Thursday, April 14, 2011

Front Yard Dilemma: Food or Lawn?

I have a dilemma. We have a front yard that has yet to be landscaped. It's full of dirt and gravel and is in some desperate need of TLC. If we hadn't run out of time last summer landscaping the backyard, our front yard would already be mostly lawn. Now that I've had the winter to think about it, I'm starting to reconsider what we do with the space.

Photo by Shira Golding
I love the idea of turning our front yard into garden beds for plenty of reasons, the main two being that this space could be used for something more important, like growing food and if we're going to use water, it should be for something useful like food, not wasteful like lawn. I recently read that lawns are the single-largest irrigated crop in the United States, three-times more than corn (1) - that's a lot of water wasted! What's more, "70 million pounds of pesticides are applied to lawns each year, making storm-water runoff, contaminated by fertilizers and pesticides, the primary source of water pollution." (2) This is what goes into the water we end up drinking.

Since we already have a small play space dedicated to lawn in the back yard for my son, and being that we live on a slightly busier street in town, we're not likely to use the front space - ever. Who really uses their front yard these days anyway?

My main concern with committing our front yard space to growing food is design. Nice green lawns are esthetically pleasing and it is what we've grown accustomed to looking at. Gardens can be messy places, so finding a design that is pleasing to the eye and will be an inspiration to others is important. I found an interesting design at The Casual Gardener, and I think it looks pretty cool. I'll have to play around with it to see if it is something that will work.

What do you think? Would you consider replacing your front lawn with a vegetable garden?



Kimberly said...

One thing to keep in mind is simply how busy your street is. The more cars=more pollution and exhaust right on your food. Just a thought! That said, there is a lot one could do!!

Shanon Hilton said...

That's a good point, one I didn't consider. We don't live on a very busy street, but we still get some traffic being that we're right across from a school. Though, I'm thinking anything grown in our front yard is still far better than anything from the supermarket!