Front Yard Gardens: Rules for Growing Food Out Front

So you want to turn your lawn into a front yard garden? Here’s how to stay friends with the neighbors.

By Heather Jo Flores

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Food Not Lawns

So you want to turn your lawn into a front yard garden? Here’s how to stay friends with the neighbors.

The transformation of any lawn to a garden is always a good thing. But growing food in the front yard isn’t just about you. A front-yard farm is a statement to your community, telling them that you value homegrown food more than mainstream conformity.

And that can ruffle some feathers!

Yes, front yard gardens invite community dialogue, and bring fellow gardeners in the neighborhood out of the woodwork. (How great is that??)

But front yard gardens can also provoke complaints from the neighbors, however, so follow these four basic guidelines to help ensure those neighborly reactions are positive:

The 4 C’s of Front Yard Gardens

1. Be creative.
Spend some time designing a garden that is beautiful and unique. Get some books on edible ornamentals and create a landscape people will see as a work of art.

2. Be consistent.
Don’t let the front yard get overgrown and unsightly. Keep up with weeding, mulching and pruning. Be ruthless with dead and diseased plants. If your energy for gardening wanes, scale back your plans and only grow what you can maintain.

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Photo by Heather Jo Flores

3. Be charitable.
Offer surplus produce, plants and seeds to your neighbors. Invite them to share in the harvest and offer to help them with their garden ideas. Neighbors who value you as a friend are much less likely to cause problems.

4. Be considerate.
Understand that not everyone in your neighborhood will be as excited about growing food as you are. Don’t leave piles of soil or cardboard in the driveway for weeks on end. Consider their needs and they will consider yours.

Ok? Trust me, these four simple and easy-to-remember guidelines will make a huge difference in whether your front yard farm unites the neighborhood, or divides it.

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Photo by Heather Jo Flores

See a bunch of before and after pics at and visit my website https://www.heatherjoflores.comOfficial website of the founding chapter of the Food Not Lawns movement.
Welcome to Food Not Lawns, an International network of activist gardeners, sharing seeds, tools, land and information…

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