The Front Yard Kitchen Garden

It almost seems like a taboo to grow vegetables and fruits in your front yard.  

This is understandable, given how they traditionally look, which I suppose is less ornamental, permanent and slightly less tidy than other kinds of gardens. Thus offering your home less curb appeal. However I think this isn't necessary the case.

Fruits and vegetables are homely and welcoming... think about Rabbit's house in Winnie the Pooh - they offer a more modern yet contemporary cottage feel for any home style, as urban blocks ever increasingly shrink. Most front yards also offer fruits and vegetables the necessary daily five or more hours of sunlight, as there are generally fewer obstructions like fences and other structures that block out the sun.

Southbank's edible Epicurious Garden in Brisbane are a fine example of a kitchen garden that laid out in a formal and organised manner.

 The key to presenting such a garden is picking the right plants, using structures (which could possibly double as art installations) and planting in formal layouts of hedges and row patterns. Leafy vegetables can be used as ground cover, fruit trees as feature plants and other more denser berry shrubs can be made into hedges.

If you're really lacking the space to create more of a formal garden, you'll need to plant more vertically. Again the key to this is using a structure(s) that will allow you to do this. You can either create a long trellis archway or arbor over a central path covered with vines (likes grapes or passion fruits) and do the rest of your vegetable planting at the base of it. You'll have to make sure that they all get plenty of sun. A couple or few symmetrically planted fruit trees could also provide complementary features to visually support the arbor.

If you have even less space available for your kitchen garden for whatever reasons (like myself) you're going to have to plant more vertically. I recommend using a modified hobby green house, to provide a small room to keep all your edible plants in. I personally modified a lean on green house, meaning it is open on one side. In Brisbane it probably doesn't get too cold for growing vegetables, but it can get too hot, so there isn't a need for a traditional green house roof. Having an open roof also lets the rain come in, which will save you a little on our water bill. So I removed the roof and instead created a wire trellis to grow vines on. I planted some blue berries opposite each other in a symmetrical manner as well as a dragon fruit cactus. Being a small area, it would be difficult to bend down and work the soil and to keep the soil loose and moist, so instead of planting my vegetables into the ground, I used some planter boxes I bought from Bunnings (for $20 each) and Daiso (for $2.80 each). These make it easier for you to sow seeds and remove the mature vegetables once they have grown up.

Regardless of how you design your kitchen garden, it's a lot of fun and it's rewarding to eat the fruits (or vegetables) of your labour. The important thing is finding the right place where they can get at least 5 hours a day of sunlight and with some simple design principles it can look good also, even if it's in your front yard. Happy gardening.


Brett Plagens

White Walls & Colourful Curtains


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Wednesday, 08 July 2020

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I’ve been decorating since I was 15 years old. I started because my family home was in an embarrassi ...

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