Edible garden master plan

An edible landscape is not a garden. It is a lifestyle. It is about grabbing food from the earth and preparing the day’s meals.

The season dictates the bounty and the flavours – not the supermarket. Herbs are the staple feature of all dishes with their annual nature.

From the feature pears or cherries in the front yard, the light gravel gives a natural feel and a softness underfoot. The use of aged timber sleepers, meandering paths gives the feeling of getting lost within an edible jungle of every type of citrus. Finger limes feature as well.

The front is a jungle of privacy away from the street scape with the main planting evergreens keeping away the prying eyes of neighbours.

Perhaps a row of persimmons for winter feature splashes of winter orange. Stunning.


The berry family will be hidden in here – raspberries, blackberries, logans, etc. They will grow on salvaged structures of some sort. Medlars, tamarillos, and wampees finish the jungle. Mint will creep into the paths at will. I will let it try.

Rococo chilli trees will stand tall with their year round chillis that are so hot you need gloves. They last seven years and last through winter. Win/Win/Win.

The side path of gravel flows from the front to the rear. Raised brick (bagged) vegetable beds are the feature outlook, with kitchen doors so close for ease of access to the food.

Chairs and table sets nestle inside the vegetables to make it easy to dine where you dig. Think fresh salads from the earth, to a bucket of water, to plate. Simple.

Odd and rare plants will become talking points like the adorable cape goose berries with their hidden fruit lanterns; curry leaf trees, asparagus, yacons, ground artichokes, ginger, potatoes, stevia, caper bushes, pomegranates, natal plums, acerola cherries, Brazilian cherries.

A feature tree (not sure yet) will be the star attraction outside the dining room. Babaco is on my short list for its evergreen mountain tropical leaves and strange yellow torpedo shaped fruit which makes a wonderful drink – Colada morada – in Equador.

Feature tri-plantings of dwarf peach and dwarf nectarines are the low ground cover, with taller trees espaliered along the fence including six different apples, figs, apricots, plums, almonds.

The rear lawn will be a rich green manure of clover, legumes and grasses that will be mowed and fed to the plants and compost. The lawn will share space with herbs of every type and edible ground covers like strawberries, blueberries (evergreen variety) and pepino melons. Horseradish and wasabi will live here too. There will be locks of bocking 14 comfrey to keep the compost bin happy.

Two banana palms will find a home here in the micro climate away from the wind.

Feature olive trees will screen out the neighbours to the north. Avocado trees will stay; as will the more regulated and controlled kiwi vines and guavas.

The south side will feature some shade loving berries that you can eat or jam up. A feature piece of art will be back lit to become the star attraction of the kitchen window.

If there is room – big if….we might sneak in some nut trees – hazelnuts, walnuts and chestnuts.

The outdoor shower – a must – is missing from this plan. Metres from the beach, this one needs to find a home.

This is the latest plan from Jason from Genus Landscape Architects.







Finding your landscape design style – what style are you?  

A garden is a lot like a house; it needs to be functional, beautiful and livable. It also should contain lots of nooks (housebythewater!) and lots of rooms and moments that surprise and delight. One of the big no-nos in garden design is stealing too many styles and meshing them together. The canvass can look very messy.

My edible theme is a style well suited to the Mediterranean design series – elements of spanish, italian and french, but with a modern  symmetry and perhaps a few more hard surfaces.

So instead or random self-seeded beds, hopefully a bit more structure in terms of height, shape and contrast.   Series of items in twos or threes could be a simple way to add form and consistency.

The garden master design is really key to the future of this garden. If we can get the long term vision organised up front, I’m hoping the plantings, and projects will sort themselves out. In previous gardens I have made the mistake of taking each area as its own area – leaving the entire picture incomplete.

A big thank you to http://www.landscapingnetwork.com/garden-styles

for this design guide. Feel free to visit them and download the entire sheet.


Which design style are you?

Mediterranean Design Sheets





Traditional Design Sheets






Tropical Design Sheets

-South Pacific



Country Design Sheets





Modern Design Sheets

-Art Deco



And here are a few examples of how edibles can look amazing. Red cabbage and lettuce look dazzling. Who said vegetable gardens need to look messy, ugly and like utility ares? They can be works of art – that make tasty salads, should the temptation get the better of you.

Our vegetable friends have so many amazing looks. Now, back to the weeds in the rental.

