Most front-yard gardens feature a mix of flowering trees, shrubs and bright-colored flowers; but the growing trend is to add edible vegetables and herbs to the front-yard landscape. Once strictly relegated to back-yard vegetable plots, herbs and vegetables are being tucked between the yews and petunias to add color, texture and practicality to formerly staid, decorative front-yard garden arrangements. Bright red tomatoes and dark green peppers, broad-leafed basil and curly parsley, dense clumps of chives and lacey dill are becoming as popular as geraniums and impatiens along front-door walkways.
The sustainable movement originated in crowded urban environments where gardening space is at a premium. Gardeners forced to make maximum use of tiny strips of earth sandwiched between concrete slabs and brick buildings had to get creative. With no space for traditional vegetable garden plots, metro gardeners started incorporating vegetables and herbs into their tiny front-yard plantings. Originally popular primarily with cooks who appreciated ready access to fresh herbs, front-yard gardens have became an urban phenomenon that is quickly spreading beyond metropolitan boundaries and into suburban communities.
Increasing interest in organic and locally-grown food, spurred by the healthy-eating movement and a desire to decrease food bills in a still-slow economy, is changing the way people look at gardening space. Gardens that once existed solely for their aesthetic beauty are now doing double duty as a food source. Gardeners who have never grown vegetables or herbs have been pleasantly surprised by the attractive variety of herbs and vegetables available at their local garden centers. Offering a broad range of foliage colors and configurations, vegetables and herbs can be as decorative as they are edible.