Grow Food not Lawns

Here are some images as ‘food for thought’ to carve out a bit more room for growing food every summer. I’ve been doing it in my little corner of the suburbs. How about you?

food not lawns
grow food not lawns
grow food not lawns

backyard garden
grow food
grow food not grass

76 thoughts on “Grow Food not Lawns

  1. I’ve always wondered why those huge lawns aren’t use for growing something more interesting! Unfortunately many smaller lawns in the UK are being covered in concrete so that householders can park on them. One consequence has been a drop in the numbers of insects and the sparrows that rely on them for food. Another has been an enormous problem with runoff as rainwater now has nowhere to go.

    • Thank you for this excellent comment! I do cringe a bit when I see people paving their yard for extra parking. And the runoff is alarming as well. I have a Rain garden in the front specifically designed with hardy native (bee-friendly) plants that absorb extra water when it rains hard, helping slow the flow to the street. My food (so-far) is in the back yard but I plan on growing more food in the front next spring as well. Great to hear from you. Thanks again.

    • you can always put in a grass driveway these days. they lay a network surfaceinthe ground and the grass grows through the medium. it means you car can move over itwithout getting bogged, but you can retain a permeable
      green surface. great for duel use like play lawn and parking/driving areas.

      • I’m so glad you mentioned this as now I will have to look into it. Our cement driveway becomes a waterfall during heavy showers forcing all the rainwater under our house and causing damage to the stumps. The driveway slopes at either end with a dip in the middle so it’s not really suited to other water friendly options like gravel but this might be a suitable alternative.

  2. Our gardens get bigger every year. Last year I moved a lot of perennials to make room for an asparagus bed and blueberry and blackberry bushes. This spring, we took up more grass for raised beds. Knowing where your food is coming from is critical to your health so if what you have is a front lawn, I say go for it.

    • How wonderful Judy! I too lose more grass every year, as more food and perennials go in. I like growing native flowering plants to help with bee and bird populations. I love that you added an asparagus bed and berry bushes! I have my sights set on those as well (to add to my raspberry patch). Thanks so much for your comment!

    • That is fantastic! I too plan on growing food in my front yard, but my back yard is more sunny and my veggies are more abundant every year. But I love the idea of growing veggies in the front WITH my flowering perennials and shrubs. I saw a photo of someone using carrots as an edging plant and it was gorgeous. Ferny foliage for beauty, then harvest and enjoy!

  3. These pictures are inspirational. I had been doing some of this with where I live now. We’re moving in a short time, and I hope to carve out more food from grass there too!

  4. I love these images. And I love my own little garden. I was telling Peter last night that I enjoy how our grocery bill goes down in the summer because of the garden, not to mention the exquisitely fresh vegetables that we enjoy for several months. Plus, I think it add a wonderful energy to our home and our health!

    Love,

    Cathy

    • Hi Cathy, You make a couple of terrific points here! Not only do our grocery bills go down in the summer, but I also agree how it adds “a wonderful energy to our home and our health!” Talk about a win-win! Thanks so much for this delightful comment.
      Love and Hugs, Gina

  5. Thanks for these inspiring photos, Gina!
    I like the solution in Bellingham, WA: Volunteers ask homeowners if they can plant on part of their lawn. They build raised beds; grow any number of vegetables; and split the harvest between the owner and food banks/needy neighbors w/o gardens.

    • That is FANTASTIC! Thank you so much for this amazing comment with this inspiring information. I love hearing about groups and municipalities that are making forward-thinking decisions, and this is one of the best I’ve heard of. Cheers, Gina

  6. I would love to do this here at home but its so hot and we have a terrible water restriction at the moment in Perth. At least some of my herbs are happy with little water and loads of sun. Oh well who knows in the future!

    • Oh I have heard that about Perth. At least – like you optimistically point out – there are some Mediterranean herbs that adore harsh, hot, dry conditions. My best wishes to you! May the rains arrive gently. Thanks for your great comments.

  7. Reblogged this on Baddaci and commented:
    Now THIS is the right idea. All i need is house to live in so I can transform the yard. This is amazing and everyone should be doing this. Talk about green living. I’m IN!

