We've recently begun to offer full foodscaping design services, especially for clients who want to replace their front lawn with an edible garden - and so need it to look particularly nice.
This project was for a south-facing front lawn in the Dunbar area, the yard measuring about 33x33'. The client wanted to replace her front lawn with a system of raised vegetable-growing beds and cedar chip paths. In such a sunny location, just about any vegetable or fruit will grow well, and you can layer the kinds of plants from front to back (sunwards to shade-wards) in each successive bed. So the full-sun tomatoes, beans, squashes, or herbs, provide part-shade for turnips or beets, and closer beneath the sun-loving plants, more consistent shade for lettuces, kales, mints, parsley or asian greens.
The client also looked to create some kind of barrier around the yard to prevent dogs (and maybe overly-eager human scavengers!) from coming in - while not making it unfriendly for the neighbours. And finally, she wanted to replace her straight-shot, broken concrete walk with a winding walk of pavers.
In designing the yard, our first decision was that the garden needed a focal point - both visually from the street, and practically in terms of a staging-place for the gardening work. So we started with the paved patio area up near the house - where a potting table, garden bench or small table and chairs could sit - and worked from there.
Likewise, we saw our goal as trying to provide as much food-producing space as possible. So on the front and one side, a fence became either growing frames or an arbour incorporating another growing frame - for grapes, beans, peas, tomatoes, squashes, even melons, kiwi vines or espaliered fruit trees. Similarly, we replaced a proposed wooden fence on the other side with an edible, living fence of raspberries and blueberries.
This is the most basic plan we devised, our client not wanting to get too adventurous with odd shapes and sizes of beds (though within the limits of what can be effectively gardened, the sky's the limit in this regard!). We also agreed that an overall east-west layout for the beds was aesthetically the best choice for this yard.
Included in the estimate was the installation of a well-designed, inconspicuous drip watering system, all running back to a single tap with a programmable timer to make it as little work as possible.
We should add: we have yet to get to design a garden for someone with particular physical needs - but it's a challenge we can't wait to take on! Wheelchair friendly paths, extra high raised beds, friendly composting or watering systems, vertical gardening strategies, and so on: these can all be adapted for each person's particular needs.
Either way, the result: the transformation of an unused front lawn well past its prime, into a vibrant, rich, beautiful foodscape, producing healthy, fresh food year-round! And no more mowing the lawn!