You want to grow some food, but you don’t want your yard to look like a farm. Or maybe your Home Owner’s Association has rules on that and will freak if they can tell you planted some produce producing plants. Or maybe you have a difficult neighbor who has a tendency to report everything you do to the city inspectors. If you are looking for a way to mix in the edible plants with flowering things The Beautiful Edible Garden: Design a Stylish Outdoor Space Using Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs might be the book you.


Recently released in paperback by Ten Speed Press, the paperback book is broken into six chapters detailed with text and numerous photographs. Designed to take you through design, planting, harvesting, and maintaining your garden there is also information geared toward us apartment dwellers with patios and balcony’s. Colorful and edible is the idea here along with using whatever space you have to maximum effect.


Chapter One “Principles for Successful Edible Garden Design” opens the colorful 200 page book after a very brief introduction. The main theme here is to come up with something that has balance and complements the architecture of the home. By choosing the right height and color plant and considering the ideas of symmetry and asymmetry, among other design ideas, you can achieve something beautiful. The authors take readers visually and by text through these ideas as swell as show how to make the garden work year around with multiple harvests of the same produce. Various styles of landscaping among other topics are covered here.


Chapter Two “Creating Your Beautiful Edible Garden” takes the reader through the author’s five step process to create exactly what the chapter title suggests regardless of the space. They also tell you what to consider regarding your soil, light, water, and other issues.


Starting on page 67 you can start applying what you have learned in “Chapter Three:  The Beautiful Edible Front Yard.”  This is what the neighbors will see the most and there are ways to grow food without the issues noted above. Your only issue may be being sure to plant enough to share when harvest time comes around. Design elements are also a major focus of this chapter as is the problem of unwanted pets in the yard. Front yards can also be a good focal point for containers and they are discussed here.


Once you have done the deal in the front yard you move on to “Chapter Four: The Beautiful Edible Backyard.”  Working off the idea that the vegetable aspect of gardening should be a focal point of the overall landscape, the authors explain in detail how to make things beautiful, productive, and functional. Along the way they go through various options such as if you want to have a large family dining area separate away from the main house,  on a small patio, or something else.  What you can plant intermixed along a walkway and what really needs its own beds (garlic and potatoes) among other topics are covered.


Chapter Five comes into play where your space is limited. “Beautiful Window Boxes, Side Yards, and Other Small Spaces” begins on page 149 and opens with advice on container gardens. Once you gave the right container, you need the right edible plant for it. The authors make numerous detailed suggestions. Window boxes, side yards, and other small spaces are also extensively covered very well in this chapter.


“Chapter Six:  Planting and Maintaining Your Beautiful Edible Garden” is all about just that.  Improving your soil, getting a compost bin going (assuming you can have one), water issues, etc., are just a few of the issues covered here before more information on the various types of seeds and plants. Along with a list of toxic plants that you may wish to avoid if you have small children that put anything and everything in their mouths, there are suggestions regarding tools, planting techniques, mulch, pests, beneficial bugs, and more.


This isn’t just a how to grow book.  Interspersed throughout the book are instructions with pictures on how to assemble wreaths of all types, flower arrangements, and other colorful elements for your home. That carries over into the five page resource list that stars on page 200.  In addition to blog and book suggestions, there are recommendations for composting supplies and materials, nurseries, organic fertilizers, tools and furniture, and more.


The book concludes with a one page acknowledgement page and a one page author/contributor page and a four page index.


The Beautiful Edible Garden: Design a Stylish Outdoor Space Using Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs is one of those colorful gardening books that not only will inspire you to try to duplicate the results, it will show you how to do so in simple step by step detail. Colorful and informative, this paperback works on every level. All you have to do is get out there and get dirty.


The Beautiful Edible Garden: Design a Stylish Outdoor Space Using Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs

Leslie Bennett and Stefani Bittner

Flower Arrangements by Studio Choo

Photographs by David Fenton

Ten Speed Press (Crown Publishing)

February 2013

ISBN# 978-1-60774-233-3

Paperback (also available as e-book)

220 Pages



Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

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