Small-Space Edible Landscape Design

Incorporate edibles into your small landscape using container and raised-bed gardening techniques. Get ideas from gardening expert P. Allen Smith's Arkansas homes.

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

Photo By: Kelly Quinn/P. Allen Smith

Photo By: Jane Colclasure/P. Allen Smith

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

Photo By: Kelly Quinn/P. Allen Smith

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

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

Photo By: Kelly Quinn/P. Allen Smith

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

Photo By: Jane Colclasure/P. Allen Smith

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

Plan for Raised Beds in a Landscape Design

Garden designer P. Allen Smith incorporated formal raised vegetable beds into the landscape at his Garden Home in Little Rock, Arkansas. The large square space includes four square beds sited diagonally in the center and four triangular beds at the corners, with gravel paths between.

Formal Raised Bed Design

Cool-season vegetables and flowers are planted in the raised bed garden for fall and spring. Warm-season plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants grow in the beds during summer.

Consider Colors of Flowers and Fruit

Often, the showiest part of edible plants is the colorful fruit, so be sure to think about fruit color when designing beds and containers. Here, a dwarf yellow cherry tomato plant is a delightful companion for red geranium in a container garden.

Rely on Repetition

Repetition, often in groups of three (or other odd numbers), is a common strategy of landscape design, and it also works for containers, as this grouping of Mediterranean herbs (thyme, sage, oregano and rosemary)shows. These herbs grow well in terra-cotta clay containers because the material dries out quickly and provides great drainage.

Plant Pansies With Cool-Season Veggies

The cool-season edible garden can look bland because so many of these veggies are leafy greens, but pansies provide the perfect perk-up touch of cold-tolerant color.

Bury Bulbs in Vegetable Beds

Think ahead to spring when preparing beds before winter. In these raised beds, purple and white tulips (planted in fall) now bloom alongside spring-growing lettuce and broccoli.

Tall Tulips Shade Lettuce

Here, the tall tulips provide a little much-loved shade for low-growing lettuce.

Plant Pots in Raised Beds

Containers are used as design elements in P. Allen Smith's raised beds to add height and color. Here, lavender and white pansies play off the rich color of purple cabbages and green lettuce in the cool-season vegetable garden.

Consider Container Color

Painted metal buckets planted with herbs line the steps of a garden shed at the Garden Home Retreat, providing cottage-style color.

Design Raised Beds in Blocks of Color and Texture

This raised garden bed is striped with plants in varying colors and textures, including (from front) broccoli, Swiss chard, green onions, kale, purple cabbage and red lettuce.

Plant a Square Foot Vegetable Garden

A vegetable plant occupies each square foot of this raised bed, following a small-space vegetable growing technique known as square foot gardening. Dividing a bed into squares makes color-blocking easier.

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