We are making plans for the next stage in life (you know, the one where the kids have graduated high school); and it looks like we will are both thinking about making ourselves a bit more self-sustaining than we are now. For us, that means growing our own food.
I found this article at Mother Earth Living that specifically lays out how to design landscape that both is beautiful and functionally practical for self-sustainability.
Read the Article: Eat Your Yard! How to Design an Edible Landscape
In addition to being a viable design option, an edible landscape (if maintained organically) is the most compelling landscape concept for the future.
Edible landscapes offer these incredible benefits:
Energy Savings: Food from your yard requires no shipping and little refrigeration. Plus, conventional farms use a large amount of energy to plow, plant, spray and harvest produce—planting and picking tomatoes in your front yard requires a miniscule amount by comparison.
Food Safety: You know which chemicals (if any) you use.
Water Savings: Tests show that most home gardeners use less than half the water to produce the same crop compared with large-scale agricultural production. Drip irrigation saves even more.
Money Savings: You can grow an unbelievable amount of food in a small, beautiful space. When I meticulously calculated the value of a 100-square-foot edible landscape I grew a couple of summers ago, I was amazed to find it had saved me more than $700! (Visit rosalindcreasy.com for exact figures for some popular crops.)
Better Nutrition: Fully ripe, just-picked, homegrown fruits and vegetables provide more vitamins and nutrients than supermarket produce, which is usually picked under-ripe and is days or weeks old when you eat it.