The “Pretty” Front Yard Garden

“Beauty itself doth of itself persuade, the eyes of men without an orator.”-William Shakespeare

The HOA approved "Pretty" Front Yard Garden.

As a homesteader, most of my focus is centered on the backyard:  backyard gardens, backyard chickens, and backyard beer (we’ll get to that someday I’m sure).

It is important to me to use the land I have to serve my family, but what about the front yard?  My front yard has sunshine, soil, and space.  Why should I waste this valuable growing space on flower beds, boxy shrubs, and St. Augustine grass that do nothing at all for my family?  The answer is simple, because all of those things are “pretty.”

Our neighborhoods are full of people who will complain about the slightest deviation from societal norms.  I have actually been told that I would have to pay a fine for tilling up my own grass! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to friends lament about the local Homeowner’s Association, and how they disallow all of the wonderful homegrown goodness that sustains our families.

So, to combat this I have put together my very own “pretty” Front Yard Garden with the HOA stamp of approval.

The "pretty" Front Yard Garden

Thriller, filler, spiller

While we may all believe our vegetable gardens are beautiful in the neat little rows or squares, many people find the aesthetic less than pleasing.  To remedy this, I have found some vegetables that are beautiful and tasty, and have creatively planted them to create an edible art piece in my front yard.  I started with four 4’x4’ raised beds and planted them according to the “thriller, filler, spiller” principle commonly used when combining ornamental plants in a container.

The "pretty" Front Yard Garden

The “thriller” plant is tall and beautiful; it really stands out.

The “filler” plant can be less eye-catching but needs to be medium sized and take up some space.

The “spiller” should be some sort of plant that will “spill” over the edge of your container or raised bed (i.e. a vine of some kind).

The "pretty" Front Yard Garden

Okra as a “thriller”.

My “thriller” plant this summer was Okra.  With it’s funky leaves and beautiful flowers, I knew it was pretty enough for the front yard.  My “filler” plant was a pretty pink and green coleus that my husband insisted upon. (I think a pretty purple cabbage or multicolored lettuce would have been more tasty.)  My “spiller” plant was watermelon; spilling vines and pretty, little, yellow flowers made this plant an excellent choice.

The "pretty" Front Yard Garden

Watermelon as a “spiller”

I set them up in this formation:

The "pretty" Front Yard GardenThe "pretty" Front Yard Garden

The diagonal formation here gives these mini gardens a striking appearance.

When choosing the plants that you want in your Front Yard Garden try some varieties that are known for their color.  Okra, cabbage, and cauliflower all come in beautiful purple varieties; swiss chard has those bright colored stems; and there are various colors of lettuce that catch the eye.

If you’re planning a fall garden, or can’t grow some of the plants mentioned where you live (like okra), here are some other ideas for lovely Front Yard Gardens:

Thrillers

  1. Brussels Sprouts
  2. Swiss Chard
  3. Okra
  4. Rosemary
  5. Garlic Chives

Fillers

  1. Cabbage
  2. Cauliflower
  3. Lettuce
  4. Kale
  5. Kohlrabi

Spillers

  1. Melon
  2. Squash
  3. Cucumber
  4. Oregano
  5. Chocolate Mint

 

(To plan this beautiful garden I used the GardenMinder app for Iphone.  It’s free, and full of great features.)

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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the great garden tips. I have been wanting to plant an edible garden, but wasn’t sure where to start. I’m going to look into the app as well.

    I found your site through the frugal days sustainable ways link up. Can’t wait to look at more of your site!!

  2. says

    This is such a clever and creative way to make the most of your yard while abiding by the “rules.” I love it!! I currently live in an apartment, so I can only plant potted things for now, but I hope to one day have a yard that I can fill with delicious lettuce! Yum! Visiting from the SITS Sharefest!

  3. Jutta P. says

    Good for you! I have never lived in an HOA neighborhood, so not somehting I’ve had to worry about. We did have “beds” in our front yard at our last house though because it got the best sunlight. Haha!

  4. says

    I love this idea! I have been trying to convince my husband for a while to let me dig up part of our front lawn for a vegetable garden because that is the part of the yard that gets the most sunlight. But he is worried it will look disorganized and messy. I will have to show him this idea of the little framed beds and see what he says. :)

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