Personal Garden Coach

The Motivational Gardener at Large

The Edible Front Yard- Ivette Soler February 1, 2011

When I think of eating produce that I can grow in my front yard, I can almost hear the cries of the neighborhood Lawn Nazi’s now. Grousing not so subtly when passing by for inspection, “What about the green carpet of tweezed by hand, weed free, edged to perfection, pride of ownership that defines your island of possession and weekly proof of conquering nature?”

Surely Blueberry shrubs could be acceptable. They’re so pretty in Fall! Especially if I bake them a pie right? What about some Rhubarb? That can’t hurt if I have some strawberries growing underneath. Then they can have a Strawberry-Rhubarb pie! I could even have hanging baskets of berries growing on the porch. Certainly, the Lawn Inspector Generals can’t have a problem with that, right?

Simple- Strawberries and Lobelia!

Now, with the support of “The Germinatrix”- Ivette Soler and her brand new book called “The Edible Front Yard”, I have her chutzpah and encouragement to go for it! Ivette has written an entertaining and might I say, down right persuasive book for me to have the guts to stand up and plant my veggies, right here in my own front yard! Lawn Nazi’s be warned. I will not tolerate your irrational tyranny any longer.

With Ivette’s brand of witty and passionate support, her book is lighting the way to create a front yard landscape that is elegant AND tasteful, in the best possible way! The forward in her book is written by Fritz Haeg, the author of “Edible Estates”. Fritz challenges us to be brave, go forth and conquer our fear of the neighbors downward glances and make the display of your edibles beautiful!

Photos Worth 1000 Healthy Calories

Ivette has gathered hundreds gorgeous of photos of gardens and plants in this book that help tell the story of distinctive and beautiful edible plants. Photographer Ann Summa gets the bulk of credit, but there are also photos from edible gardening experts and designers from many varying locations. They give great example of aesthetic’s and variety of styles and ideas to springboard your integration of edibles into the face forward side of your landscape.

Style Advice for Star Quality Veggie-scapes


The “Rules For Front Yard Edibles” on page 15, gives four guidelines to follow so that your edibles to rise to the occasion. The performance AND the beauty necessary for making the most of the design and devourables is paramount. Ivette puts great weight on Beauty, Style, Regional Appropriateness, and your Home’s Architectural Style. Those are points that really ring bell’s with the neighbors and HOA so that they know you’re not going to be creating an eyesore.

The book is chock full of suggestions for ways to add edibles to your landscape that follow the four guidelines. Plus a whole slew of plant suggestions and even design renderings that you can copy in your own garden!

Fired up doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about tackling this Edible Front Yard revolution! This book also has a great section on the Reality Check needed before you really get going such as, Climate, Boundaries, Grading, Structures, and Sunlight or lack of it. There are even some suggestions for shade edibles!

Red Sails Lettuce, Lemon Thyme, Hellebore, Jasmine and more!

My FAVORITE Page

Of course it would be imprudent for me not to mention the VERY BEST part of the book – THANK YOU, Ivette and Timber Press, the column on page 131 about Garden Coaches!!!! YES WE CAN be of great help to a gardener who wants to embark on this great new gardening adventure in eating. Saving you Money, Time and Labor is my specialty!

The How-to’s

The chapters and sections that cover the removal and reuse of the lawn, working with existing trees and plants, making the most of hardscaping, and maintenance of your newly designed Edible Front Yard are fantastic! Ivette has written them with a green hand and responsible attitude for todays new gardeners. Setting an example for the neighbors and young passers-by is a truly noble ideal in this day and age. Worms, Compost Tea, Organic Pest Control methods are all topics that we need to be preaching from the top of the compost bin and Ivette has set in motion a beautiful means of doing just that!

Eating out of your Edible Front Yard will not a be considered a subversive act anymore. Even Martha is talking about it! The Mayor of San Francisco has also turned a public space into a fruit and veggie bearing garden for all to enjoy.  This can begin to transform a community, create great relationships with spectators and promote biodiversity that goes beyond lawn and Lobelia. Not to mention the financial and physical benefits of growing your own produce and staying in shape while you do it.