  8. WOW! I love this!!! Everyone should be doing this. All I need is a house now! Seriously though, thank you!!! I reblogged this on BADACCI, Perfect.

  9. that is a great idea. Several neighbors of mine have changed out their lawns for perennial gardens. But it may not work everywhere. Vegetables need LOTS of sun and a horizon broken up by houses might curtail growth. I got a spot in my community garden because, between the trees and the houses around my property, it was hard to garden in true full sun. But, I’m moving to Detroit, where many areas of urban blight are trying out urban farming. if you know any contacts in the sustainability movement in Detroit, I’d love to hear about them.

    • Yes you’re so right about the challenge of obtaining enough full sun in neighborhoods where houses may shade our yards. I am thankful to have a large expanse of southern exposure. Sometimes portable containers can work in urban settings, allowing gardeners to maximize the sun their plants receive. Also hanging gardens can work as well. I will share any contact info about the Detroit area if or when I come upon them. Thanks so much for your great comment. Cheers!

  10. Reblogged this on Middle Way Mom and commented:
    I just loved this post so much, I had to share! What are your thoughts? My first thought is, “Would I keep up with it?” I think turning on a sprinkler system is the level of work most people are comfortable with… but weeding and planting, and harvesting? No so much.

    • Hi there, and thanks for reblogging and helping get this idea out there! You make me laugh about the ‘not so much’ thing because I remember being there not so long ago myself. The rewards are key. The taste of freshly grown tomatoes are out of this world and greens at my fingertips waiting to become a fresh salad every day, and feeling the satisfaction of growing my own food – no matter how small the ‘crop’… these things outweigh the chores tenfold :)

  11. Awesome collection of photos and food for thought. There is a great documentary called “Fresh: The Movie” streaming on Netflix. I truly believe that if our planet is to sustain 10 billion hungry/thirsty humans, it’ll be done on front and back lawns. We’re fortunate not to be in suburbia, but we are forced (by HOA rules) to grow turf grass in the front. But they can’t tell me what I can and can’t do out back.

    PS — Plants from the brassica family makes beautiful landscaping greenery, and edible to boot. Yellow flower stalks of broccoli are welcome beauty in the pre-spring doldrums, and the bees and butterflies will thank you for them!

    • Hi Shannon! I’ve been happily reading away over at your place ;) and now here you are at mine. Hooray! Thanks for the tip about the brassica family as I do enjoy growing food and ornamentals together. Carrots make a beautiful ‘edging’ plant with their frothy foliage. I am SO thankful that we do not HAVE to grow sod in the front yards of my suburb. We just have to not hinder view for drivers but that’s not a problem along my straight street. I do have mostly native wildflowers and other perennials in the front with the food grown in the back but these images inspire me tremendously to add more food plants to the front every year. Especially vertically, like beans on a trellis! Gotta love that small ‘footprint’. Great to have you over here! Hope you’ll be back :)
      Cheers, Gina

      • Oh, you know I will! And my other blog friends can attest I tend to go back (when I get free time) and read someone’s ENTIRE blog content while sipping a couple of cups of coffee. Especially those who think like I do *wink wink* because I do love to think about those important things. See you soon, Gina. Nice to meet you!

        • How wonderful to meet such a kindred spirit! I too enjoy a cuppa tea as I sit back and browse from a current post back, and then further back, and further back still… enjoying a person’s blog and often seeing the evolution of their direction and spirit. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to visit my humble blog here. I truly hope you will find fodder for thought and much to enjoy! I shall be over to your place again soon with my trusty cuppa tea :) SO nice to meet you Shannon ~ you are a shining star that brightens our blogging world! Hugs, Gina

    • Hello! Thanks for coming here after visiting over at your blog :) Well these images are places I dream of having but my suburban food crop is in my sunnier backyard. My front yard has become a perennial, wildflower and shrub cornucopia haven for native insects, bees, butterflies and birds. However this year I do plan on growing beans on a trellis in the front! But as far as digging up sod and putting in native plants, neighbours stop by and say Thank You and It Looks Beautiful! Cheers, Gina

  12. I’d love to grow more veggies in my yard. Unfortunately we have a very large wild deer population and they eat everything. People in my area with gardens also have to invest in fencing, special motion detection sprinkler to scare them away, scare crows, moth balls and special deer repellent sprays. It’s heart breaking when my day lily buds are all eaten off just before they were to bloom… Veggies in my yard would just end up as deer salad!

