Like rain gardens, edible gardens are on the rise. If you’re a regular at the farmer’s market, that probably doesn’t come as a surprise. Perhaps you’ve thought about what it would take to grow your own heirloom tomatoes and summer squash—or maybe even plant an avocado tree. Or maybe you’ve been considering a more sustainable alternative to your lawn, and eating the fruits of your labor is a delicious bonus. Either way, if the question of whether to plant your new edible garden in your front yard is (ahem) eating at you, we’re here for you.
We consulted with Realtors® and gardening experts to find out: Is it worth it to make your front-yard edible garden grow?
Pro: A well-maintained edible garden can increase curb appeal.
Bright blooms and the pale green of new veggie growth can add instant cheer to your home, especially if your current landscaping is outdated or depressed, says Miranda Cady, an Orlando-based Realtor with CADENCE Lifestyle Real Estate. “Anytime you are updating landscaping and yard finishes, you are adding value,” she says.
She adds that an edible garden can make potential buyers feel more emotionally connected to your home as well. “It changes the perception of your home and makes it more appealing to those who value food sustainability,” she says.
Con: A poorly-maintained edible garden certainly will decrease curb appeal.
On the other hand, not everyone will respond positively to an edible garden. “Gardening is one of those niche topics—it really either speaks to your soul, or it doesn’t,” Cady says.
Some buyers may associate an edible garden with lots of upkeep, which can turn a positive into a negative. And if your edible garden is overgrown with weeds? Most buyers will consider that an eyesore. “Just as much as a home can look dilapidated, unkempt and uncared for, so can a garden,” Cady says.
Pro: An edible garden isn’t a big upfront investment.
Compared to other outdoor home improvement projects, like adding a deck, a pool, or an outdoor kitchen, planting an edible garden isn’t a huge financial investment. Even if you hired someone to do all the dirty work for you, you’re probably talking about a couple thousand, maximum.
For $2,000 to $2,500, for example, Fleet Farming, a garden-installation company based in Orlando, Florida, will consult with you about what you want, install raised beds, fill them with soil, plant the fruits and veggies, and install irrigation systems to keep it all growing.
Con: An edible garden requires regular maintenance.
Any kind of landscaping is not a set-it-and-forget-it situation. Gardens require regular watering and weeding at minimum. You’ll need some expertise, but more than that, it’s a commitment. Break that commitment and you risk barren, weed-filled plots, which not only will detract from your home’s value, but may also be illegal.
An edible garden in your front yard comes with stricter regulations than one in your backyard. You’ll want to check your local municipality and/or HOA codes to make sure it’s allowed in the first place—and what sorts of guidelines are in place.
Pro: An edible garden is good for you and the environment.
“My favorite reason to have a front-yard garden is that it gets people outside and enjoying their space,” says Alex Luna, director of Ecosystem Services for Fleet Farming. Not only do you get to enjoy fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs that you’ve grown yourself, but, Luna says, digging in the dirt tends to have therapeutic value as well. In other words, it’s good for your mind, body, and soul. And it’s also easier on the environment than a traditional grass lawn, which comes with a heavy carbon cost.
The bottom line
If you have the time to keep up with your plants, a front-yard garden offers beauty and bounty without a significant financial investment. You may choose to start small, with just container gardening or a single raised bed to test the waters before converting your entire yard into a mini-farm oasis. Just be sure to check to make sure it’s legal!
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