I WILL reflect my own style with veggies in the front yard and I WILL be removing some lawn chores from my routine this Spring while I add some produce curb-appeal! Thanks Ivette! :-)

*Leave me a FABULOUS comment for a free book give away of “The edible front Yard Garden” – drawing on March 1st!!

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66 Responses to “The Edible Front Yard- Ivette Soler”

  1. Nessa Says:

    These are such gorgeous photos. I want it to be spring already for some edible gardening :)

  2. Great contest giveaway! I hope one an all will check out this book. Looks like a great book to add to my library. Need to have this in the shop! You should look at sweeping landscape beds filled with edibles. Great way to get off the lawn habit. Enjoy the day!

  3. Tom Says:

    What a great review — and tease of the contents of this book! It’s already giving me ideas. It would be great to see what other surprising ideas are inside the covers. Thanks for the chance at winning this book!

    @SolakNC

  4. Carol Says:

    Leaving a fabulous comment! Would love to read this book.

  5. Dottie Says:

    enter me in contest for book by Ivette.

  6. jen Says:

    I recently heard Rosalind Creasy speak on the topic of edible landscaping and I was so inspired that I promptly planted a blackberry vine and a dwarf peach tree to espalier. this book sounds fabulous! id love to read what the germinatrix has to say on this topic.:)

  7. paul b Says:

    I love the whole grow your own movement, this book looks great for my library!

  8. nicky Says:

    Wow! I was just looking at this book on amazon.com! I think it’s important to grow as much of our food as possible. This book looks like a wealth of information and I would love to own it.

  9. Thanks for this post and giveaway. This book sounds great and I can’t wait to read and review it on my blog too! (Love your blog all around too!)

  10. Bren Says:

    You have me not with the title but the front cover artwork! LOVE IT… and nothing can be better then having things you can live off of growing in your front yard for all to enjoy and be inspired by.

    Thanks for sharing Christine!

  11. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Susan Morrison, Arcadia1, Arcadia1, Arcadia1, Timber Press and others. Timber Press said: RT @Arcadia1: Book Give-Away! http://bit.ly/hB0tKX The Edible Front Yard @thegerminatrix @timberpress #Gardenchat #Garden [...]

  12. renee barclift Says:

    i would love to have a copy of the book – SIGNED by the author of course!!!!!!!!!

  13. Ryan Miller Says:

    I’m so glad to see this book come out now. We’ve never been shy about putting a veggie garden in our front yard, but it’s never been pretty either. My wife like veggie gardening and I like ornamental gardening, maybe this will be our chance to meld the two, expand our front yard beds for more edibles, remove more of our excessive front yard lawn AND make the front yard prettier (it’s the ugliest part of our yard).

  14. Tina McElhattan Says:

    What a great book, everyone needs to get in touch where their food comes from and empower themselves to grow their own “organic” healthy food fresh from the yard. We finally put in a garden last year, just tomatoes and peppers. We already plant native bushes for the wildlife. This book sounds very helpful in continuing to make our yard useful and with a purpose. And once I get all the info I need I’ll pass it along on our local Freecycle group for others to learn. Thanks for this book giveaway!

  15. Alison Says:

    At my previous garden I grew tomatoes in the front yard, actually it made for pretty ugly landscaping, but they sure tasted yummy! And it was the best spot for sun. I’m thinking of using some of those blotchy lettuces in my front garden this spring, that should be a little prettier.

  16. Paige Patterson Says:

    I’m using the fabulous new basil pesto perpetuo everywhere– in my beds, as a border, with my roses. It”s variegated and takes forever to bolt and is more frost hardy than anything I’ve ever seen! I work in a garden center at the far end of eastern Long Island and I’m putting it in everyone else’s pots this year too. Plus I love using lettuce with nemesias and osteospurmums in spring pots. Oh and I always place garlic among my roses. Harvestable and an aphid deterrent. Double your pleasure.

