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The Beautiful Edible Garden: Design A Stylish Outdoor Space Using Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  283 ratings  ·  48 reviews
From the founders of landscape design firm Star Apple Edible & Fine Gardening in the San Francisco Bay Area comes a stylish, beautifully-photographed guide to artfully incorporating organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs into an attractive modern garden design.

We’ve all seen the vegetable garden overflowing with corn, tomatoes, and zucchini that looks good for a short time,
Paperback, 220 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Ten Speed Press (first published February 5th 2013)
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Average rating 3.59  · 
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 ·  283 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
You want to grow some food, but you don’t want your yard to look like a farm. Or maybe your Home Owner’s Association has rules on that and will freak if they can tell you planted some produce producing plants. Or maybe you have a difficult neighbor who has a tendency to report everything you do to the city inspectors. If you are looking for a way to mix in the edible plants with flowering things The Beautiful Edible Garden: Design a Stylish Outdoor Space Using Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs might ...more
May 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: garden
Fundamentally this book explores how to include edible plants in a stylish landscape. The authors, Leslie Bennett and Stefani Bittner, organize the book well addressing the issues of a successful garden design. But practically the book fails in several ways. First of all, gardeners in zones colder than 7 or 8 will find that many of the plants mentioned can not be grown in their area. Secondly, the photos and text repeatedly return to the use of the same visually attractive edible plants like thy ...more
This is not for novice gardeners. The projects are rather involved too (& could be costly). I liked it & the photos are gorgeous. My only concern is that there was not enough clarity - for me - between the plants/parts of the yard that are and are not edible. I would be hesitant about engaging in some of these projects if I had young kids in my home. Anyone living in such a yard with a mixture of edible & potentially poisonous plants would absolutely have to be extremely well trained about what ...more
Apr 22, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a beautifully photographed book, especially the floral arrangements. It had some good information in it, but I felt like it was written more for the west coast or more warm climate regions. I would have loved to have seen the zone listings for the various plants recommended in the book. If you want to be inspired by what can be, this would be a nice book to look at.
Jan 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: folks interested in sustainable landscaping
as i've written this review, i've pulled the book up from 3 stars to 3.5–4.

this is a solid, attractive, easily accessible reference for the home gardener looking to create a sustainable, edible landscape. the book would be helpful to folks of all levels of gardening experiences, with all sizes of yards, in all growing zones, though undoubtedly those with some gardening knowledge, access to moderate space, in and moderate zones will find the most options.

as a beginner gardener, i found all of th
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening
I really enjoyed this beautiful book about edible landscaping. The pictures are incredible and inspiring. The authors break down the process of creating an edible landscape into several steps which feel easy to follow. There are many good suggestions about plants to use and creative ways to incorporate them into the garden. They also deal with a variety of yard sizes so it feels easy to scale up or down depending on the size of your property. The one thing that would have given this a five star ...more
Jill Daw
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't 100% sure what to expect from this book when I first received it; I have read a few books about garden planning that left a little to be desired so while I had high hopes, I didn't have any grand expectations. I was very pleasantly surprised. This is an excellent book not only about incorporating edibles into your landscape but about gardening in general. It is very readable and incorporates a lot of very helpful photographs that support the text very well. I believe this text would be ...more
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: food, gardening
As an edible gardening enthusiast I was delighted by the inspiration and beautiful photography featured in The Beautiful Edible Garden, but, as a gardener who likes to have all her reference material at hand, I was also somewhat disappointed. Other for books I have read in the genre had prepared me to feel moved and delighted,and to look out at my yard with a brand new set of visions for planting things I possibly hadn't considered edible before. This is not that book.
The Beautiful Edible Garden
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was totally captivated by the beautiful cover and gorgeous pictures in this book. The authors' goal in this book is to help redefine the plant palette to utilize edible and ornamental plants throughout your garden in a way that is both beautiful and productive. They begin by discussing the four main principles of creating a beautiful, productive garden: Balance, Arrangement, Year-Round Beauty and Harvest, and Unified Style. Then they break the garden down to the Front Yard and the Backyard and ...more
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
I read this book concurrently with Bittner's other book, Harvest. I enjoyed Harvest much more. This book was too "theoretical" for me. The book spells out a 5-step process for you to use to design your yard and make it, not only beautiful, but useful/edible. But there weren't enough concrete examples on how to do that. And the pictures were beautiful but in so many of the pictures I didn't know the plants pictured, and knowing that would have greatly helped me plan my own yard. I would have love ...more
Steph Myers
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, diy, gardening
Beautiful photos. This is primarily a design book and pretty thin on technique. The principles presented are simple and easy for the layperson to apply. The photos show that including edibles can make a garden every bit as gorgeous as perennials alone. Even though the authors try to create a book that can be used by any gardeners, I think it will be most beneficial to coastal and mild climate gardeners. Many of the edible plants presented are annuals in Colorado unless potted and brought indoors ...more
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I think this a great book for someone who really cares about the aesthetics of their garden and wants a clear plan of action to follow. Basic design principals are covered and a five-step plan is outlined and then applied to different types of spaces. Beautiful pictures and copious suggestions for integrating ornamental and edible plants. I was slightly (only very slightly) frustrated by the inclusion of many plants that are not hardy in my area (zone 4), as it is written from a CA perspective. ...more
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully crafted book. The photos are wonderful and plentiful, which made me all the more excited to grow and design. The book is very informative as well--though the growing suggestions are focused on the realities of growing in what I assume is the author's native climate zone. Drier climate zones, like the one I'm currently in, will need to adjust the instructions significantly. Overall, I was very pleased with the book. ...more
Jennifer McGuinness
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found that while I was reading "The Beautiful Edible Garden," I was constantly putting the book down to make notes of ideas that jumped into my mind for my own garden. The beautiful photography shines throughout the book and this collaboration by Bennett and Bittner really does inspire you to make a more beautiful, edible garden.

