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The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden Paperback – February 23, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden
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  • Landscaping with Fruit: Strawberry ground covers, blueberry hedges, grape arbors, and 39 other luscious fruits to make your yard an edible paradise. (A Homeowners Guide)
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A picture is worth a thousand words, and Soler�s guide to combining vegetables, flowers, herbs, and fruit trees for front yard curb appeal proves it. This �germinatrix� demonstrates with numerous full-color, page-filling photos the literal and figurative beauty in transforming a �wasteful time-consuming, toxic monoculture . . . an anti-social space� into a �more evolved and exciting version of front yard beauty that prizes health, diversity, and pleasure over short-term convenience.� Soler�s suggestions for well-designed lawn alternatives emphasize color, form, and varietal texture found in such commonplace and utilitarian flora as apple trees, fragrant basil with its African Blue blooms, and the �burnished stems, elongated leaves, and purple lacquered fruit of eggplants.� An alphabetical listing of ornamental edibles from apples to wormwood (a genus of insect-repelling plants with silvery foliage as intoxicating�visually, that is�as its putatively hallucinogenic distillate, absinthe) combined with landscaping tips for various building styles and a resources list round out a useful and inspiring volume. --Whitney Scott

Review

“I love Ivette’s infectious enthusiasm for gardening, which is matched only by her deep knowledge of horticulture. Few people can make me laugh so hard and think so hard in the same sentence.” —Stephen Orr

“A useful and inspiring volume.” —Booklist

“A lively new book…Soler takes you through a wide selection of suggested varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs that are as beautiful as any rose bush.” —Martha Stewart Living

“An enticing introduction to growing food beautifully…a timely, handsome guide.” —Publishers Weekly

“Proves that kitchen gardens can be both pretty and productive. Shows how to grow veggies in front so beautifully that neighbors won’t object.” —Sunset

“Don’t just plant flowers this gardening season; feed your family, too!” —AARP The Magazine

“Lush and lovely.” —Apartment Therapy

“Heavily-laden with quality photography that is as inspiring as the text.” —Gardening By The Book

“A good source of ideas for gardeners trying to imagine the edible front yard that might one day be theirs.” —Rachel Shaw, Washington Gardener
 
“[Soler] addresses the concerns that gardeners of all kinds have, when considering making the change from grass to groceries.” —Horticulture

“It’s inspiring to see photos of how much more interesting our front yards could be.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Empowers readers with the knowledge to successfully transform their yards.” —Portland Book Review
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press; 1 edition (February 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604691999
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604691993
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #313,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gone2lunch VINE VOICE on May 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gardening books of this kind are often (a) less than entertaining to read; (b) impractical; or (c) in favor of making your yard look like a junkyard. I took this one along on an extremely boring business trip and the attendant flight delays and enjoyed it thoroughly. It covers both ornamental edibles and complimentary pure ornamentals; talks about practical issues like where to find hardscape materials at a bargain and why choosing regionally suitable plants is important; and the illustrations (even when built by one of the 3 garden owners featured) don't generally look like a pile of rubbish with plants growing over them, as these DIY-focused books so often do. I was a little disappointed that the author spent a lot of photo space on 3 favored gardens since all 3 gardeners live in the southwest/California area; I would have preferred something more relatable to my area. The principles were good though and I am definitely hanging onto this for reference. The chapter that covered ornamental edibles was great, and included plants suitable to all parts of the country. For future issues or an author's blog (if she has one), it would be great to cross-reference plants by the various categories she provides, such as season, type of edible, soil- and sun requirements and so on, but that's a want, not a need. This is a helpful, informative, easy-to-follow and entertaining book.
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I was disappointed in the content of this book, as was hoping for more practical design ideas/suggestions. Book was more about discussion of why removal of non edible landscape is desireable. I know that or wouldn't be interested in ripping it all out & replacing all with edible landscaping! LOL! Was just hoping for more concrete ideas on the design of an edible garden. In all fairness however, I was a professional landscaper so this book may be of use to the novice who is not familiar with plants & trees, etc...
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This is a visually pleasing book with lots of VERY close up pictures of ornamental veggies in beds. However, there is little practical advice. It will make a nice coffee table book. Descriptions of plants were very vague. There was little to no effort to discuss plantings in areas other than Southern California. Too much of the book was occupied by plant descriptions that are non-edible. There was also little discussion of best varieties of each vegetable for aesthetic and culinary use.
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Because the book's subtitle refers to a "Plan" for a garden, I expected something a wee bit more practical. But that's just me . . . . I'm an engineer, not an artist. But what gardener wouldn't love to gaze at the gorgeous photographs in this book and imagine "what if"?

I enjoyed using the book's photographs to dream about what my edible front yard might look like if I had buckets of money, plus more tillable land than my modest urban property provides. In my neighborhood, an edible front yard might consist of Swiss chard and an eggplant growing in place of the grass normally found in a 2-foot wide boulevard between the sidewalk and the street.

The landscaping photos are beautiful, showing me what I could have if only I lived on a larger lot (suburbs, maybe?) and had the wealth to hire a landscape architect and a good contractor. But heck, there's no harm in dreaming, is there? This book makes the dreaming even more beautiful.
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I agree with the reviewers who say that this is a "coffee table" book; but its only positive characteristic is its beauty. If you are interested is looking at many gorgeous, sexy, and lovingly shot -- but only slightly different -- photos of the same few edible gardens then you will enjoy this book. If you are looking for practical information, however, you will be frustrated.

The same succulents and herbs in the author's garden -- admittedly beautiful and inspiring -- are shown on pages 34, 94, 101, 110, 119, and 155. Each slightly different view of the same agave, escheveria, basil and sage illustrate different points: one emphasizes the use of red basil; one suggests using basil and sage in odd multiple numbers (3, 5, 7); one points out that color and contrast are important considerations in design; etc.

One picture on one page could have been used to illustrate all these points. Or photos of different plant combinations could have been used. Instead, we see essentially the same agave, escheveria, basil and sage repeatedly. (Oh, and for the record, agave and escheveria are not "edible" -- turns out that your edible front garden needs ornamental structure to be truly decorative!) The book features great gardens, graciously offered to public view. However, it suffers from paucity of number and variation in the gardens featured.

The text is likewise long on sex appeal; "There is something alluring about the burnished stems, elongated leaves, and purple, lacquered fruit of this slightly spooky member of the nightshade family." (Eggplant.)

Possibly this book would inspire the casual reader to consider agave and artichoke as reasonable alternatives to lawn. For people who are already gardening and/or considering edible planting, even the most novice among them, there is not enough practical information to justify purchasing the book.
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