  17. Ivette Says:

    I’m WEEPING!
    What a lovely ode – a SONG, really! Christina, the attention you give to the details of my book are a wonder. I am SO thrilled that you enjoyed it, and that you find it a useful How-To for soon to be Front Yard Food Gardeners! I am really happy with my baby book, and knowing that you have given me your stamp of approval is THRILLING!!! I’m on cloud 9!
    THANK YOU DOLL!!!
    XOXOXO

  18. Catherine Says:

    This is perfect, we just decided to put in some beds for veggies in our front yard since it’s the only full sun part of our yard. I will be looking for this book for ideas. I really love the last two pictures, how come I can never think of anything like this on my own?

  19. Kate Prejean Says:

    Looks like a great book! Thanks for offering it in the giveaway!

  20. Janit Says:

    Christina and Ivette, you had me at “Edible!” Lol!! What an inspiring post for my new, full sun, way-too-much-grass-on-my-front-lawn lawn!! We just moved last summer so this is PERFECT! ;o)

  21. Martha Mills Says:

    I loved your review–sounds like a great book!

  22. Laura Carter Says:

    Beautiful and functional! I love my front yard garden. If I win a copy of this book, I’ll use the ideas to make my veggie patch prettier. Thank you!

  23. Iris Says:

    I am SO inspired and SO excited to get started on an edible front yard… thanks SO much for the chance to have a copy of Ivette’s new book… lovely lovely review…!!

  24. Lisa Says:

    I love Front Yard Food! I’ve been so inspired by all the information and beautiful photos I’ve been finding online about edible landscaping! We moved into our house from a condo 3 1/2 years ago. This will be my third season planting edibles and there is NO turning back now. I started moving into my front yard because there is so much more sun than in our back yard. Last spring I planted some fruit trees, berry bushes and herbs and now I plan on creating a keyhole garden right out front this spring. I can’t wait to see this book!

  25. Renee Says:

    I am so inspired by Ivette Soder. I saw her on The Bonnie Hunt Show and started planning my front yard food that day. I’ve never gardened before-but it’s my vision to bring gardening to my community.

  26. I’m thinking a few Brussels sprouts will look sufficiently alien to scare away anyone who might complain…a few cardoon to add a decorative touch and then look out…tomatoes here I come! I can’t wait to read Ivette’s book and winning it would be xtra nice!

  27. Jane Says:

    Oh Christina, your combo’s are ALWAYS amazing – I cannot wait to see what you do using veggies AND Ivette as your inspiration! I just KNOW the book will be a fabulous tool for all gardeners and novices alike – Ivette…saving the world, one front yard at a time!

  28. Ray Says:

    This looks like what we’ve been looking for!

  29. I had already planned to get this book before seeing the review. Now I want it even more!

  30. Debbie McMurry Says:

    I would love to win this fabulous book to add to my garden book library! The photos are beautiful. It would help my get to Spring planting!
    ~~Debbie

  31. I find this fun because my garden is in the front of my yard. tho not nealry so fabulous looking. I need to step it up and add more edible to my flower beds as well. Great post, Thanks!
    I’m also sharing on my FB page ~GJ

  32. KAYE EDWARDS Says:

    Edible landscaping is a topic that I’m very interested in these days. Like someone else has already mentioned, I also plant herbs in my flower beds and containers. My strawberry beds double as edging. This is a very family friendly concept. It’s much easier to keep your family encouraged about gardening when it is in your front yard.

  33. I was just telling a friend I wanted to begin changing my flowerbeds over to edible landscapings. My husband was not happy though when I told him he would be removing our lawn and replacing it with Thyme.

  34. Ill do one step better than leaving a fabulous comment. I will share your blog story, and when I get this book with such a great concept, I will share it with all of my own clients who are always looking for great, decorative ways to grow their own food in their yards. I too, am a gardening coach! I love this idea. Especially for the people who have moved out of the country, into a more suburban area and it might be a bit strange looking for them to have a traditional vegetable garden in their yard. love it!

