The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden

The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden

3.1 8
by Ivette Soler
     
 

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“Front lawns, beware: The Germinatrix has you in her crosshairs! Ivette Soler is a welcome voice urging us to mow less and grow some food—in her uniquely fun, infectious yet informative way.” —Susan Harris, Garden Rant

People everywhere are turning patches of soil into bountiful vegetable gardens, and each spring a new crop of

Overview

“Front lawns, beware: The Germinatrix has you in her crosshairs! Ivette Soler is a welcome voice urging us to mow less and grow some food—in her uniquely fun, infectious yet informative way.” —Susan Harris, Garden Rant

People everywhere are turning patches of soil into bountiful vegetable gardens, and each spring a new crop of beginners pick up trowels and plant seeds for the first time. They're planting tomatoes in raised beds, runner beans in small plots, and strawberries in containers. But there is one place that has, until now, been woefully neglected — the front yard.

And there's good reason. The typical veggie garden, with its raised beds and plots, is not the most attractive type of garden, and favorite edible plants like tomatoes and cucumbers have a tendency to look a scraggily, even in their prime. But The Edible Front Yard isn't about the typical veggie garden, and author Ivette Soler is passionate about putting edibles up front and creating edible gardens with curb appeal.

Soler offers step-by-step instructions for converting all or part of a lawn into an edible paradise; specific guidelines for selecting and planting the most attractive edible plants; and design advice and plans for the best placement and for combining edibles with ornamentals in pleasing ways. Inspiring and accessible, The Edible Front Yard is a one-stop resource for a front-and-center edible garden that is both beautiful and bountiful year-round.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The locavore movement has energized many to grow their own food, something that can seem at odds with the desire for a beautiful yard. Enter Soler, whose informative tips for growing fruits and vegetables that will not only taste great, but look great (overflowing with Summa's lush photography) makes for a timely, handsome guide. Soler (known for her popular blog, the Germinatrix) excels at describing garden projects; how to construct a sturdy but attractive trellis, espalier a fruit tree, build a unique corrugated raised bed, and dozens of other tasks are vividly explained. She profiles plants from amaranth to yucca, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers and cactus. However, while basic cultivation and culinary information is provided for each plant, serious gardeners will need additional references to find specifics like varietal differences, and sunlight, water, and soil amendment requirements. Soler addresses structure, borders, repetition, texture, form, color, and hardscape in designing your front yard garden, providing detailed plans for three in existence. Finally, she tackles some of the less-fun realities involved, like lawn removal, building codes, and dry, packed streetside beds. She provides a brief introduction to organic methods, irrigation, and garden maintenance, as well as a list of seed resources. A well-designed and thorough overview, The Edible Front Yard is an enticing introduction to growing food beautifully. Readers, start your shovels. Photos. (Feb.)
Martha Stewart Living
“A lively new book…Soler takes you through a wide selection of suggested varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs that are as beautiful as any rose bush.”
Red Dirt Ramblings
“Lots of good advice and problem solving written in a clear and energetic voice.”
Dirt du Jour
“A lively new book…Soler takes you through a wide selection of suggested varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs that are as beautiful as any rose bush.”
North Coast Gardening
“Lots of good advice and problem solving written in a clear and energetic voice.”
Dave's Garden
“Walks you through delish design ideas, plant profiles and even introduces everyday plants that we didn’t know were edible.”
Booklist
“Tackles the question of how to incorporate edibles and veggies into your landscape without having the whole thing look messy.”
PersonalGardeningCoach.com
“This delightful book is a great example of learning to color outside the lines and dispels the notion that an urban front yard should be a ceremonial expanse of useless grass.”
GreenSparrowGarden.com
“A useful and inspiring volume.”
BlueHeronLandscapes.com
“An entertaining and might I say, down right persuasive book for me to have the guts to stand up and plant my veggies, right here in my own front yard!”

