenity. The story quotes Ed McMahon, a fellow with the Urban Land Institute. He estimates that more than 200 developments with an agricultural twist already exist nationwide. “These projects are becoming more and more mainstream. Golf courses cost millions to build and maintain, and we’re kind of overbuilt on golf courses already,” he says. “If you put in a farm where we can grow things and make money from the farm, it becomes an even better deal.” Read the full story.
Whether it’s a small container garden, or an integrated edible landscape, there is something extremely satisfying about growing your own food, which is why we included it in our list of Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Backyard. No matter if you grow a little or a lot of your own food, doing so connects you with something bigger than yourself – nature – and the simple act of thinking about, and getting involved with, the elements of nature – dirt, water, sun, weather – can melt away stress and provide untold benefits, both physically and spiritually. Make 2016 the year you create your own mini-farm-to-table experience.
For over 30 years, Bonick Landscaping has served Dallas area clients with the highest standards looking for out-of-the-ordinary luxury landscape design and pools by offering the best in service, workmanship, and plantings. Services include hardscape and landscape design, pool designs, pool construction and installation, estate management, lawn care services and garden maintenance, pool maintenance, and more. For discerning clients in Dallas who want to express their own distinctive style through their landscaping, Bonick Landscaping can help you realize your dream. Call us at 972-243-9673 or visit our website at www.bonicklandscaping.com.