Read my full review over at my blog,

Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book does lack some technique for beginners HOWEVER it's not called "Edible Garden 101" or "How to Create a Basic Edible Garden". This book is successfully addresses the esthetics of edible gardens. It is photograph and inspiration heavy.

I loved this book and it is one of the few on this topic that I have read from the library and purchased because I can't renew it forever.
May 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: house-and-yard
I picked up 2 tips from this book. One involves the uses for grey water when thinking of food safety. The other was a reminder to put stepping stones in your garden beds to keep from compacting the soil.
Otherwise, it was a pretty random read with some repetition, and incorrect word use. ( Wheel BARREL?)
May 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, gardening
Gardening seems so simple and so complex all at the same time, which means reading about it is both inspiring and daunting. There are so many plants, so many things to know and consider! I can't imagine that any gardener could surround himself in such an environment and not marvel at the beauty, wonder and ingenuity of creation. ...more
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening
This book seemed well-researched and based on the landscaping experience of the authors and other contributors. The photography was well done and pertinent to the text. Overall, I think this is the best book I have read about ornamental edible landscaping due to its thoroughness on the topic, included references, and balance of text and images.
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful book if you're interested in garden design and want ideas. I drooled over the lovely photos. It's a less practical book for the actual gardening really need to do extra research on whether the varieties they recommend will do well in your region and how easy they are to grow. Start here...but read more solid gardening books that are tailored to your area. ...more
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
While not strictly for beginning gardeners, this offers great information that can be applied to any garden. I found the sections on under planting, shade-tolerance, herb wreaths, container planting, and composting achievable and practical.
Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a beautifully done book. The authors own a vegetable gardening business in California, so it would definitely be more applicable to you if you lived in that area. But, the design principles are universal and apply to all gardeners. Good gardening eye candy!
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
While this book makes me want to move to CA it does not help me plan an edible garden anyplace else. It relies heavily on citrus that you plant in-yard and other wonderful sounding fruits that I just do not think would work in most of the country.
Danielle Short
May 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: permaculture
The plants they suggest often don't work in Denver, but I enjoyed the "design for dummies" aspect of hte book. I will take some of the concepts they share and apply it to my permaculture design for my yard to help make it look more cohesive. ...more
Mar 11, 2013 rated it liked it
More emphasis here on style than on edible- the writers are landscape architects, so perhaps this was to be expected. A very pretty book, well worth the read.
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Got some great ideas from this book including using herbs as ground covers. Beautiful photos. Can't wait til spring! ...more
Rachel Hopkins
May 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
Good information and well written but I was looking for more concrete garden plans
Velma Haag
Jun 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: gardening
This book was perhaps more for warmer climates than the midwest, but I did enjoy the concepts. Nifty ideas for landscaping the garden as well.
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Slightly aggravating to have so many plants included that I just can't grow in my planting zone (all those citrus trees!) but still a lovely book. ...more
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diy, food
Lovely little book with beautiful photos, unfortunately it was more appropriate for Southern California than western New York.
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
A good balance of design aesthetics and good garden health. Gorgeous photos!!!
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Leslie Bennett and Stefani Bittner are co-founders of Star Apple Edible + Fine Gardening, a San Francisco Bay Area landscape design firm focusing on aesthetic edible gardening. At Star Apple, they bring together ecologically sound landscape principles and small-scale urban agriculture, working with both ornamental and edible plants to create integrated landscapes. Visit www.StarAppleEdibleGardens. ...more

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