VegPatchDiary.com
“Ivette's prose, like her gardens, is unabashed, exuberant, and a rollicking good time. And in terms of visual beauty, even my high expectations were blown away.”
Sunset's "Fresh Dirt" blog
“Provides us the tools to grow our own food in a beautiful garden and reconnect with the land between house and curb. It has earned a spot on every gardener’s bookshelf."
Sunset Magazine
“An enticing introduction to growing food beautifully…a timely, handsome guide.”
Willamette Woman Magazine
"Proves that kitchen gardens can be both pretty and productive. Shows how to grow veggies in front so beautifully that neighbors won't object."
The Daily Globe
“Proves that kitchen gardens can be both pretty and productive. Shows how to grow veggies in front so beautifully that neighbors won't object."
Epinions.com
The pictures induce severe garden envy.
AARP The Magazine
This inspiring guide offers a fresh alternative to the boring front lawn.
Apartment Therapy
If you're frustrated with waste and you're feeling brave, if you like the idea of sustainability and permaculture, consider this [book] when developing your design.
BookPage
Don’t just plant flowers this gardening season; feed your family, too!
DailyCandy.com
Lush and lovely.
The San Francisco Chronicle
Soler cultivates a compelling case for a garden that’s both decorative and delicious.
Portland Book Review
Project[s] to help your family go green.
UnderMyAppleTree.com
Full of retro pizzazz.
SmallKitchenGarden.net
Empowers readers with the knowledge to successfully transform their yards.
AOL's Shelter Pop
If you are looking for ideas to add some edible and pretty plants to your landscaping I recommend this book.
The Oregonian
Get this book! In fact, buy several and give them to your neighbors.
Energy Bulletin
[Walks] us through the in's and out's of planting every plant in the 2011 garden.
State-by-State Gardening
It’s a winner.
The Larrapin Garden Blog
Wonderful pictures, great lists of attractive edibles, and useful design advice.
Gardening By The Book
Soler's book is going to help more front yards get bountiful. And I like that a lot.
Horticulture Magazine
New gardeners will find good advice and more advanced gardeners will find some very clever tips and ideas.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Heavily-laden with quality photography that is as inspiring as the text.
Winston-Salem Journal
[Soler] addresses the concerns that gardeners of all kinds have, when considering making the change from grass to groceries.
Richmond Times-Dispatch
“It’s inspiring to see photos of how much more interesting our front yards could be.”
Washington Gardener
“This is a great book to get you fired up about the upcoming growing season.”
Washington Gardener - Rachel Shaw
"It's a good source of ideas for gardeners trying to imagine the edible front yard that might one day be theirs."
From the Publisher

“I love Ivette’s infectious enthusiasm for gardening, which is matched only by her deep knowledge of horticulture. Few people can make me laugh so hard and think so hard in the same sentence.” —Stephen Orr

“A useful and inspiring volume.” —Booklist

“A lively new book…Soler takes you through a wide selection of suggested varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs that are as beautiful as any rose bush.” —Martha Stewart Living

“An enticing introduction to growing food beautifully…a timely, handsome guide.” —Publishers Weekly

“Proves that kitchen gardens can be both pretty and productive. Shows how to grow veggies in front so beautifully that neighbors won’t object.” —Sunset

“Don’t just plant flowers this gardening season; feed your family, too!” —AARP The Magazine

“Lush and lovely.” —Apartment Therapy

“Heavily-laden with quality photography that is as inspiring as the text.” —Gardening By The Book

“A good source of ideas for gardeners trying to imagine the edible front yard that might one day be theirs.” —Rachel Shaw, Washington Gardener
 
“[Soler] addresses the concerns that gardeners of all kinds have, when considering making the change from grass to groceries. —Horticulture

“It’s inspiring to see photos of how much more interesting our front yards could be.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Magazine“Empowers readers with the knowledge to successfully transform their yards.” —Portland Book Review
 

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604691993
Publisher:
Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
02/23/2011
Pages:
216
Sales rank:
610,841
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt


A front yard revolution is at our fingertips and our doorsteps. Its time has come.

