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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Seven Keys to an Elegant Edible Landscape: Discover how to have a beautiful garden and eat them too. Agriscaping expert Justin Rohner shows us how.

Jan 04, 2017 11:08PM ● By Justin Rohner

Gardens have changed in the last 20 years. People used to believe that to have a beautiful garden, it would have to be a resource-sucking money pit. Since the recession, however, that sentiment has changed. Gardeners are getting smarter. They realize now that if they are going to put money and/or time into their landscape, it had better provide more than just something pretty to look at.

Thanks to a rising trend in integrated landscaping from food forests, farm yards, food-scaping, to Agriscaping, people are finding ways to have their beautiful gardens and eat them, too. Success begins with a solid, integrated design. In general, a well-designed landscape (edible or not) will be so attractive that it naturally draws people out into the garden to both enjoy it and nurture it. It will also ebb and flow with the seasons, never missing a beautiful beat. Consider these seven keys to ensure success with an elegant edible landscape:  

Include In-Demand Edibles: The most successfully edible landscapes include what the residents most love to eat, from roots, fruits and beans to greens.

Microclimates: Edibles can easily be grown in every microclimate from indoors to outdoors, full sun to full shade, and everything in between. New research from has simplified the science of microclimates down to seven zones that exist in every landscape, and developed a garden planning software to identify varieties and schedules proven in each microclimate year-round.  

Water: When water can first be harvested on-site through grey water and rainwater sources, and then efficiently aligned with growing spaces, municipal water use will be minimal and production will be improved.  

Layers: Great designs often start with the tree layer, a bush/perennial layer, and then the growing beds where all seasonal fruits, vegetables and edible flowers grow, beautifully protected from the harshest of weather conditions.  

Hardscapes: To give a garden lasting beauty and flow, top designs anchor layouts with seat walls, paths, arbors, fire pits and trellises. These elements are beautiful on their own and enhance the plants that grow around them.

Adventure paths: Creating a “road less traveled” in the landscape means more to a garden than adventure, it also means ease of maintenance by putting every edible plant within arm’s reach.

Flow: Ensuring a simple, intuitive layout that includes support for the complete life cycle of plants from soil, seed starting and maturation to harvesting and then back to soil again through composting is the only path to a sustainable design.

Although most gardeners love to be out in their gardens often, they don’t want to be slaves to it. Seeking out a professional support network is a good idea. There is a growing network of support, as well as more free tips and tricks to elegant edible landscaping on They can help with all things from design, installation, maintenance and harvesting to integration of excess production into the local food economy.

Following these steps, today’s smart gardeners can ensure elegant edible success in their garden for a lifetime and beyond.

Justin RohnerJustin Rohner is CEO and cofounder of Agriscaping Technologies, in Gilbert. For more information, phone 480-336-2518.

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