I’ve always loved having an edible garden. It isn’t a new idea, cottage gardens in Europe traditionally combined growing vegetables for the family along with table flowers, due to the small spaces most people had in those times. And cottage gardening continues to be one of the most popular gardening styles, because of the charm and possibilities that those type of gardens hold. I suppose there is something satisfying about an ornamental edible garden that touches on our needs for survival, but acknowledges our need for beauty. And so it perseveres, but edible gardens for beauty lost their appeal in the new century. Fortunately, with the new awareness of “green” living, and the DIY movement in design, gardeners are looking at their spaces in new ways. We don’t plant any longer within a structure of “rules”. We plant, and design, for that matter, leaning towards trying things that are new, pushing the envelope a bit, and being unique.


Edible Garden Design

Ornamental edible garden design is becoming hot… with small spaces common and the desire to grow at least some of our own food, we need to see this more!

Some easy guidelines for growing ornamental edibles?

  • Remember to balance edibles that have a short growing season with edibles that are evergreen, or at least last all season. You don’t want a big hole in your garden when the lettuce is down for the summer.

  • Edibles can include herbs, veggies, fruits and some flowers too!
  • Remember texture is very important in an edible garden.
  • Don’t forget that the color of fruit or veggies affect the design as well. Hot peppers look great in glossy green, but add a pop of red when they mature!
  • Remember the basics… shade plants in shade gardens, sun in sun gardens. That having been said, most edible gardens will do better with 6 hours or more of sun a day. Some edibles, such as lettuce and some herbs, prefer afternoon shade. Plan accordingly.
  • Watch for pests, and treat as necessary. However, integrating herbs into your edible design can actually help minimize some pest problems.

Some ideas for ornamental edible plants?

  • Red and green leaf lettuce.
  • Cabbages
  • Other greens, such as red swiss chard and celery.
  • Herbs
  • Artichokes
  • Edible flowers such as roses, day lilies, pansies, nasturtiums and honeysuckle
  • Fruit trees and bushes. Blueberry blushes are especially handsome plants.

Still not convinced an ornamental edible garden can be beautiful? Photos by ‘HGTV‘.


Lettuce and pansies!


A pretty modern border. Photo by ‘Architectural Digest‘.


Herbs used in a slightly more formal design. Photo by ‘HGTV‘.

Use an edible garden design to create a space that does double duty, making your space gorgeous and productive all at once! We think you will also love our posts on DIY Container Vegetable Gardens and Fabulous Flower Beds as well.


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  1. Dr. Maya Rao January 12, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    Rosemary is another worthwhile ‘edible’ herb plant . It is a hardy, easy to maintain, ornamental bush with fragrant flowers and foliage, which can be eaten raw in salads, or cooked with veggies for flavour.

  2. Heather January 18, 2016 at 11:03 am

    I love this post! I have lots of edibles in my back yard but I’m worried about adding them to the front. I try to keep the front neater/more showy. Last year I encorporated Swiss chard in the front and some pepper plants. This article gave me some great ideas. The lettuce border is gorgeous!


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