  35. tony chandler Says:

    I am all for using the front yard for edibles,it’s makes so much sense to use that space for that purpose!

  36. Kelly Says:

    I’m so glad I “met” The Germinatrix online over at Annie’s on facebook. I’ve learned a lot from her and this is the year I carve into my front yartd for some edible planting. Can’t wait to read her book! Thanks.

  37. Sally Says:

    Love it!

  38. Beth Says:

    Love your photos! Just reading your blog has my mind spinning with ideas for front yard containers with a speckling of lettuce, chard and spinach thrown in just because I can! Thanks.

  39. What a great post. Here at Island Headquarters I have no yard, but I do have a nice large verandah. So this year, with your inspiration, I’m going to make it the “edible verandah”! :-) Thank you Garden Coach!

  40. Diana K Says:

    This book would be a Godsend for me! I can’t have a backyard garden because the backyard gets virtually no sun. I live on a corner lot and the front and side get lots of sun. Oh the things I could grow while also prettying up my landscape!

  41. Eva Says:

    Oh my goodness! What gorgeous photos and inspired designs!

  42. Ruthie Says:

    We’ve been steadily taking up the grassy area in our backyard with raised bed gardening for the past 3 years. So far, the only foray into the front yard has been planting thyme under the mail box to avoid having to mow it ever again, but after the success of that (and all of my neighbors commenting on how pretty it looked all summer), we’re going to try to go all out this spring and summer. Old dead looking shrubs are coming out from the foundation planting to be replaced with blueberries and bush cherries. A disease ridden dogwood will be replaced with either a redbud (whose flowers are edible, they taste like lettuce) or a plum. And my favorite idea, the rest of the strip of grass between the street and the sidewalk will be replaced with thyme and mint! I can’t wait for the smell as we exit our cars this summer.

  43. My entire front yard is my garden as the house sits on the back edge of the property. What a great book to come out – and at a great time of year too! to help transform the lawns into edible beauty. I’m headed off to a Seedy Saturday this weekend & hope to get a jump start on Spring planning.

  44. I’m looking forward to seeing how Ivette emphasizes the importance of structural bones when creating a front yard vegetable garden.
    Many HOA’s exist in our country and if we are going to change the way HOA’s write their rules to accommodate and accept front yard vegetable gardens then these gardens are going to have to stand up to certain aesthetic outlines.
    Otherwise there will be a large amount of the population unable to utilize their front yards for food cultivation if the status quo of the HOA’s are not educated to how a vegetable garden can be attractive enough for the front yard.

    • Ryan Miller Says:

      Michelle,

      I think you make a great point but I don’t see the majority of HOAs changing their rules. One can layout a bed along a house, plant some rhodies and pieris in the bed, put a lawn between the bed and the sidewalk, keep it weed free and well mown and you have a decent if not very creative looking yard. This is the formula that most HOAs seem to follow. A dedicated gardener can keep a vegetable bed looking nice, but I’ve seen the ugly ones around my neighborhood kept by undedicated gardeners. I’m happy to live in an HOA free neighborhood were I get the occasional ugly yard if it means freedom for my yard, but HOAs don’t take the same viewpoint.

  45. Herbs is something i have never grown,always wanted too tho,Which herbs are easiest to grow?I want to plant pineapple sage,love this plant not for eating but for Hummingbirds,it is so beautifull in the fall with all the red flowers.Also want to try basil .

  46. Wow great pictures! We recently just lost our 50 year old oak tree in the front yard! Im researching all I can to make it an edible front yard! What a great idea for a book! I love swiss chard blended in with flowers~

  47. Tanja Pickrell Says:

    This book looks so fun! Cannot wait to get my hands on it. Have long been an integrated gardener, mixing it up with veg, flowers, and fruits and this looks like it is going to have some fabulous new ideas for me!

  48. Jen Poole Says:

    I can’t wait to read this book! I’m studying in a program right now to be able to spread the excitement of edible landscaping. We are working on our yard at the beach now to get ready for spring and our neighborhood is really catching on to this better way to live. It’s so cool to see people making positive changes and working towards a new and healthier norm for how to live!!!

