Designing an Edible Landscape

Get design and planting inspiration from the edible landscapes at gardening expert P. Allen Smith's Arkansas farm retreat.

Photo By: Mark Fonville/P. Allen Smith ©P. Allen Smith Companies

Photo By: Mark Fonville/P. Allen Smith

Photo By: Mark Fonville/P. Allen Smith

Photo By: Hortus, Ltd./P. Allen Smith

Photo By: Mark Fonville/P. Allen Smith

Photo By: Jane Colclasure/P. Allen Smith

Photo By: Jane Colclasure/P. Allen Smith

Photo By: Jane Colclasure/P. Allen Smith

Photo By: Jane Colclasure/P. Allen Smith

Photo By: Jane Colclasure/P. Allen Smith

Photo By: Hortus, Ltd./P. Allen Smith

Photo By: Hortus, Ltd./P. Allen Smith

Plant Herbs and Onions With Roses

Herbs, onions and roses fill the cottage-style entrance of the One Acre Garden at P. Allen Smith's Garden Home Retreat. Many herbs (including rosemary, thyme, basil and lavender) and members of the onion family (chives, onions, garlic) are celebrated companions for roses because they repel common rose pests.

Cover an Arbor With Edible Vines

Think beyond the basic flowering vines for an eye-catching and edible arbor or trellis. Here, a simple metal arbor serves as a trellis for sprawling tomato and bean vines in a lush landscape.

Mix Non-Edible Annuals Into an Edible Garden

Incorporating non-edibles into an edible garden elevates the design and moves it beyond just function. Lush coleus planted in a formal urn provides a striking, colorful focal point along a vegetable garden path.

Choose Plants for Color and Form

Just as in any landscape design, plant selection comes down to color and form, as well as suitability to the site conditions. This colorful garden border includes red salvia, marigolds and edible Swiss chard. The chard provides big, bold texture and lots of bright green color.

Use Plants in Masse

A path border garden is planted with large sweeps of colorful coleus and Swiss chard. Cold-tolerant chard is a great choice for fall and spring garden designs, and it can last through winter in areas where the season is mild. A biennial, chard will bloom in the second year after planting.

Plant Nasturtium Along a Path

An edible annual, nasturtium rambles alongside this garden path and provides pops of bright color.

Combine Edible Flowers With Vegetables

Here, orange nasturtium blooms against green lettuce and purple amaranth foliage in an edible border garden.

Nasturtium in a Summer Salad

Picked fresh from the landscape or garden, nasturtium blooms and leaves can be used in summer salads. Nasturtium leaves also make a tasty substitute for basil in pesto.

Let Greens Bloom

When the weather heats up and edible greens, such as mustard or arugula, go to seed, leave them in the landscape to bear beautiful, delicate flowers. Here, mustard blooms in the backdrop of an herb and flower bed.

Use Strawberry as a Groundcover

Spreading strawberry plants can be used as a perennial groundcover in the landscape, and the fresh strawberries are a welcome harvest for a home gardener. Clip some runners to keep the plants healthy and producing berries.

Consider Fruit Trees

A blooming crabapple tree bursts with fresh spring color on P. Allen Smith's Arkansas farm, and signals expectation of the tart summer fruits. Other fruit trees that are beautiful landscape specimens include plum, peach, fig and apple, and citrus in the warmest climates.

Grow Fruit Trees in Espalier Form

A peach tree is being trained in an espalier form at the Garden Home Retreat. Espalier is an ancient technique for training trees, often fruit trees, into interesting and architectural shapes.