Walking through the ethnically diverse neighborhoods of East Los Angeles, I am always struck by the fascinating and creative ways people utilize their front yards. Some communities are dotted with front yard farms bursting with fruit trees, sugar cane, melons, brassicas, and all manner of greens in well-tended rows, along with pass-along plants from family members. The traditional front yard—the useless, boring, outdated lawn adorned by a few shade trees and perhaps some lackluster shrubbery—pales in comparison to these vibrant, productive spaces where growing food is serious business. I find these front yard farms inspirational; they speak to a resourcefulness that is long-gone in mainstream American culture, and they have a beauty all their own. Growing edibles out front is also a smart, practical choice: it takes advantage of the simple fact that wherever lawn can thrive—in places with significant amounts of sunshine—so too can herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

While record numbers of people are growing food and returning to more thoughtful land and resource use, it’s unlikely that strictly utilitarian front yard farms will be widely seen anytime soon. We still want our front yards to look like gardens. We still want the front of our house to be an inviting and livable space—an extension of ourselves and a reflection of our personal style. The challenge lies in weaving together the pieces to create a front yard that is sustainable, beautifully designed, and edible: a modern-day victory garden.

It can be done.

When I purchased my home, I promptly ripped out the front lawn and planted a garden that included such drought-tolerant plants as sages, grasses, and succulents. My blossoming as a cook followed this transformation and I slowly began integrating tough herbs (culinary sages, marjoram, and basils) and architectural edibles, like artichokes and fennel, to associate with the bold agaves that dominate my public garden. Without sacrificing my strong, sculptural planting style, I now have glorious herbs to cook with and vegetables to eat almost all year long. The creation of my successful, interesting, rewarding garden took years, but equipped with the right information, you can have it much faster than I did.
 
This book will show you how to create the new front yard: a diverse, sustainable mix of ornamentals and edibles, imaginatively designed and organically gardened. The process starts by taking a step back—looking at what inspires you—to hone in on the particular style of curb appeal you want to cultivate. Next comes the ornamental edibles: a plant palette of statement-makers and supermodels, from exotic plants, like paddle cactus, to garden standbys that you may not have realized were even edible (rose hip tea, anyone?). The shrubs, trees, and perennials in the palette of helpers (many of which are edible in their own right) will help you create a garden with year-round interest to spare. Armed with enough plants choices to fill your garden a hundred times over—and the principles of structure, repetition, form, texture, and color discussed in the design primer—the possibilities for breathtaking ornamental combinations are endless. From there, it’s reality time: look at what you have, see the lawn you want to remove, decide what you hardscape you want to build. And then take the methods in this book and do it. Get your dream garden out of your mind and into the front yard—your organic, homegrown, delicious food won’t be far behind.
The heart of this revolution goes much deeper than the visible surface. By minimizing your lawn, you are taking a stand against turfgrass as the biggest irrigated crop in America. You are saying no to something that takes precious resources without giving back anything just as precious. Growing food in your front yard is a courageous expression: you are telling people that you care about what your family eats. You are also setting an example for your neighbors. Are you the type of person who can be the standard bearer for a new kind of garden? Be bold and brave, because no matter who you are, there is a style of edible planting that will capture your imagination and suit your taste—from the wildly mixed and exuberant to the elegant and composed.

Growing food can be integrated into our daily lives. And such a fundamental change can be reflected in our front yards, for everyone to enjoy and admire. Let’s make this happen!
 

What People are saying about this

Stephen Orr

"I love Ivette's infectious enthusiasm for gardening, which is matched only by her deep knowledge of horticulture. Few people can make me laugh so hard and think so hard in the same sentence." -- Stephen Orr, garden editor and writer
Stephen Orr, garden editor and writer

Garden Design - Sarah Kinbar
“Soler’s fully-realized sense of style is matched by her glittering personality and deep knowledge of gardening and design.”
Garden Rant - Susan Harris
"Front lawns, beware - The Germinatrix has you in her crosshairs! Ivette Soler is a welcome voice urging us to mow less and grow some food - in her uniquely fun, infectious yet informative way."

