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The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  633 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
“Front lawns, beware: The Germinatrix has you in her crosshairs! Ivette Soler is a welcome voice urging us to mow less and grow some food—in her uniquely fun, infectious yet informative way.” —Garden Rant

People everywhere are turning patches of soil into bountiful vegetable gardens, and each spring a new crop of beginners pick up trowels and plant seeds for the first time.
Paperback, 216 pages
Published February 23rd 2011 by Timber Press (first published February 14th 2011)
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May 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
I didn't find the book useful because its descriptions of suggested plants ("pretty" edibles) were not organized in a way that made it easy to determine whether a plant was appropriate for a particular climate or location. Hardiness zones were not consistently listed in the same place (or sometimes at all) and the full description had to be read to determine whether a plant was appropriate for shady/ dry/ high-traffic/ etc. areas. Maybe it's intended more as an inspirational read than a practica ...more
May 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
This volume had gorgeous illustrations and I might have gleaned more from it if I lived in Southern California as does the author, but I was unimpressed but how little information was actually contained in this book. No mention on the components of a healthy soil or suggestion of getting a soil test before investing in plants and hardscaping, and some of the sidebars are clearly padding as no one needs to have the instructions for removing a sidewalk (her advice? get a sledgehammer, bust up the ...more
Mar 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening
The Edible Front Yard describes how to replace boring, needy, thirsty grass with a diverse mix of ornamentals and edibles. It is filled with beautiful photos and lots of design ideas for various regions and climates. There is advice for shade plants and sun plants, how to remove grass without poison and how to prepare the soil for planting.

There is also a section on building codes, restrictions, permits and neighbors who think your plants are weeds. I am not doing anything that grand, maybe a sm
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Its full of colorful pictures of various plants and has good descriptions many, many plants that are edible and look good, or would go well with an edible landscape. I love the idea of this book, and will, someday, have an edible front yard. For now, I will strive to make my backyard garden look nicer.

Main complaint: most of her examples and pictures are of easy-to-grow-things climates, whether nice temps or water-rich. Sure, she says that if you live in Arizona, your
Ann Keller
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference, gardening
Having a front yard is a love-hate relationship. You love it when your front yard looks great, but hate keeping it up. Wouldn’t it also be awesome if you could put some of that great real estate to good use?

In The Edible Front Yard, designer Ivette Soler presents the reader with some stunning ideas how to utilize a front yard as a colorful, dramatic statement from which one can grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Be bold! Cast the brilliant red stems of chard against the bushy leaves o
❂ Jennifer
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gardening-botony
I wanted this book because I wanted to create an attractive, edible garden in my back yard. One that wouldn't look like your typical "vegetable garden". It was an excellent resource. I was really pleased with the advice, the plant lists and the layout suggestions as well as the tips to consider when planning your garden. Lots of beautiful full colour pictures as well. A great find.
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homesteading
I would definitely give this book the full five stars. It’s filled with gorgeous, full-color, glossy photographs that really show off the concepts illustrated in the book. Soler describes both some common vegetables (corn and beans, for example) as well as some things I didn’t even know were edible, like daylilies and nasturtiums! She includes a lot of unusual edibles, like artichokes and bananas, the latter of which I can’t grow outside here in Maryland. She lives in LA, though, and I completel ...more
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
BRB tearing out my front yard and planting it with lettuce.
Pam Penick
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I’ve never been eager to grow my own food. I’d rather plant ornamentals any day than tend a row of snap peas or struggle to keep borers from destroying my squash. But that’s why The Edible Front Yard appealed to me. It’s about making your veggie patch as ornamental as the rest of your garden — so ornamental, in fact, that you feel no qualms about bringing it into the front yard for all the world to see.

