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Front Yards

In a recent email from Wayne Winterrowd he commented on a visit to our property shortly after we moved in: “I LOVED the fact that you were putting your vegetable garden in the front lawn!”

When Wayne visited, the slope between the front of the house and the road had been cleared but was still in the planning stages. We had no choice but to place our vegetable garden and wood shed in this area. We are on a pond, and local zoning dictates that no structures can be built within 300 feet of the water’s edge. These same regulations state that no animal manures be used in this area. No shed, fence, or manure…clearly our vegetable garden needed to go elsewhere. Which took us to the front of our house.

It has long been the fashion for the front of American homes to be a tidy lawn-and-foundation-planting landscape, with, perhaps, a few specimen trees thrown into the mix. In the past twenty years, however, styles have begun to change. There have been a few books on front-yard flower gardens, and the interest in replacing lawns has led to other approaches in between house and street.

Putting the most utilitarian part of the landscape out front is, perhaps, the next step, or at least an accepted option. This reminds me of the 1970’s when I used to listen to Paul Gorman on WBAI in New York. Paul would sometimes talk about the concept of complete transparency…the idea that if everyone knew the worst about everyone else we would all be free. He would say, “After all, it’s only us here.”

Yes, we’re all bozos on this bus, although I’m not sure I want to know the worst about everyone. Too much information. And I don’t really want to see junk cars or garbage in my or my neighbor’s front yard. I want my veggie garden to be beautiful as well as functional, and this spring I’ll plant shrubs and perennials around the shed my husband built.

I want form and function to be equal partners on Poison Ivy Acres. It should be beautiful and it should work well. Isn’t this what we want in our lives as well as on our properties?

7 Responses to “Front Yards”

  1. 1
    John at JWLW:

    HI: CL Right now our front yard is covered with about 20″ of Snow on top of the Ice and debris from the Ice Storm.

    Looks like you are creating a Garden Haven. Lot’s of hard work, but great in the end when you can enjoy the gardens. I know it take’s a long time get new gardens up and growing the way you want but worth the wait in the end.

    I see you have the same helpers “supervisors” that we have.
    They are great support while gardening. One of ours even digs holes for us to plant in.

    I like your shed, just what I would like to have. I have a old wood frame and Glass Greenhouse sitting under the snow waiting to be erected. It will sprout up in the early spring and become part of the landscape.

    Have a great day,

  2. 2

    Look at the inside of the shed – marvelous! Tidier than my kitchen cupboard too, love it, not to mention that cute puppy you have there, make sure you throw some snowballs at him for me.

  3. 3
    John at JWLW:

    CL: Go to my blog for Holiday Wishes.

    Happy Holidays to you all at Whole Life Gardening.


  4. 4
    CL Fornari:

    The shed is only tidy and organized because it’s WINTER and I’m not out potting things up.

    Happy Holidays to you too, John, and to all others who stop by…

  5. 5

    I live in a largely Amish Mennonite community- it is their practice to have their large vegetable garden out front, sometimes off to the side, but very near the house, for the most part. Very neat rows of well grown produce create a distinctive look, albeit a little too orderly for my tastes. but old seems to become the new now :)

  6. 6
    CL Fornari:

    How right you are, Ilona…everything old becomes new again. I understand that the lawn by the White House was once a large vegetable garden as well, and there is a movement to replace the turf with edibles.

  7. 7

    Awesome post for the garden design enthusiasts, keep it up.