Sarah Kinbar
“Soler’s fully-realized sense of style is matched by her glittering personality and deep knowledge of gardening and design.”
— Garden Design
Susan Harris

"Front lawns, beware - The Germinatrix has you in her crosshairs! Ivette Soler is a welcome voice urging us to mow less and grow some food - in her uniquely fun, infectious yet informative way."
— Garden Rant

Meet the Author


Ivette Soler is a garden designer and writer living in Los Angeles, California. Her plant design work for Elysian Landscapes, and her own personal garden, have appeared in magazines such as Metropolitan Home, Sunset, and House & Garden, as well as in several books. Ivette’s garden writing has been featured in Garden Design, Cottage Living, and Budget Living, and she was the resident gardening expert on NBC’s The Bonnie Hunt Show. Her popular gardening blog, The Germinatrix, originated in 2006 as a part of Domino magazine; since 2009, Ivette’s blog has been thriving independently at www.thegerminatrix.com.

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Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
LittlestDove More than 1 year ago
This book walks the reader from the beginning (removing your lawn) to finish (your edible front yard). It also highlights each of its recommended plants and how to use them practically. Inspiring and gorgeous photography...
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AnnBKeller More than 1 year ago
Having a front yard is a love-hate relationship. You love it when your front yard looks great, but hate keeping it up. Wouldn’t it also be awesome if you could put some of that great real estate to good use? In The Edible Front Yard, designer Ivette Soler presents the reader with some stunning ideas how to utilize a front yard as a colorful, dramatic statement from which one can grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Be bold! Cast the brilliant red stems of chard against the bushy leaves of Italian parsley. See how sea lavender or ruby-red loose leaf lettuce can edge a path to perfection, while an espaliered apple tree climbs ever skyward behind a thriving bed of tomatoes. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you’ll find some useful ideas in this stunning book filled with pictures and a host of creative information.
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HSMomof4 More than 1 year ago
The Edible Front Yard... a book review For all the homeowners who desire a beautiful, producing garden, here is your "handbook!" Ivette Soler walks you through front-yard gardening from the planning stage to the visually appealing, productive front yard. Here is a picture of my 4 x 8 square-foot "front yard" garden. I have a lot of room to make a complete Edible Front Yard! In The Edible Front Yard, Ivette Soler shows you how to "rip" out your current front yard, and replant it using vegetables, herbs, fruit trees, and ornamental beauties to make your it the envy of the neighborhood. Are you ready to be the first in your area to be a non-conformist from the well-manicured grass-filled front yard? From the first page to the last, Ivette describes how to plan, build, plant, maintain, and harvest your front garden. She describes different plants, including a 'How to Grow' and 'How to Use' section for each. This is followed by learning the different ways plants grow and how to set-up your areas which will be most pleasing for the best curb appeal possible. She uses the same techniques that landscape architects employ, but with vegetables. By following the detailed plans from the book, my plain front yard could look like this... or this... or possibly this... The author, Ivette Soler, resides in Los Angeles, CA. She utilizes her background of plant design work for Elysian Landscapes, and her own personal garden, and has put together a very-detailed how-to book for front yard gardening. As you read through this book and incorporate different ideas at your home, keep in mind that her background is in California. Always check the hardiness zones on the plants you wish to use! * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * I had difficulty visualizing my front yard as I read through her book. There were so many details that I got lost from chapter to chapter. This is definitely a book that you continually reference. Also, I read this on a black-and-white Nook. This must be read on a color reader or in actual book form. The pictures are amazing and need to be experienced in full-color. My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars I received a complimentary copy of The Edible Front Yard from Timber Press Publisher for my honest review.