Ivette’s enthusiasm for gardening, plants, and getting her hands dirty is apparent in every de
Jan 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: food, gardening
The Edible Front Yard by Ivette Soler is a good jumping off point for a person who is ready to start making the transition from growing a great big lawn of useless and resource wasting grass to having a functional garden space planted with the things one loves to eat while still maintaining the all important curb appeal. Her descriptions of various ornamental edibles that one might not consider growing, hello nasturtiums and orach, are truly useful in planning a garden. I appreciate that she inc ...more
Dec 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: food, non-fiction
It has beautiful pictures and is inspiring, especially as a winter read. It's very general and lists pretty edibles that would look nice in a front yard, but doesn't consistently list hardiness zones. A lot of the suggested plants wouldn't work where I live. There are chapters on hardscape, watering, preserving and organic pest control. It definitely got me dreaming about Spring time, but wasn't specific enough to help me make any actual decisions.
Jul 30, 2014 added it
Shelves: gardening
I'm in the planning stages of turning my front lawn into a mixed edible/ornamental garden - so this book was written for me. That said I did not find it a very useful resource The first two sections list (alphabetically) edibles you might want to include in your yard. While there is certainly something for every zone or aesthetic the manner in which the plants are presented is neither easy-to-reference or complete (another review mentioned the lack of hardiness zones, which would have been an im ...more
Beth Lequeuvre
Oct 24, 2016 rated it liked it
My front yard is mostly dominated by a giant (20 + ft) pine tree. I get plenty of sun, but there always seem to be pine needles falling into the lawn year round making it too acidic to have that pretty dark green Kentucky Bluegrass that everyone aims for in their front yard. My grass looks a lot more neglected than it actually is. I have wanted to convert the front lawn into an edible garden for years. Practical AND pretty really appeals to me.

One of the biggest things holding me back is not rea
Alisha Erin
Aug 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
This book had some problems. It was not organized very well for a "how-to" guide. I would have liked more layout ideas and better plant organization. BUT, it was my first introduction to the idea of an edible front yard, and I have to say that it was very convincing. Our kids play in the front yard sometimes and Jeff and I throw a baseball around in it occasionally, but other than that, we use it for very little. Considering that we have grass on all sides of our house and we are on a .25 acre p ...more
Oct 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, non-fic
The chapters: inspired curb appeal; the new front yard plant palette; expanding our edible palette; design primer and garden planner; edible front yard garden designs; reality check; out with the old; building the bones; working it; harvest time and beyond.

For me, this book was a good idea launching point. It doesn't target my specific zone, but it sparked thoughts and creativity. Some of the garden photos were quite pretty, though most would be rather radical for the average neighborhood - it'
Sharon Tyler
Nov 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden by Ivette Soler is a wonderful resource for gardeners that are tired of mowing, want to grow their own food, and/or want to garden in a even more environmentally friendly method. While I am not ready to dig up my front lawn and replace it entirely with edible plants, I still learned a great deal from this book. The garden designs are both beautiful and doable, something that can be said of all designs featured ...more
Apr 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really like this book as it explains different plants, uses, growing, ideas for combining and all the considerations (texture, color, height, sun/shade, areas, etc.). I like the pictures too, helps to visualize the ideas.

I got lots of ideas for planting my yard/gardens. However, it does seem to be more centered to a west coast area garden or southwestern climate. I was able to glean some useful information from it for my Michigan yard, but probably wont' buy the book but find one that is bette
Becky Condit
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Whether you are planning a garden for the front yard, a small plot in a corner of your backyard, or even on the balcony of your apartment, The Edible Front Yard is the reference book for you. Wait. It is not only an encyclopedia of landscape design, it is a book that is so pretty you will want to keep it out on your coffee table as I do. And if all you grow is grass, trees and a few shrubs, please, please get this book and get out of your rut! You won’t be able to resist planting just one pineap ...more
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! Fun to read and so many great ideas - and I'm encouraged to try growing a few things this summer that I thought before wouldn't have a chance! It's unlikely I'll ever get the husband to forego the lawn completely but I've gotten some good ideas in here on ways to slowly encroach on the green beast. Great section on good looking food plants to grow in the front yard and ornamentals that go well with those plants as well as great ideas on hardscape. I can't wait to build the fence ...more
Feb 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: beginning gardeners
Misleading title. Really the focus here is getting rid of lawn and planting a garden instead. There are edibles suggested but it seems there are more non-edibles in this book than the title would lead you to believe. Regardless, front yard gardens are a great idea - I just wish this book had really followed through in providing info on making one a vegetable garden.

