Starting a Garden With Edible Landscaping? Better Check These Things Out First ...!

When starting a garden, it's easy to overlook the obvious ....

This website is for sale.

Contact me if you'd like to make an offer.

For example:

I chatted online with a man who was enthusiastic about edible landscaping, and he took starting a garden SERIOUSLY.

He spent hundreds of dollars on seeds, plants, and tools ...

... and only then did he learn that his Homeowners' Association covenant forbids growing food in the front yard.

He felt crushed! After digging up his yard, he has to fight the HOA board while his valuable plants sit in containers.

Don't let this happen to you!

There are many reasons to slow down and investigate BEFORE starting a garden that have nothing to do with restrictive covenants (although those seem to be a major hurdle in some areas).

Here's some things to consider when starting out:

  • First, the obvious question: does your HOA, city, township, or community restrict food growing in the front yard?

(if so, all is not lost! I've written a couple of articles about this in the Tasteful Landscape newsletter, if you're interested. Access is free when you join.)

  • Do you live within a hundred feet of a major highway? I'm referring to freeways, state highways, turnpikes, toll roads, anything with major traffic?

This is not good. The risk of pollution is much higher in those areas, as well as the risk of garbage, pilferage, and other annoyances. Consider moving if possible, or restricting your edible landscaping to the area farthest from the highway.

Keep edible plantings at least 10 feet from any public street (unless it's very lightly traveled), just to be safe.

  • Are there power lines that cross your property (either buried or above ground)? You will not want to plant trees near those, because you risk damage to the tree, the lines, or both, especially if you get severe weather.
  • Where are the water lines, sewer lines, septic tanks, cable lines or any other underground structures on your property? Don't plant trees over those either, unless you want to spend a lot of time and money digging out roots and repairing broken water mains. (don't ask me how I know this ...!)

Get information on underground lines before starting any major digging projects by contacting your local utility company.

  • Do you live within 500 yards of an industrial farm, an oil well, a toxic waste dump, a factory, a landfill, or any place with noxious stuff spewing into the air? Do not plant an edible garden unless you have no other choice.

Personally, I would move. I'm serious. You don't want that on your food or in your body.

  • Are your immediate neighbors (sides and/or back) applying anything near your property (on their side) that might be hazardous if eaten? This includes pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, lawn chemicals, slug repellent, rat poison, or any other potential poisons.

If so, talk to them about using less hazardous chemicals (things like Round-Up will kill some edible plants too), or else use edible landscaping only in the center of your property, away from the property lines you share.

Watch for water draining from their property onto yours, as contaminated water can bring toxins into your garden.

None of these apply? Great! You're ready to begin.

Some resources to help you in starting a garden

My e-workbook takes you step by step through the process of creating your garden's design:

If you need more help than a workbook can give, consider applying to my Tasteful Yard Design course. I recommend it if you're:

  • brand new to gardening and may need some garden coaching
  • completely redoing your front yard landscaping and have no landscaping experience
  • confused about where to begin
  • find yourself worried, procrastinating, or stressed about designing and installing your edible gardens
  • need support and encouragement

Read more about the course here.

Some other helpful books you may enjoy:

PopShops™ affiliate stores

Need a garden planning tool? has a great online garden planning tool, which you can try out for free. If you get their service, they email you with planting and harvesting times suited to your location.

Ready to create your edible yard? Would you like to learn more about starting a garden with a group of people who love edible landscaping as much as you do? Join the Tasteful Landscape community.

Learn more about this community and about my other newsletters

What would you like to read next? Here are some suggestions:

Edible Privacy Hedges - Kitchen Herb Gardens

Or search this site:

Please note that the search results page from Google may have ads ABOVE the actual search results that are not from this site.

If this site has helped you and you wish to help with costs, click here.

Top of page