  49. Tayluca Says:

    My current home is under very strict rules when it comes to planting (like so many others with HOAs and whatnot) so I am very interested in aesthetic plants that are also edible. Wonderful post, thank you for your review of the book!

  50. renee barclift Says:

    i had a pumpkin garden in front of my house!

    would love your book, or if i buy one, would love to get you to sign it.

  51. I so badly want this book! It is right up my alley, please pick me!

  52. Lynn Says:

    This book sounds like something I should give to my son who just moved into a house in an area with a “Homeowners’ Association.” (Shudder!) Maybe it would give him some ideas for sneaking some edibles past them.

  53. LYNETTE Says:

    I AM AN ACCIDENTAL GARDENER, ONE YEAR MY LITTLE ORCHARD IS LADEN WITH FRUITS, ONE YEAR, I GET NOTHING AT ALL, EVEN MY 5 YR OLD LEMON DOESN’T GIVE ME ANY FLOWERS!
    I LOVE THE BABY SALAD BOWLS! BUT THEY GROW FASTER THAN I CAN HANDLE, I MAY HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO PLANT THEM IN LITTLE BATCHES SO I CAN HAVE THEM LONG INTO THE LAST DAYS OF SUMMER-I AM TRYING TO PLANT MORE CITRUS IN POTS SO I CAN HAVE THEM WHEN I NEED THEM

  54. Amy Says:

    I’d love to win this book! The best sun in our yard is in the front but I’m not sure how to establish an attractive edible garden. I was just looking at this book on Amazon. I think it would be a great resource!

  55. Dan Says:

    Book it DANO!

  56. Jeremy C Says:

    Found about this book I believe from a link on Facebook, the financial benefits were immediately intriguing to me. Newly married and in the market for a home, the thought of spending an entire paycheck on a fruitless machine (mower) was bothersome – I now see I have options. This review has perked my interest further. The book sounds like a must have for any home, well yard owner!

  57. Thebokflock Says:

    Hooray!! What a fabulous book! I was googling it and your blog popped up. Lucky find! Great blog!

  58. A timely and beautiful book. Thanks for the review and highlights! I’ll be using this to illustrate edible garden ideas to my friends and clients.

  59. gardenladymg Says:

    I saw your class will be at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show in San Mateo, California on Thursday, after 4:00, and I searched the web for your name and came here. I’ve already decided to rip out my front lawn, now I have a way – your book teaches it. This is the new frontier, taking a lawn that takes resources and putting in a garden that gives to the environment and people.
    I’m writing this too late for the drawing, but I wanted to thank you for starting a new paradigm.

  60. Emme Levine Says:

    Hello!
    I’m a writer for The Local Dish (www.thelocaldish.com) and am doing a article on converting front lawns to edible gardens. I am located in San Francisco and wanted to know if you or your readers have any contacts in the Bay Area (preferably SF) who might be interested in having their garden featured for my article. I’d also give a shoutout to you for free PR.

    Love your blog!

    Thanks!
    Emme Levine
    Writer, The Local Dish

  61. personalgardencoach Says:

    Hello Emme!
    Thank you for the kind words about this post and my blog. I know Ivette Soler the Author of “The Edible Front Yard” has some fabulous contacts that she can forward to you since she lives in LA. I’m way up here in Seattle, so I’m not going to be much help to you. :-) I will be happy to forward your information on to her today.
    Thanks again!
    Christina Salwitz
    The Personal Garden Coach

  62. Emme Levine Says:

    Hi Christina!

    Contacts from Ivette sounds perfect! Thanks so much,
    Emme

    Emme Levine, Writer
    TheLocalDish.com

  63. [...] the Personal Garden Coach (known for her amazing container plantings and foliage combos), recently reviewed The Edible Front Yard by Ivette Soler, a book I loved too. (My video review is [...]

  64. Angela Says:

    Hi there, I love this blog – especially the image of pansies amidst the lettuce! Thank you for sharing! Angela


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