Edible landscape ideas for zone 7b

jenica(7B)April 27, 2014

Hi everyone,

I am planning on putting in an edible landscape in my side front yard. I have an HOA so it has to be really pretty or they will be down on me. It's a narrow space, 9' on one end and 16' on the other, and about fifty feet long. What are your favorite edible landscape plants?

Heres my list of possible contenders, feel free to yea or nay them:
Trellised beans
Espalier fruit tree, maybe peach or pear
Creeping thyme
Asparagus maybe?

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
andbowen(7b/8a DFW TX)

Where exactly are you located? I have a lot of edible plants in my front yard, and my neighbors actually really enjoy it. Some of them bring their kids by my house so they can teach them where "real food" comes from.

What type of sun exposure does the area get? What type of soil do you have (blueberries require acidic soil)? are you planning to do raised beds? Can you put up a picture of the area so we can help you a little better? There is a LOT you can do with edibles in the landscape. It just takes a little creativity.

Here are some of my favorites that are front yard worthy:
Pretty much any herb, but especially Mexican oregano (poliomintha longiflora), Mexican tarragon (also called Mexican mint marigold or sweet mace), mint if properly contained, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, bergamot, germander, bay laurel (gets really big), dill, fennel (bronze is beautiful), cilantro, parsley, borage, lavender, and all of the sages - tricolor, purple, golden, bergarten, pineapple, etc.

Echinacea is goregeous, and there are so many varieties. Nasturtiums are another pretty edible flower choice.

Basically any veggie can be tucked into the landscape if done properly. Eggplant, squash, and okra all have gorgeous flowers. Just be sure to pick a variety that will blend into the space you put it in. Amaranth is super cool. Artichokes add height and texture, and the flowers are amazing if you allow them to open. Peppers are great - again, just choose the right variety for the space. There are a ton of options. In the fall, you can add lettuce, swiss chard, broccoli, mustard greens, and kale. They look great with snapdragons.

If you have a trellis, you can add anything that climbs - passionflower, small pumpkins, green beans, malabar spinach, cucumbers, grapes....

The only thing I personally do not put in my front yard is tomatoes. Mine always look like crap by the end of the season.

Edible landscaping is so much more attractive than turf in my opinion. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 1:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm in the Flower Mound/Lewisville area. The spot would be full sun but it does have shade in the morning. He soil is utter crap so I will have to have topsoil brought in. Right now the only thing that grows well there is dandelion, (which we do enjoy eating but we'd like something a little more varied, lol). I'm not planning on any raised beds I feel like they are more hindrance than help with the hot dry summers we get. I will take a picture of the area tomorrow and upload it.

Thanks for all the great suggestions. I am taking notes and plan on investigating all of your ideas.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 6:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
andbowen(7b/8a DFW TX)

Look into the bulk products from soil building systems. They deliver if you need a lot. I use their compost to amend my clay, and it has worked wonders. They also have some special blends for busting up clay and others specifically for growing veggies. You're not too far from me, so let me know if you need any seeds to get started. I have a lot of stuff - more than I will ever plant. Here are a few pics of our front yard from last summer. This year it'll be a bit more organized, but you'll see there is a lot of food mixed in with the flowers.




Okra in bloom:


    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 6:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I love the idea of front yard veggie gardening and I would love to see your photos. For some reason they don't come up when I copy and paste the links above.

Just for future reference to anyone posting photos: if you paste the Photobucket HTML code in the message box the photos will appear when you preview the post and show, of course, to the rest of us in the body of your post.

Happy gardening!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 7:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Oh wow ... andbowen, your garden is gorgeous! When I copied and pasted leaving out the [IMG] and they come up.

Here's just one of them:

Whoo hoo! Your yard is a poster garden for all front yard garden wannabees.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 7:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow, andbowen, that is gorgeous! What are those pretty pink flowers and white flowers nestled together there in front? Are the pink ones dahlias?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 9:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
andbowen(7b/8a DFW TX)

Oops! I was posting from my phone and it didn't work quite the way I wanted it to. Thanks for the compliment!!! Last year was a total hodge podge. We had random watermelon sprout from our compost, but I recognized the leaves and let grow. GROW it did... 20 something feet. I let my toddler pick out many of the flowers, and we just randomly found spots for them. It was like a painter's pallet exploded in our yard, but it was fun. This year is more organized. I'll put up pics when it really gets going.

Okra in bloom:

Broccoli, kale, and mustard greens with snapdragons and marigolds:

Herbs and flowers:

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 9:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
andbowen(7b/8a DFW TX)

Those are cherry swirl zinnias planted with white Angelonia. Butterflies love them!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 9:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

BRAVO! I love it! Would love any suggestions on what and how to plant around squirrels and other critters.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 9:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
andbowen(7b/8a DFW TX)

Just plant so much stuff that you don't really notice when they eat something. :-) or plant some catmint/cat grass throughout to attract cats to your yard. The critters won't come as close if they smell cats.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 9:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I finally took a picture. I hope the link works.

I would like to put a gate in the fence at the back of the picture and a flagstone path leading up to it. I was thinking pomegranate bushes in the back corner with some tea camellias and blueberries along the house and neighbor's driveway. Up front I was thinking lavender and asparagus and all the other plants somewhere in the middle. I have to plan it all out on graph paper. I'm planning on ordering some soil from soil building systems maybe next week.

This picture was taken at 10am but by noon it is all full sun.

Here is a link that might be useful: Edible landscape

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 11:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
andbowen(7b/8a DFW TX)

Western sun is tough. I would stick to only the toughest, most heat tolerant plants - okra, peppers, and tatume squash are all really awesome throughout the summer. If you do blueberries, they absolutely must have acidic soil (raised beds or containers - Home depot sells the ý whiskey barrels that you could drill and sink into the ground so you only see about 6â of the rim of the barrel. It could actually look really cool.) DonâÂÂt forget about cross-pollination with several varieties, all with overlapping bloom times. Everything IâÂÂve read about Camellias says they need shade in our area, but there might be a variety that can withstand the heat/sun⦠IâÂÂve just never come across one.

IâÂÂve read that pomegranates donâÂÂt do well with our winters, but the house I grew up in had a pomegranate on the west-facing wall of our house, and it produced like a champ. The fruit was always small, but it was reliable.

Asparagus gets tall - 4-6âÂÂ, and it does not look very pretty once the heat really gets going, so it should probably go in the back toward the fence, but make sure you have easy access to the asparagus for harvesting in the early spring. Asparagus in N. Texas should be planted in Jan-Feb.

That downspout on the corner of the house would be a perfect spot for a nice wine barrel style rain barrel.

If it were my yard, I would seriously consider removing all the vegetation in the area (weeds and grass) prior to adding any soil/amendments to the area. As long as there isnâÂÂt any Bermuda, you might be ok, but it would really suck to be constantly pulling out grass.

Definitely do the graph paper thing - I do it all the time, and it really helps me avoid overplanting. In fact, HereâÂÂs a very quick mockup of where I would consider putting stuff. Obviously, I donâÂÂt have your exact measurements, so itâÂÂs all approximate.

Hope that helps!!!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 6:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks Andbowen! That gives me so much to work with. I do the same thing with graph paper. I have my outline worked out but was researching varieties and plant sizes before filling it in.

I've never heard of tatume squash, it is a winter or summer one and how does it taste? Also, what can you use tarragon with? I've never used it in my cooking.

As far as preparing the site, I plan on tilling up the whole area, putting down cardboard, and then the new trucked in soil on top.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 7:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
andbowen(7b/8a DFW TX)

Gardening is my creative outlet. :-) based on sun patterns, I guessed that the sidewalk was north. If that's not the case, some things definitely wouldn't work - like the strawberries, which need morning sun and afternoon shade.

I totally forgot about roselle (hibiscus sabdarifa). You can make a delicious cranberry-ish flavored tea with the flower calyx. YUM!!!

Tatume squash is my all time favorite. It's a spreading vine, but it stays low and the leaves are small, kind of like a watermelon. It's a great groundcover. It roots easily if you bury the vine, so it's easy to stay ahead of the dreaded SVB. The vines are are also thin and dense, so squash vine borers can't really get in very well. The squash is round and similar to zucchini. It's sweet, mild, and the flesh is firm, so it holds up well to cooking. I've read that it can be eaten as a winter squash too if you let it mature, but ours always get eaten when they are about baseball to softball size.

If you want a bush squash, zephyr, a hybrid, is my favorite. It stays small and tidy (big leaves, small bush), is extremely fast to produce (first harvest was 28 days after germination), and the taste can't be beat. Also, the squash are 1/2 yellow and 1/2 green, split right across the center. Very neat.

Mexican tarragon (aka mexican mint marigold) is good with chicken and fish. I rarely use it in cooking, but I love the plant. It's a low, mounding perennial that is covered in small yellow flowers in the fall. My daughter loves it.

Another kid favorite around here is bronze fennel. We have four in the front yard, and my daughter picks some to eat every day after school on her way into the house.

If you've never seen mexican oregano before, google poliomintha longiflora. It's great for hummingbirds.

I also forgot to mention red veined sorrel. Very pretty. I had it with red sails lettuce in the winter, which I just replaced with cherry butterfly gaura.

For peppers, some good tall ones that we use frequently are Anaheim (look into the NuMex varieties like joe Parker) and poblano. Both get 3-4'. On the shorter side are jalapeños and habaneros. Habaneros are gorgeous plants. We got about 500 peppers off one plant last summer. The leaves are lighter green and the habit is bushier than most others. I'm going to try a mild pepper called Cajun belle for the first time this year. It's supposed to stay small and be a big time producer.

There is a patio eggplant called pinstripe that is very attractive and produces a lot.
Consider throwing in a 'mystic spires' salvia. They stay on the small side and are a bee favorite around here.

For okra, Clemson spineless is the classic heirloom, but I also really like a hybrid called millionaire. Keep an eye out for stink bugs. They can cause a lot of damage.

Daylilies are also edible.

That's probably more info than you ever wanted, but let me know if I can answer anything else. I really wish more...

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 11:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

Nice thread with some great ideas and photos. I'll put a word in for chives which don't seem to have been mentioned yet. They're flowering now and have a structure that makes them an edible alternative to liriope, rain lily, and similar.

Here is a link that might be useful: Plant Care Guides - Chives

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 10:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Gardener972(7b-8a DFW)

You're a little late on getting an edible landscape in, particularly greens. Pepper might do OK with sufficient water.... well everything will need plenty of water getting them in this late. Trees and bushes do best when you plant them in Feb., your garden in late Feb. though early March.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 4:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
andbowen(7b/8a DFW TX)

Yes, all cool season greens will have to wait till fall, and aspargus can't be planted until Jan, but it's not too late to start!!! Any time is a good time to get started on a long-term project like this.

For summer greens, you can put in malabar spinach, roselle, and amaranth. Even sweet potato and pumpkin provide edible greens during the summer if you want to go that route.

Pepper and eggplant transplants and okra and squash seeds do need to be planted ASAP.

Yes, the fruit (blueberries and pomegranate) will do better if you wait to plant until it's dormant in the late winter/early spring. Strawberries will do best if planted in fall and mulched well through the winter. Success definitely depends on timing, but getting in the materials and layout takes some time anyway. Just use the planting calendars for our area as good guide for what to put in at what time.

And most importanly, HAVE FUN!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: NHG Fall Planting Guide

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 5:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I may have to wait anyway. I just priced out topsoil and it would cost me $600 to put 6 inches over the whole area. Even if I just did 3 inches it would still be $300. That pretty much blew my whole idea of a budget.

I would really like to smother the weeds with cardboard and do some strip composting on too but my HOA would not be happy with that. I'm probably going to have to do this piecemeal which stinks because I'll have to deal with grass constantly encroaching in whatever I plant.

