Cover image for 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
Soler, Ivette.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Portland, Or. : Timber Press, 2011.
Physical Description:
213 p. : col. ill. ; 26 cm.
Inspired curb appeal -- The new front yard plant palette: the ornamental edibles -- Expanding our edible palette: the helpers -- Design primer and garden planner -- Edible front yard garden designs -- Reality check: assess your front yard -- Out with the old: remove and reuse lawn, plants, and materials -- Building the bones: hardscape, privacy, and irrigation -- Working it: organically maintaining your front yard -- Harvest time and beyond.
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Call Number
Material Type
1 635 SOL Adult Paperback NonFiction Book
1 635 S685 Adult NonFiction Book
1 635 SOL Adult NonFiction Book

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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." -- 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.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

A picture is worth a thousand words, and Soler's guide to combining vegetables, flowers, herbs, and fruit trees for front yard curb appeal proves it. This germinatrix demonstrates with numerous full-color, page-filling photos the literal and figurative beauty in transforming a wasteful time-consuming, toxic monoculture . . . an anti-social space into a more evolved and exciting version of front yard beauty that prizes health, diversity, and pleasure over short-term convenience. Soler's suggestions for well-designed lawn alternatives emphasize color, form, and varietal texture found in such commonplace and utilitarian flora as apple trees, fragrant basil with its African Blue blooms, and the burnished stems, elongated leaves, and purple lacquered fruit of eggplants. An alphabetical listing of ornamental edibles from apples to wormwood (a genus of insect-repelling plants with silvery foliage as intoxicating visually, that is as its putatively hallucinogenic distillate, absinthe) combined with landscaping tips for various building styles and a resources list round out a useful and inspiring volume.--Scott, Whitney Copyright 2010 Booklist



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!   Excerpted from The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden by Ivette Soler All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.