Other complaints - not enough pictures, no real garden plans, only basic information for growing the plants suggested.

Heather O'Neill
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Can you tell what I am planning to do? I found that she had more suggestions for designing an edible garden compared to the last book that I read (The Edible Garden). I liked that there were some actual designs of gardens that a person could follow and that was helpful. I found that her plant section was lacking and that is where the other book excelled, but the other information I thought was useful (like how to get rid of a lawn). The book was a fast read and pictures were beautiful. I am conv ...more
May 10, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was inspiring but I wanted more. I bought a copy and received a copy as a gift from a friend, so I passed one on to another edible-yard fiend friend. The design principles were really nice, and I was glad that Soler included some plants that are edible but aren't usually highlighted (like fennel, which grows like crazy and comes in different colors) but I was disappointed that the book was so California-centric. So much of what she recommended are things she can't do. No lemon trees in ...more
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, gardening
I eventually gave up on this one, a bit over 50% through. It's a very pretty book -- with a lot of close-ups of pretty grapes or tomatoes, and basic information on how to grow them. I spent most of the time while I was reading this thinking, "Yes, I know the plants are pretty! Tell me how to put them on my front lawn in a way that is 1) easiest to care for 2) doesn't diminish my property value and 3) doesn't damage any part of the house."

Instead, I got pretty pictures. I wish it had pictures of
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Although it's the backyard I want to make edible, this book has provided a lot of useful information on specific plants to grow, companion planting, and wonderful pictures to help me achieve this. As with many of the gardening books I have been reading, there is an emphasis on organic and environmentally responsible gardening. The chapters on design might be helpful in the future after I am more comfortable with vegetable gardening in general and can focus on having prettier vegetable beds where ...more
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great resource for anyone who wants to add some edibles to their landscaping, front or back. The book is full of ideas and pictures for incorporating these plants individually or as a whole yard. There is information on the plants themselves, with an eye to ornamental varieties that will look good in your front yard, but more importantly the book goes into a lot of detail on other concerns necessary to making it work - dealing with neighbors, regulations, and privacy. Very well done.
Sep 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: erudite, 2013
Not what I was looking for, but certainly has potential to be good for others.

Soler is a garden designer based out of LA and it shows, her book is beautiful photographed but concerned with curb appeal and aesthetics to a fault. I want my edible front yard to be appealing to my neighbors for sure, but that is at best my third goal. This is a good pick if that is your first, and if you have exceptional resources (both time and money) to implement these dreamy gardens.
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
Based on the inspiring title and attractive cover, I wanted to like this book. But every time I started to get interested in what the author had to say, I'd turn the page and she'd have abandoned that topic and moved on to something else. Same with the pictures: some were terrific, and then they'd skip a bunch of plants or fail to illustrate a concept or repeat earlier images. A disappointment overall, although with a good base message about gardening rather than growing lawn.
Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Loved this book as I'm exploring a front-yard garden, and will probably really use it as a reference as I move forward. I really loved the pictures and detail on specific plants and how edible foods can actually be landscaping items, too. I was a little disappointed that all of the garden pictures seemed to be located in California--the climate and lifestyle is so different there, it's a bit hard to picture it in my own home.
Minda Carpenter
Dec 19, 2015 rated it liked it
This book contains some great ideas and I'm sure I'll be referring back to it frequently. I'm changing my yard a little bit at a time in order to not freak out the neighbors.

There were a couple of things that annoyed me in this book. The author did not seem to understand that everything is made of chemicals. She often demonized all chemicals (by which she probably meant synthetic chemical) without citations. I can only assume most of her anti-chemical "facts" were made up.
Amy Yarrington
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
I liked the introductions to new plant species. I wish the discussion of garden design had been longer and that the "sample" gardens had been larger in number and variety. I think this book leans a bit more toward species well suited to growing on the West Coast. I would have also appreciated MORE PICTURES!
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