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culture techniques, you can reduce main- tenance even more, at the same time increas- ing the property’s re- sale value to the next health-minded buyer. Other benefi ts


to edible landscaping are less tangible, yet worth mentioning to green-minded clients. “Locavore” families often take pride in their reduced ecologi- cal footprint. Children benefi t in knowledge and physical activ- ity by participating in growing their own food, rather than thinking that all fruits and vegetables come from a grocery store. Landscapes with diverse plant species tend to keep soils healthier and provide more re- sources for wildlife and pollinators.


Lip-Service Versus Buy-In While green certifi cation off ers credit points for edible landscaping, it is impor- tant for builders attempting certifi cation not simply give it lip-service, but to ob- tain the new homeowner’s agreement and commitment—so that edible landscap- ing can be implemented correctly. A 4’ x 4’ herb garden in a production home can be attractive and quaint, an incentive to buy and ‘checked off ’ to help obtain green certifi cation. However, if the homeowner hasn’t asked for it, and doesn’t know how to take care of it properly, the herbs could start to decline or die within a few months, and that failure may result in a return to grass seed or turf. This, in turn, may lead to over-watering, over-fertilizing and unneces- sary chemical applications. The end result is a less resilient lifestyle and a discouraged homeowner. Designing garden beds with strate-


gically-placed fruit and nut trees, berried shrubs and edible perennials and annuals will be easier on the new gardening home- owner. If there’s enough property, a 15’ x 15’ area (or larger) with raised containers or in-ground beds can be an easy way to en- courage fi rst-timers to grow their own food. Homeowners will accept the maintenance needed in their landscapes, if they know


Container gardens can be used to grow both edible and non-edible plants. They’re a great option for rentals, small urban patio areas and retrofits.


that eventually, they will enjoy eating the fruits of their labor. During the fi nal walk-through, when


the builder and homeowners are going over the last details, and the home’s war- ranties and manuals are being supplied, gardens should get their due. Give the own- ers the local cooperative extension offi ce contact information, plus a list of all plant species on site, with their locations and anything the residents might need to know about care and maintenance. While you’re at it, throw in some recipes, and capture all these details in an attractive three-ring gar- den journal they can show off to friends.


A Yard for All Seasons I remember back in the Sixties, when it seemed like growing plants was as simple as throwing seeds out into the yard, or put- ting an avocado seed in a jar of water. But that’s about the same time that suburbia was ramping up, the petro-chemical industry was making lots of promises about the fu- ture of agriculture, and today’s cookie-cutter home landscapes were becoming homog- enized across the country. Those landscapes have become the epitome of monocultures, wasted water, chemical over-use. What’s more, they’re expensive and time-consuming to maintain for today’s homeowner. But with sustainability as a goal, green developers, builders, landscape architects and designers can turn things around. There’s a wide array of new plant species availability. It’s easy to locate and purchase exotic trees (non-invasive, of course), heirloom seeds and hybridizing


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