    • Oh my goodness! I’ve read about that, and talked with wishful gardeners in Banff who say the same thing. They simply have to abandon hope. :( I do plant only rabbit resistant varieties of wildflowers and perennials in the front because of the massive snowshoe hare population around here, but I’ve heard deer eat everything, even so called deer-resistant plants. So I do feel your pain :) In my backyard we have a 6-foot solid wooden fence so my food crops are pretty safe (from mammals) but like I said, I’ve heard people in deer country watch them clear 6 feet like nothing. I’m sorry to hear about your daylily buds! Thanks for visiting :)

    • Wow, there’s a FB page called Grow Food Not Lawns? That’s awesome, but no – it’s not me :) I am creating a FB page called People Excited About Co Existence but it’s not public yet.
      Cheers, Gina

    • LOL :D Yes I love the vertical concept as well, mostly since I am running out of space so now I’m not only eye-ing trellis’ but also looking at every south- or west-facing wall or fence surface I can use :) Thanks for sharing your comment and for the reblog! Cheers, Gina

  13. I’m a little late jumping in here, but this was featured as a recommended post on your profile. I LOVE it… immediately sent it to my girlfriend who’s all about growing food and we agreed on a favorite… the stair steps. Thanks so much. This is lovely and inspiring.

    • Hello and may I say, it’s never too late! I am so glad your shared this with your GF and you both enjoy the stair steps. Me too! So many excellent ideas for growing our own fresh produce (and flowers too!) in our small suburban lots. I may be running out of room on the flat land ;) but the west- and south-facing walls and fences are looking mighty attractive to start growing food on trellis’ and racks and hanging planters. Thanks so much for your supportive comment! Cheers, Gina

  14. Reblogged this on earningmygreenthumbs and commented:
    OMG, Just found this pic. Somehow I don’t think our veg garden will look nearly as spectacular. Especially since hubby said it was only going to take him an hour an our or so to finish… This here garden doesn’t look like it’s the put-it-together-in-an-hour type garden. I suppose I should add a few things to my to do list eh? pebble walkways, cucumber lean-to lattice thingy, arbor….

    • Thanks so much Chuck! Yes what an impact these ideas can generate. My own front garden is keeping me VERY busy (and away from blogging unfortunately) as I’ve had the last 300sf of sod removed and a delivery of 2 cubic yards of compost-enriched soil (sans-peat… I avoid peat because I like bogs to stay unfarmed!) is coming today! I’m so excited. Thanks again Chuck. Cheers, Gina

        • Thank you Chuck! After far too long away, I have signed back on and your great comment here inspired me to at last do a new post on a favorite passion of mine – eliminating the use of peat moss in our horticultural industry. So thanks for your helpful inspiration and I’ll be coming over to visit you at your terrific blog ASAP. Cheers, Gina

  15. Love and agree the idea and doing it. But living in the city we have too many nasty rodents to keep out our veggie planting area! :’( Chip monks, squirrels, raccoons, ground hogs, moles…

    • Hello and thanks for this great comment. And yes, some of us in urban centers have so much competition for our food plants! I do like using containers on the wall or fence for smaller greens, and using upside-down tomato planters is the way for me! I discovered how fond I am of cherry tomatoes a few years back and also learned how much they like growing upside down in a hanging planter (with a hole in the bottom). So that has helped me with our local rodent community. Our squirrels and hares get into everything otherwise. Good luck! Gina

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  17. Thanks for getting this idea spread out as much as possible. Even if only 10 percent of people converted their lawns in the US alone – that would be a massive change in food self-reliance, reduced pestices/herbicides, shelter for animals, bees, etc.
    I am growing most of my own food, even in the winter time, using a hoophouse with cold frames inside (we are in Zone 4).
    Thanks for the following of my blog.

    • Yes, let’s help get this idea out there! Food plants growing in our yards instead of wasteful grass lawns. Every one who does this makes a much bigger difference than they may realize, even if only by role-modelling to others that it’s possible. Thanks for commenting. Cheers, Gina

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