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Top 5 edible plants for your garden

There are so many amazing edible plants for the backyard. Today I would like to talk about five  that are amazing but lesser known. All of them will have feature positions in my new garden.  They win a place in my top five because the space to yield ratio is almost impossible to beat.

1)      Pepino melon

Ever wanted apple-sized honey dew melons all year round? Welcome to the gorgeous and simple to grow pepino from South America. This tiny 30-40cm plant will deliver 20-30 fruit every year. Mark my words, you will get too many. What a delicious problem to have. The fact that they fruit inside 12 months is impossible to argue with.

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2)      Choko vine

Sure they are probably more at home in a pig’s dinner tray than a feature vegetable, but I will defend the humble choko. A single vine can give you 50 chokos. They are a great filler for soups, stews, pasta sauces, adding body and a soft earthiness. I love them because they take on and absorb the flavours of the other foods. Boring to grow, get on board. Oh, and they are great for covering an ugly wall or old shed.

3)      Tamarillo

I can’t fathom why this ripe red fruit – filled with passionfruit red and orange goodness isn’t prized by more. I think it is one of the most tasty fruits you can grow. You can stew it, make sauces out of it, eat them raw. In fact, knock yourself out. Some days I take a large bowl of them to the shade of summer tree and make myself ill with happiness. They fruit in their first year. Gold.



4)      Pineapple guava

Talk about tasty. These little green things pack a powerful perfume flavour. The fact that each small tree gives you about 5kg is an added bonus. They also ripen slowly so you can take your time. My aunt makes a pudding out of them. I eat them from the tree. They also juice up really well. They slip a few spots on the top five because they can take 4-5 years to fruit.


5)      Jerusalem  artichokes

Another veg for the pig family. A staple crop for farmers I’ll defend these nuggets from the earth. They have a glorious truffle flavour and richness that can be an amazing backbone to many recipes. You can make a great soup, or even better, chips out of them. They can be a solid substitute for potatoes. Just a small warning; they can give you a little bit of wind.  Added bonus, the yellow sunflowers these produce when they are getting ready to be dug up are absolutely amazing. Added points.

The other finalists that round up the top 10 : rocoto chilli tree, asparagus, babaco tree, yacon, globe artichoke.


Landscape design – first thoughts

When you bulldoze you get given a clean slate for the garden. Pity, because I liked my established garden. Then again, I get to start again and build the dream garden. So it is not all bad.

The established trees we were allowed to keep include:

  • Three avocado trees which are now into their third year of bearing fruit
  • Fruiting kiwifruit vine (one male and two females)
  • Two large olive trees
  • Loquat tree (fruiting)
  • Mulberry
  • Fig
  • Cherry tree

My garden was – and will be – 100% edible. That is, every plant must be able to be cooked or have a key use in the garden. Bamboo passes the test as it can be used to make bean and tomato stakes. Marigold flowers are an important part of the ecosystem so they also pass the test

I have around 50 fruit trees and herb trees with me in the rental that need to find a new home. I’ve also got another 20 fruit trees hiding on the non build part of our block

We’ve been advised that we need to pave around our home as a water barrier to keep any rain off the slab. Our block can get quite wet during rain. The paving has started the landscaping discussion.

Step one has been to write down the requirements.

  • Outdoor room decking wrap around to the rear
  • Water feature wall off the deck at rear (centre)
  • Citrus grove at front of property for privacy
  • Paving around the side (water barrier)
  • Extensive raised vegetable beds and herb beds
  • Permanent asparagus
  • Berry house (fully enclosed so the birds don’t get in )
  • Small green house
  • Lawn area/ clover lawn areas at front and rear
  • The dining room outlook should be very. feature driven. I’m not sure whether that is overlooking vegetable beds,arden beds.
  • The garden that supports the kitchen window outlook (south side and very tricky!)
  • Bin position is another consideration
  • Side fence for outdoor room development
  • Paving to front door

I’ve started to collect images of what I love in the hope that a basic design will leap out at me.  I’ll start shortlisting a few suppliers over the coming months. I’ve seen some great local work around our street so I’ll also do some door knocking as well.

Lovely feel and colours.

Gravel and retaining wall. Imagine this with herbs and tomatoes in it!

I love straight lines of things. I love the order and repetition. Hopefully there will be some linear elements in my garden.

A great water feature idea that would look great in front of my kiwi fruit vine

If they cut into my block any more I might be forced into this!

Got a question you want to ask without posting? Feel free to email us at metriconblog(at)internode.on.net