Growing up my mom always loved flowers. She dreamed of owning a house with a big front yard, filled flower beds, and a big front porch. When my husband and I purchased our house 6 years ago, she anticipated helping me make beds and planting flowers in the front yard. I had another idea! I wanted to plant a garden instead.

You may be asking yourself why I wanted to plant a garden in the front yard. Most people plant gardens in the backyard. Well, for better or worse, the backyard is shaded most of the day by a giant ######## tree. Plus being in the Bristol Tennessee city limits means that anything unmovable like our swing set, firepit, and storage buildings cannot go in the front yard. So the backyard is where my kids play.
My husband and mom shared the same vision of what a front yard should look like. They considered the idea of digging up the front yard tacky and feared we might even get in trouble with the city. I didn’t win this argument until the third year. The first year we planted a small amount in my side yard. The following two years we built raised beds in the front yard. Neighbors began stopping by and complimenting our plants. What my family realized is that edible plants are beautiful!
Cucumbers have gorgeous lobed green leaves with bright yellow flowers. The eggplant is adorned with star shaped purple flowers that look like they are painted with watercolors. Potatoes have clusters of five petal flowers with a variety of colors including white, pink, and purple. Chives are topped with purple puffballs on a long green stem. The puffballs look like a single flower, but it is actually a cluster of small flowers. The contrast between the nasturtium’s green disc shaped leaves and orange blossoms is stunning.
Don’t let lack of space or placement stop you from growing what you want. You can grow beautiful edible plants that top any landscaped flower beds. Best of all you can grow them wherever you want. Without apology go ahead and put your plants in the front yard, back yard, raised beds, in the ground, window boxes, or up a fence.

If you aren’t convinced yet, there are many ways to cheaply add beauty to any garden. With a Google search you can find many landscaping designs that will help you with the layout of a beautiful edible garden. Most stores carry garden edging, but it can be pricy. For a cheaper alternative, after a big storm, keep an eye out for large branches by the side of the road. Use cheap twine to bunch them together for a natural edging. The branches will decompose slowly adding organic matter to the soil. Plant flowers that attract pollinators and add color. When using poles for climbing plants, paint them or add colored string in an interesting pattern. Use dye free mulch to help your garden stand out and keeping weeds at bay.

Written by: Danielle Dobney, Grow Your Own Participant