You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

This Family’s Lush Landscape Is Full of Small Space Edible Gardening Ideas

Better Homes and Gardens logo Better Homes and Gardens 7/22/2020 Andrea Beck
a group of people sitting on a bench next to a palm tree: Plus, plenty of creative solutions you can copy in your own yard! © Caitlin Atkinson Plus, plenty of creative solutions you can copy in your own yard!

Designing and planting a lush, abundant edible garden can seem like an impossible task when you don’t have much space to work with, but a little ingenuity can help you make the most of every inch of soil. Titi Liu became inspired to transform the limited landscaping around her home while walking by her neighbor’s yard in Palo Alto, California. In particular, the raised garden beds filled with fresh veggies caught her eye, and she soon found out that Leslie Bennett, owner of Pine House Edible Gardens, was behind the pretty, productive design. Bennett is known both for the gorgeous vegetable beds she creates for her clients, and for finding creative ways to weave in edibles throughout a landscape.

a group of people sitting on a bench next to a palm tree: Caitlin Atkinson © Provided by Better Homes and Gardens Caitlin Atkinson

Titi and Eric Liu decided to hire Bennett and landscape architect Holly Kuljian to help them reimagine their simple landscaping of mostly native ornamental plants as a more diverse, beautiful mix that included plenty of edibles. "It's a small yard, so we wanted every spot to work hard," Bennett says. The family’s new landscape is jam-packed with ideas for small space gardening.

a garden in front of a brick building: Caitlin Atkinson © Provided by Better Homes and Gardens Caitlin Atkinson

Build Raised Beds in Unused Spaces

One of the most innovative parts of the Lius’ new garden is the raised beds in their brick driveway. The family hardly ever used the driveway, so Bennett decided to make the area functional by installing cedar raised beds filled with edible plants. Each bed was designed to produce as much food as possible; steel trellises support vining crops such as cucumbers, herbs grow around the edges of each bed, and flowering plants such as anise hyssop help attract pollinators but can also be used to brew tea.

a tree in a garden: Caitlin Atkinson © Provided by Better Homes and Gardens Caitlin Atkinson

Maximize Shade With the Right Edibles and Ornamentals

The Lius’ backyard presented a lighting challenge; though it’s about 1,000 square feet, it also has a big, shady oak tree that makes it a little trickier to grow edible plants. Bennett squeezed in ginger, lavender, pomegranate, pineapple guava, and fig trees into the sunniest spots, then filled in shadier areas with ornamentals that tolerate less light. She also picked ornamentals that would look good in any season, such as yuccas, mahonias, and asparagus ferns, which line the flagstone pathway to the front porch.

a house with bushes in front of a brick building: Caitlin Atkinson © Provided by Better Homes and Gardens Caitlin Atkinson

Include Plants for Privacy and Enclosure

Because the Lius’ front yard faces a busy street, Bennett selected perennials that will offer year-round privacy. Cape rush and phormium can both reach 6 feet tall (or more), providing plenty of privacy, while Fuyu persimmon trees provide the family with fresh fruit (plus enough extra to share with neighbors!). And throughout the whole property, the designers used masses of plantings to create a sense of enclosure within the framework of the existing hardscaping. Including both edibles and ornamentals with architectural foliage means there's never a dull view from the house.

a house with bushes in front of a brick building: Caitlin Atkinson © Provided by Better Homes and Gardens Caitlin Atkinson

Grow Food Your Family Loves Eating

Whenever Bennett designs an edible garden for a family, there are a few staples she always tries to include. Berries are easy to grab (and easy for kids to harvest); she likes to plant huckleberries in shade, strawberries in containers, and vining raspberries and blackberries along fences. Blueberry bushes can also double as a hedge. Snackable plants are also a favorite of hers, including cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and cucamelons. Finally, root veggies are fun for kids to dig up, and some, such as radishes, mature quickly and can be ready to harvest in about 30 days.


Gallery: 10 of the Best Annuals to Grow in Your Cutting Garden (Better Homes and Gardens)

AdChoices

More From Better Homes and Garden

Better Homes and Gardens
Better Homes and Gardens
AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon