So my friend Ivette Soler wrote a book. And not just any book, no ma’am. Ivette is anything but pedestrian; no run-of-the-mill kind of garden book for her. Nope, she wrote a book called The Edible Front Yard (Timber Press)*– she proposes ripping out your useless grass and growing all manner of veggies, fruits and herbs there. And, of course, making it beautiful.
Ivette’s the perfect person to write a book like this–she’s an awesomely talented landscape designer, an engaging writer and speaker, she does things her own way and she encourages the rest of us to get our thang on, too. She is passionate about everything she takes on, and she can say the most outrageous things and get away with it. But she’s also a smart cookie–she knows that asking people to take out a lawn in the front yard when some people are just beginning to wrap their minds around a grassless backyard is asking a lot. And she knows that some gardeners live in HOA-ruled neighborhoods where they are required to have a front lawn, and that neighbors might not want a substantially different-looking yard next door. So Ivette recommends the following:
- Consider minimizing your lawn rather than totally getting rid of it
- Focus on hardscaping (pathways, raised beds, masonry) to define your front yard so that it doesn’t look like it’s a Boy Scout project (no offense, Max & Luke, my Eagle Scout sons)
- Make your garden as beautiful as you can (don’t give people a reason to complain, for heaven’s sake!)
- Share your harvest with the neighbors (well-fed people find it more difficult to gripe about your yard)
- Incorporate flowering perennials and evergreens alongside your edibles so you have beauty, structure and function covered
This is smart advice, my friends! Any old hippy can grow vegetables anywhere they want, and people will likely shrug and say, “Well, that’s just Sunshine. She really is a nice person, once you get past her odd ways.” How about you get Ivette’s book, take her advice and have your neighbors say, “Whoa! Check out Steve’s front yard! I bet I could do something even better….” and before you know it, you’ve got an entire neighborhood of awesome edible front yards.
I don’t have a yard. I mean that literally. I live in a 3rd floor apartment with a windy balcony for a garden. And next year, I am planning to move down to The Hunky Foreman’s house on a whole entire acre–but the front yard is waaaay too shady for edibles. The backyard, however, will be a veritable farmer’s market. I’ll be able to employ many of Ivette’s ideas into that back yard; The Hunky Foreman won’t know what hit him.
*Oh, yeah. Here’s where I say I was sent a preview copy of The Edible Front Yard by Timber Press. But if you think for a moment that that influenced my review, think again, bubba.