User:Paul Royle-Grimes/Edible landscaping

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Edible landscaping is a specialized form of gardening where ornamental plants are replaced by plants that have some food use. The range of plants is varied and can include fruiting shrubs, trees, ground cover as well as edible flowers, and may include an apiary.


The design of the edible landscape can match many different styles of gardens ranging from formal to japanese gardens. The most successful designs emphasize biodiversity and attempt to include more than one type of cultivar for plants that are duplicated. Each plant is selected and placed for it's ornamental value and because it produces food. Edible Landscapes include biennials, perennials and annuals. Spring flowers offered up by fruit trees and colorful fruits and vegetables in the summer are often followed by brilliant foliage on fruiting shrubs all serve as the color pallet for edible landscapes. Care is taken to ensure proper spacing and placement of plants to optimize yield as well as create interesting arrangements of foliage and texture. Dwarf fruit trees are planted in carefully measured spacing to create miniature orchards.[1]

Plant selections[edit]

Fruiting shrubs[edit]

Fruiting shrubs include plants like blueberries, serviceberry, gooseberry, aronia, currants and shrubbing cherries. These can be used formally to create hedge rows or placed as mid-story plants to fill space between the floor and the canopy.

Ground cover[edit]

Ground cover can include plants such as strawberries, wintergreen, and cranberries. Ground cover plants that yield edible fruits are kept away from pathways where fruit could be stepped on.


Fruit and nut trees are selected based on many factors including size at maturity, cold hardiness, cross pollination needs, and biodiversity.

Annual plants[edit]

Vegetables are generally used in place of annuals and can create interest for the viewer. Colorful vegetables such as peppers and colorful varieties of cabbage, cauliflower,and kale also offer visual appeal to the landscape.


Grapes, hops, pole beans, and hardy kiwi can be grown onto trellises. They can also be trained up the trunks of larger trees.

Advantages and disadvantages[edit]

Edible landscaping enjoys some advantages over traditional or ornamental landscaping techniques. Reduced shipping decreases fuel consumption and increases the availability, variety, and quality of produce locally. Extra food can be preserved through home canning or through freezing. Extra food can also be used to supplement food banks or sold in local farmers markets making the edible landscape a beneficial feature for the community.[2][3]

The edible landscape requires more care and upkeep than gardens containing predominantly decorative plants. Fruiting trees and shrubs require specialized pruning techniques as well as pest control and fertilization.[4] Water requirements are additionally higher than other gardening techniques so one has to consider the area that they live in and the overall wetness of the regional climate before deciding whether or not this type of garden is for them.[5][6]