Tag Archive for: Front Yard

Where do you expect to see vegetable gardens planted?

Most of the time, vegetable gardens are found in the backyard.

But, have you ever  thought of locating your vegetable garden somewhere else?

Vegetable Gardens

This home in the Encanto district, in downtown Phoenix, has a great way of utilizing space in the front yard for growing vegetables.  

Vegetable Gardens

The homeowners decided to utilize the space beside their driveway for planting a vegetable garden.

I think that this vegetable garden looks great in this area, don’t you think?  

Vegetable Gardens

By the way, do know why the homeowner has planted flowers at the end of each vegetable row?

The marigolds and lavender not only add beauty to the garden, they serve an important role in keeping bad bugs away from the vegetables.

Pairing flowering plants and herbs with vegetables is a practice known as “companion gardening”.

There are many other plants that can be planted with vegetables to keep damaging insects away.  You can read more about companion gardening here.

Vegetable Gardens

I also like how the homeowners added vegetables in front of the house.  Some people would tend to plant annual flowers in this area instead, but think how much more fun it would be to plant vegetables there instead.

The vegetables look at home among the ornamental plants such as Agave angustifolia, Texas Mountain Laurel and Red Yucca

Vegetable Gardens

A couple of years ago, I was driving home from a landscape consult and saw this home’s front yard filled with raised beds.

zucchini, Swiss chard, tomatillos and carrots

I returned a few months later to visit these vegetable gardens filled with zucchini, Swiss chard, tomatillos and carrots.

cucumber plants

This is another home in east Phoenix that has homemade trellises, made from rebar and wire, with cucumber plants growing up on them.

The cucumbers are in the perfect spot where they receive afternoon shade from the large front yard tree.

Both of these gardens are planted and managed by the Farmyard group, who grow organic produce on urban farms in Phoenix and Scottsdale.  You can find out more about this group and the services the offer here.

As cool as these vegetable gardens are, most of us cannot grow vegetables in our front yard due to HOA restrictions.

However, if you do not live in a neighborhood with an HOA, maybe you should think about including vegetables in your front yard?

You can start out small – maybe that area that you would normally plant flowers?   ** A word of caution: don’t plant vegetables in front if you have problems with deer, rabbits or javelina.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about growing vegetables in the front yard…  

I must admit that it has taken me longer then I thought to get over the flu.  It must be my age, but it seems like getting over being sick just sucks out any energy I have.

The other day, I walked by my son’s room and noticed that he was being really quiet….

Star Wars figurines

He had fallen asleep on the floor, playing with the little plastic weapons from his Star Wars figurines.

Please disregard the messy room – but Saturday is room cleaning day and I took this photo on Thursday 😉

Sometimes, I feel like falling asleep on the floor.

I have been getting busy with consults because the weather is cooling off and people are starting to venture outside again.

I have found time to do a little light pruning of my roses.


Okay, I know that my roses look rather ugly – but all roses that grow in our area go through an ‘ugly’ stage in summer.

While we are very lucky that we have two growing seasons for roses (spring and fall) – roses are not fans of our hot, dry summers.

Their leaves get sunburned and if any roses form, they are small and dry out quickly.  This is normal.  Roses go somewhat dormant during summer and just exist until the cooler weather of fall arrives.

So once September arrives, it’s time to prune your roses back by 1/4 of their total size.  Then add the rose fertilizer of your choice, mixed with compost.  I make 6 – 8 holes around each of my roses, about 6″ deep and pour the fertilizer/compost mixture into them and then water deeply.

I only have three roses bushes, so this only took about 15 minutes to do it all.

A couple of weeks ago, as I was driving home from a consult, I noticed a home that had raised vegetable garden beds in their front yard.

cool-season vegetables

cool-season vegetables

I can only imagine how much they grow.  I have two vegetable gardens in the back garden.  Our HOA won’t allow me to put any in the front 😉

Last year at this time, I had all my vegetable seeds planted by September 5th.

This yearI have done nothing yet.

Thankfully, there is a window for planting that extends from September through October for most cool-season vegetables.

My plan is to get it all done by next weekend.  I made sure that my husband had time in his schedule to help me add the compost and manure and then I’ll get my seeds planted.

How about you?  Have you planted your vegetables yet?

A Box of Seeds and an Impatient Gardener…

Garden or a Yard

Garden or a Yard ;An example of a “front garden”.

 What word do you use for the area surrounding your home?  Do you call it a ‘yard’ or a ‘garden’?  

I looked up the definition of the word ‘yard’ regarding the land surrounding a house and here is what I found:

1. A tract of ground next to, surrounding or surrounded by a building or buildings.

3. An area where railroad trains are made up and cars are switched, stored, and serviced on tracks and sidings.

4.  A winter pasture for deer or other grazing animals, or an enclosed tract of ground in which animals, such as chickens or pigs, are kept.

Now, I don’t have any trains in my yard or deer, chickens or pigs either.  I do have animals in my yard, but my dogs spend most of their time indoors.

Of all these definitions, the first one best describes my ‘yard’.  But it is so much more than a “tract of ground surrounding a building”.

Garden or a Yard

My back ‘garden’ in the summer.

So, I looked up the definition of the word, ‘garden’.  Here is what I found:

1. A plot of land used for the cultivation of flowers, vegetables, herbs, or fruit.

2. Grounds laid out with flowers, trees, and ornamental shrubs and used for recreation or display.

3. A yard or lawn.

Now some people may not feel comfortable referring to their ‘yard’ as a garden.  They may feel that their landscape is inadequate.

Garden or a Yard

 Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny Ireland

Well, I don’t see anything in the definitions of the word, ‘garden’ that means that you have to have beautiful, formal, extravagant landscaping around your home.  You don’t see the word ‘castle’ mentioned in the definition, do you?

I think the definition(s) of the word, ‘garden,’ describe the landscape around my house much more accurately than the word ‘yard.’  I have flowers growing in containers, I have a vegetable garden, I have flowering plants, ornamental shrubs, and trees.

Winter Annuals

 Winter Annuals

Okay, you may be asking, “What if I only have a single tree and a couple of shrubs in my landscape?  Does that mean that I only have a ‘yard’, or can I call it a ‘garden.’  Well, if you look at the definitions from the dictionary, I think the word, ‘garden’ certainly applies.  But, it certainly couldn’t hurt if you decide to add more trees and plants in my opinion 😉

A few years ago, I stopped referring to the area surrounding my home as a ‘yard’.  I didn’t think that the term ‘yard’  described the landscape surrounding my house.  (When I managed landscapes, we had a ‘maintenance yard’ where all of our equipment was kept and our offices were also located there as well.  The term ‘yard’ did describe what we used that parcel of land for – a specific business or activity.  But it certainly was not a term that I wanted for the area around my home.)

My side vegetable 'garden'

My side vegetable ‘garden’

Now, my landscape is not particularly fancy…it’s rather simple, filled with plants that I love.  And so I decided that I did not have a ‘yard.’  To be more specific, I did not have a ‘front yard’, ‘backyard’ or even a ‘side yard’.  I had a garden.  Today, I refer to them as my ‘front garden’, ‘back garden’ and ‘side garden’. 

Pink Beauty (Eremophila laanii)

 Pink Beauty (Eremophila laanii)

When I meet with clients, I like to refer to their landscape areas as their front garden and back garden.  My hope is that they will see their “yard” as what it really is…..a garden.

So, what do you have?  A ‘garden’ or a ‘yard’?