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Turning a lawn into a foodscape in an HOA Park

 
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After living for many decades on acreage and being able to plant when and where I like, I have now moved to a quarter-acre corner lot in a Home Owners Association that has lots of rules for how yards are to look and be cared for. There is nothing prohibiting edibles, but it is important that I keep a neat and orderly appearance in the large front yard.

I have been dealing with the front yard lawn for a few months and am already tired of it; I want to put my energy into food production. Because I am on a corner lot, there are height restrictions close to the street to be sure visibility is maintained for traffic.

I prefer perennials. Small trees would also work. I am blessed to live in Oregon, 7b climate, so a wide variety of plants do thrive here. In my backyard I've started an asparagus patch, Marion-berries, raspberries, several dwarf fruit trees, blueberries, figs and ten raised beds for veggies and strawberries. I planted squash and pumpkins on a side yard, which they are filling up and started artichokes since the ones belonging to my neighbors are wildly productive.

The main section of the front yard faces west, so not much morning sun, but loads of afternoon sun. There is a large tree to one side where I plan to plant some shade-loving wintergreen. It is the main area, sunny and in plain view where I would like to do something attractive and productive. Also, because this is a manufactured home, the insulation is not as good as I am used to, so I would like to use plants along the west side of the house to moderate the afternoon sun during our few months of warm weather. At least six months of the year we have lots of rain and usually a few freezing days mid-winter.

I would appreciate suggestions for how gardeners have incorporated beauty and production into a cohesive, low maintenance, foodscape that can replace most or all of the lawn.

Happy Gardening,
Mary Allen
 
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Hi, this is certainly a unique challenge. Viewing the HOA's requirements as a solution. Maybe a row of lavedar or rosemary that outlines the drive.

While in Phoenix I got to meet Justin Rohner he is founder of edible elegant landscaping. He got his start from wanting an edible yard within an HOA. Instead of fighting the HOA, he was able to create something they approved and it took off.

https://agriscaping.com/
His website has lots of info on how to grow. They offer a certification course. I have not taking any classes with him. When I taught permaculture he was one of our guest speakers.
It can happen, just get to know what the expectations for the HOA is, meet those with edibles.
best of luck
 
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A few ideas out of the top of my head.

Strawberries make a nice ground cover - most people won't even realize what it is. I'm planning to interplant mine with borage (which apparently is a good companion + eatable/medicinal, but also looks good)

I've made nice border arrangements with equinacea in the back row and peppers in the foreground. Runner beans can also be very ornemental, especially if grown on a nice obelisk or tripod. Some varieties have beautiful flowers.

Aronia bushes are widely used round here as ornamentals. Easy to care for, nice blooms, nice coloring in the fall. Most people don't even realize the berries are eatable.

I've planted lettuce -fairly thickly sowed - in window boxes this spring and it really thrived. We ate it as baby greens, just picking leaves as they grew bigger.

And two tricks for making things look "neat": edging material to delimitate areas and plenty of wood-chip mulch to hide a number of sins.
 
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Mary Allen wrote:After living for many decades on acreage and being able to plant when and where I like, I have now moved to a quarter-acre corner lot in a Home Owners Association that has lots of rules for how yards are to look and be cared for. There is nothing prohibiting edibles, but it is important that I keep a neat and orderly appearance in the large front yard.

I have been dealing with the front yard lawn for a few months and am already tired of it; I want to put my energy into food production. Because I am on a corner lot, there are height restrictions close to the street to be sure visibility is maintained for traffic.

I prefer perennials. Small trees would also work. I am blessed to live in Oregon, 7b climate, so a wide variety of plants do thrive here. In my backyard I've started an asparagus patch, Marion-berries, raspberries, several dwarf fruit trees, blueberries, figs and ten raised beds for veggies and strawberries. I planted squash and pumpkins on a side yard, which they are filling up and started artichokes since the ones belonging to my neighbors are wildly productive.

The main section of the front yard faces west, so not much morning sun, but loads of afternoon sun. There is a large tree to one side where I plan to plant some shade-loving wintergreen. It is the main area, sunny and in plain view where I would like to do something attractive and productive. Also, because this is a manufactured home, the insulation is not as good as I am used to, so I would like to use plants along the west side of the house to moderate the afternoon sun during our few months of warm weather. At least six months of the year we have lots of rain and usually a few freezing days mid-winter.

I would appreciate suggestions for how gardeners have incorporated beauty and production into a cohesive, low maintenance, foodscape that can replace most or all of the lawn.

Happy Gardening,
Mary Allen



We have found that sneaking edibles in to an ornamental looking landscape works well.
Some ideas:
Serviceberry tree inter planted with Aron is, elderberry, gooseberry, currant, perennial arugula, medicinal herbs, flowers, culinary herbs, kale, rainbow chard, and alpine strawberries as a nice edible border:)
 
Mary Allen
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Thank you, Sena, Kena and Crystal, for all the great ideas! I'm making an inventory of the plants I have on hand - strawberries, fairy dust flowers, red lettuce, etc., and am adding plants from my favorite Oregon nursery, One Green World. I completed an Edible Landscaping course online, which gave me a structured approach to planning out this front yard. It's going to be great fun taking out this useless, time-consuming lawn and planting a lovely array of edibles.
 
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