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Front Lawn Vegetable Garden – How To Design

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You can grow amazing gardens in your front yard! Originally, I laid out a sun-ray vegetable garden design which has become a very popular design. It’s been so successful that I went on to try different designs in this test garden every year. If you want to have front lawn ornamental edible gardens, get started now. Try crop rotation, soil maintenance, and variety within your garden in order to continue with their stronger level of organic vegetable production. Rotating crops and varying positioning of the vegetables on an annual basis helps the soil stay happy. If you have happy soil, you have a happy garden.

Front Lawn

One of my designs was to create a flower design whereby the front lawn vegetable garden, if photographed from the sky, would look like a giant flower. I did this by planting five key ornamental edible vegetables in different zones of the garden to resemble “petals”. Outlining the petals is a mix of “smelly herbs” and marigolds to help discourage neighborhood rabbits. The flower center is a mix of lacinato kale, basil, and flowers. Below is the hand-sketched garden design I drew up to aid in planting the garden –

A Giant Flower

Before I planted, I amended the soil by adding a layer of compost and a few natural ingredients.  I enhanced the soil with organic amendments along with Organic Mechanics Soil, fresh compost, rotted manure, and other organic soil additives I normally use and the garden performed well. Below you see the garden after it was freshly planted late May. At the top is a photo showing how the garden looked in September.

Front Lawn Vegetable Design - A Giant Flower just planted

What plants I used to achieve the giant ornamental edible vegetable garden flower from the sky –

1. Tomato Plants – Sweet n’Neat Cherry Tomatoes (these plants were pulled in late August and replaced with flowering kale)

2. Swiss Chard Plants – Bright Lights

3. Kale Plants – Redbor Kale

4. Cabbage Plants – Hybrid Cabbage

5. Purple and Red Pepper Plants – Sangria Peppers

7. Marigolds – Taishan

8. Basil Plants – Spicy Globe Basil

Within the drawn design (above) you can see that I have designated a tropical area and a cocktail patio closer to the house. The cocktail patio design can be seen at this link and I will detail more about the tropical plant garden in the near future.

We had more rain the season of this experiment than we had in the previous three season’s combined, so the front lawn vegetable garden grew out of proportion to how it has grown in past seasons (see top photo). The Redbor Kale became much taller than I had planned, as did the Bright Lights Swiss Chard. This caused the flower design to be a tad lopsided in height, however, because the taller growth was towards the back of the garden it all looked okay. I call the front lawn vegetable garden flower design a success and cannot wait to get in the garden this spring to plant my next vegetable garden design. Happy gardening my friends!

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  1. Lovely front yard garden. We have a garden in our front yard instead of grass, but it doesn’t look nearly as pretty as this. Now we have something to work towards…

  2. Thanks! This is in Illinois in the Western Suburbs of Chicago. I plant the garden in mid- to late-May and it does well until late September or early October when the first frosts hit.


  3. Very nice love the look! I have mixed vegetable plants in with my flowers and have not thought about how laying them out a little differently I could end up with some thing as beautiful as this is. Now I have some changes for in the spring to be added.

  4. Thanks. I’m in NH (zone 4b/5a) and wondered whether it was doable here. I guess it is!

  5. YES! I’m in zone 5b. They’ve updated that to be 6, but I don’t quite believe it and grow as I always have knowing my “5b limitations”.

  6. Looking out at my garden, I still have 2″ of snow. Your picture reminds me that just a little longer and I can plant some fresh vegetables. Nothing like a salad freshly picked from the garden!

  7. I would love to see what your garden looks like in the winter. I’m so visual and I really want to do something like this for our front yard but I just can’t visualize it green and lush through our cold winters.

  8. My neighbors and I have discussed planting veggies in our front yards as a sort of communal gardening project. I was thinking of easing into this by adding veggies to my flower beds. Your design is really beautiful as well as functional! Love it so much. 🙂

  9. so nice to see a beautiful garden to inspire those of us in the north! I get so disappointed when I find a great idea, only to see that it is effective in the south. I can’t wait to get started!

  10. Shawna, I just found this post while looking for front yard garden ideas. I read it, and watched your ted talk and I gotta say, I am so pumped to read about someone who is on the same page as me but has accomplished things I’ve only dreamed about so far! I’ve been writing my own little blog and hope it convinces people to grow something, anything, however they can. I want to help spark the next generation of gardeners. You’ve done such beautiful work, I hope I can have as much impact on my Twin Cities community as your beautiful gardening! Do you do any seed saving or seed library work with your community? Thanks!

  11. Dear Caroline,

    I am so very honored and pleased to see this comment. I’m glad to see more people out there working towards helping themselves and their communities. It’s not always been easy, but it’s certainly been worth it.

    I don’t do a lot of seed saving as many of the perennials in my garden are not all active seed producers. Because of the ornamental value of the vegetables, I don’t often let them go to seed. However, I encourage others to do it. You probably have a great seed library in your area!

    Thanks again for your support! UP WITH GARDENS!


  12. Shawna, you inspired me yesterday with your talk at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show. I’m switching to organic eggs and will stock up on manure,compost, and mulch. I live in Wheaton and agree with your enthusiasm for Planter’s Palette. Thanks!

  13. Hi Shawna, you inspired me to create something like this in my Chicago home this spring! What’s the lighting condition in your front lawn? My house faces west and between spring and fall the mature trees on the side walk are leafy and my front yard doesn’t get much direct sun. Do you think I can still grow these cool weather vegetables? Thanks so much for your advice!

  14. Hi Wei Zhang! The front of my house faces north. The very front corner where the vegetables are gets full sun, but the rest of the garden is part-shade. My back yard garden is part-shade as well. I think you can grow many vegetables. Do an online search for “shade vegetable garden” and you will find many vegetables you can grow. In fact, I have a few lists here on my website. Try the search on my website as well. Best of luck to you Wei! I know you can do a shadier veggie garden with no problem. 🙂

    Happy Gardening!


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