Edible Landscaping 101

by Megan Kioulafofski
edible landscaping 101

It is no secret that growing our own food is better for the environment and our health. Growing food is convenient and rewarding, but often people think they need to create an entire garden to do so. Did you know that you can grow healthy and delicious foods into your own landscape? 

With the right plants and design, you can live more sustainably, avoiding pesticides and grocery store plastics by growing food in your yard. Not every plant is right for this growing method, but there are some fantastic seeds that can be planted strategically and thrive without a garden. We have curated a guide on how to create a delicious and sustainable edible landscape.

Environmental Benefits of Growing Your Own Food

Growing food in your own yard has many environmental benefits. It is a simple way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Reduce Carbon Emissions and Waste

Grocery store fruits, vegetables, and herbs traditionally travel thousands of miles to get to your grocery store. This emits a huge amount of carbon emissions. Just by growing your own food, you are preventing and protesting against the fossil fuels that impact our environment by the use of commercial farming. 

Not to mention, pounds upon pounds of unnecessary plastic and cardboard are used while transporting these foods and putting them on the shelves. Food from your yard is fresher and prevents this waste.

Avoids Use of Harmful Pesticides

One of the biggest benefits of growing your own food is that you know what is going into your soil. Commercial farms often use herbicides and pesticides with toxic ingredients to help grow fruits and vegetables bought at grocery stores. Some of these are carcinogens that can cause cancer. They will even use harmful ingredients to help grow these items bigger, faster- all for a profit. 

This pollution in the soil will trickle into our food and waterways. It is much safer for people and the environment when these chemicals are avoided.

mother and daughter gardening in backyard

The Best Plants For Edible Landscaping

Some plants, such as leafy greens, corn, and peas, are best planted in a garden as they attract hungry animals. Certain plants have the natural ability to ward off hungry foragers, rather than attract them, whether it be through aroma or texture.

The plants listed below are somewhat resistant to wildlife and fare best when planted with ornamentals out in the open. All of these plants also can be fed with compost and planted in certain pairs, so there is no need for chemicals that are actually toxic for humans and the environment.


Strawberries are a delicious fruit that is sure to please even the pickiest eaters. These bright red berries will blend into your landscape for added beauty, as well as make a great addition to summer salads


Blueberries are a healthy and delicious snack that can be planted right in your own backyard. They are easy to plant and bloom into beautiful bushes with white flowers.

Fruit Trees

You can pluck delicious pears, cherries, and lemons off trees you grow in your own backyard! Any type of fruit tree can grow well right out in the open.


Herbs grown as perennials without a strong aroma, such as lavender, thyme, and oregano, are great for an edible landscape. Herbs with strong aromas will attract foragers.


Peppers can be planted out in the open after they have grown taller and hardier. Once they are out in your landscape, they bring a gorgeous pop of color!


Artichokes are yummy baked, steamed, or grilled- and the best part is that they can be picked straight from your own edible landscape. These grow beautifully with spiky foliage and purple flowers. Their spikes make them unappealing to hungry wildlife.


This purple vegetable is a delicious addition to any meal. They are gorgeous additions to your edible landscape as well as they have star-shaped flowers. These flowers are also scratchy which prevents hungry wildlife from eating your eggplants.


Pole beans can grow on a trellis, which adds dimension to your edible landscape. With chicken wire around the bottom of the plant, the beans will be safe from wildlife.

Onions, Garlic, and Chives

Wildlife will not target these delicious ingredients. You can even plant these next to other veggies to protect those as well.


Kale is one of the healthiest veggies out there. It also grows beautiful with frilly green leaves to make your landscape look even lusher than before.


Tomatoes are a fan favorite vegetable and simple to grow on a stake or trellis in your yard. Before long, you will have tons of tomatoes to make yummy salsa or stew.

Edible Flowers

Flowers such as honeysuckle and lilac are not only beautiful editions to your landscaping but also great garnishes for cocktails and salads.

Additional Edible Landscaping Design Tips

Here are a few more curated tips for making your edible landscape as beautiful as it is delicious. 

Know Your Landscape

Make sure to pick a spot that gets at least six hours of sunlight as this is where most fruits and vegetables thrive. For the shady spots, pick plants that thrive better in the shade, such as cherry tomatoes. Also, learn the nutrients of your soil before planting anything there.


For height variation and to add interest, include several plants in containers throughout the landscape. This creates variety and a fun, interesting space to look at.

Add a Walkway for Accessibility

The last thing you or your family wants to do is trip when on their way to pick some fresh fruit. Adding a walkway throughout your edible landscape is a great way to do this. Consider upcycling old palettes or using other sustainable materials to create a unique and usable walkway.

Overall, creating an edible landscape is a beautiful way to contribute to the sustainability movement. Growing your own food is healthier and safer for your family while being more beneficial to the environment. For more tips, see the infographic from Angi below. 

edible landscaping 101 infographic

Photo by angi.com

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