What is edible landscaping?

Not your grandmother's vegetable garden. See more pictures of vegetables.
Steven Wooster/Getty Images

The question of whether you can grow vegetables and fruit in your yard is a no-brainer. Tidy green rows of vegetable gardens dot neighborhoods across the United States during the warmer months. An activity most popular among people over 50, the National Garden Association estimates that about 22 percent of Americans have some sort of vegetable garden [source: Fischer].

Vegetables Image Gallery

But one distinguishing feature among many of these crop-yielding plots is their location. Many times, people till up plots of dirt hidden away from the front lawn. Although pleasant to look at during harvest time, vegetable gardens often defer to flowering ones when it comes to prominence and appearance.

Not so with edible landscaping. Edible landscaping is the great equalizer of the gardening world. Tomatoes, arugula, squash and their other vegetable brethren are no longer planted away from the gaze of passersby. They now find new homes nestled beside showstoppers like roses, marigolds and violets. Proudly displayed flowers no longer escape harvesting either, with edible varieties added to salads, sandwiches and even ice creams.

How did this design concept arise? And if I want to landscape my yard like this, will it look like a messy hodgepodge? Will walls of corn obscure the view from my window, or will a pumpkin patch block my driveway? We'll discuss the background of edible landscaping on the next page.