I think I will focus on some small perennial beds and work up to bigger things. Maybe I can get some blueberry bushes in this year since they would be planted in pots in the ground anyway.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 11:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
andbowen(7b/8a DFW TX)

Any chance you can solarize without causing too much trouble? 3" of compost would probably be enough to get started, especially if you can solarize first, and then till in the compost. Top that with 2" of hardwood mulch, and you're golden. Also, start going to Starbucks and ask them to collect the used grounds for you. They'll give it to you free. Sometimes I'm able to get about 40 lbs from a single trip to the store up the street. If there is a composting facility near you, you might be able to get free compost or free mulch. The city of Allen has a free compost program. The only problem is that you might end up with undesirable results.

My front yard in those pics is nothing more than Texas clay with 2" of compost and coffee grounds on top, with 1.5" of mulch on top of that.

Also be careful along your foundation. Typically you want to maintain the mulch line at or below 3" from the top of the foundation to prevent termites. I tend to go a little higher - 1.5-2" from the top of the foundation, but our entire property has a 10 year termite warranty.

Here is a link that might be useful: Solarize your grass

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 11:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm pretty sure the HOA would be up in arms if I had plastic on my lawn.

Good call on the Starbucks. I used to do that last time I lived in the suburbs but I had forgotten all about that. I lived out in the country of TN for three years and was far from Starbucks. I could rake that into the grass for now and then the soil would be richer when I'm ready to kill off the grass. There's a Starbucks in my Kroger that I shop in so I wouldn't even need to make an extra trip.

I really like the idea of oh balanced soil from Soil Building systems but maybe I could get away with compost.

The soil on that side of the house has been washed away and there is a good foot of foundation showing so I can add quite a bit and not have to worry about termites.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 9:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
andbowen(7b/8a DFW TX)

LOL! I figured it might turn some heads, but maybe you could market it as a neighborhood summer slip and slide? Kidding. HOAs are such a double edge sword. SBS might be willing to work with you on the price... It never hurts to ask.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 9:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your garden pictures are lovely! Maybe you could do the newspaper/black plastic, then mulch over that and put some nice temporary planter pots there?
I am going to recommend you put in a thorn-less blackberry!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 3:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For summer edible landscape: okra, and peppers. I have artichokes and kale for spring/winter. Don't bother with asparagus it is ugly in the edible landscape. Banana, kiwi, and passionfruit are great. Snap peas in winter.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 9:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OP, all you need is your on-site soil, compost and mulch. You will be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Nothing more, nothing less.


This post was edited by Mackel-in-DFW on Sun, Jun 1, 14 at 9:06

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 1:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Three inches high of compost that covers the entire area of your approximately 600 square feet will run you about $150.

You might be able to find the mulch for free from a local arborist (shredded tree trimmings). This makes one of the very best mulches you could find..

Just about every claim made by the company's website that you mentioned is highly misleading, or counter-productive.

Best wishes, and welcome to the "edible landscaping club" !


This post was edited by Mackel-in-DFW on Sun, Jun 1, 14 at 9:03

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 1:37AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
rabbit fence
We live in houston and looking at getting a rabbit...
I'm moving over here :) Castle looking house
Hi all! I recently posted pics over on the landscaping...
going to austin but can't spend all time nursery hopping...
...as much as I'd like to, ha ha. Would like to know...
Crepe Myrtle Transplating - Houston Area
Hi, I originally thought about posting this in the...
HAVE: Ft Worth Spring Swap Trinity Park April 18
Okay, I know it's still January. technically. But the...
Sponsored Products
Kichler Lighting 15349MST Tulip Midnight Spruce Landscape Path Light
Littman Bros Lighting
15328 Large Center Mount Low Voltage Path Light
LBC Lighting
Traditional Elegance "Present" Cheesecake - NA
$175.00 | Horchow
Aegean Blue Two-Person Backpack Cooler Set
$54.99 | zulily
Nourison Area Rug: Modesto Brick Black 7' 10" x 10' 6"
Home Depot
Half Moon Deck Light by Kichler
$69.40 | Lumens
100W 120V T4 G8 Halogen Clear Bulb by SATCO Lighting
$6.99 | Lumens
Creative Playthings Molded Plastic Border & Border Spike - 15142-700K
$29.60 | Hayneedle
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™