“Beauty itself doth of itself persuade, the eyes of men without an orator.”-William Shakespeare
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.
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 “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).
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.
I set them up in this formation:
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:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Swiss Chard
- Garlic Chives
- Chocolate Mint
(To plan this beautiful garden I used the GardenMinder app for Iphone. It’s free, and full of great features.)