With this pandemic restricting travel, many of us are likely to be spending the summer in the backyard. Well surrounded by plants, it will certainly be a pleasure to enjoy a little peace and freshness on the terrace or under the pergola this summer. Here are some suggestions for greening your yard without taking the beaten track and turning it into a real urban oasis!
What would you say if your yard or patio consisted of productive landscaping to feed you? That instead of finding only ornamental plants, there were also fruit shrubs, vegetable plants, herbs and edible flowers?
You can transform your yard into a gourmet landscaping by introducing edible plants such as nut trees, fruit trees and shrubs, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers and medicinal plants. Thus, your landscaping will no longer be solely ornamental, it can now be utilitarian, ecological and improve your quality of life, in particular by allowing the production of healthy, fresh and tasty foods.
Definitely one of the easiest ways to introduce edible plants to an existing ornamental garden is to grow them in containers. Grown in vats, pots or flower boxes, vegetables and herbs can thus be easily incorporated into the plantings that make up a classic landscaping.
A host of edible plants are well suited to growing in containers. Herbs and leafy greens are certainly the most easily grown vegetable plants in pots. In addition, in recent years, many cultivars of small-sized eggplant, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes have been specially developed for container cultivation. Some fruit shrubs like camberries, strawberries, and raspberries can also be grown in pots.
Another simple method of incorporating edible plants into an existing layout is to plant a few in flower beds along with typical ornamental plants, much like we do every spring with annual flowers. Little by little, it will be possible to turn your ornamental arrangement into an edible and utilitarian garden.
Vegetable plants with attractive foliage, such as Swiss chard, kale, and lettuce, can be easily incorporated into annual or perennial flower beds. The same is true for most small fruit shrubs, such as camberries, blueberries and currants for example. On the other hand, some of the easiest edible flowers to grow include begonias, nasturtiums, daylilies, hostas, carnations, pansies, and marigolds.
In addition to growing them in pots, you can also grow your annual flowers or your vegetables and herbs on the walls of your home or on the balustrade of your balcony thanks to a vertical greening system.
Sold in some garden centers or on the internet, most of these systems are made up of plastic boxes or textile pockets fixed with screws. However, a small space must be left between the wall of the house and the greening system in order to allow some ventilation and avoid damaging the coating of the first.
Rather than investing in a vertical revegetation system, you can also grow your flowers and edible plants on an old reclaimed wood stepladder. Install various types of jars – do not hesitate to collect old tin cans – on the steps of your stepladder. To prevent the pots from falling, secure them to the steps with screws.
A new horticultural trend called tabletop gardening is allowing plants to be grown when it is not possible to do so in the ground. A vegetable table also allows disabled gardeners who use wheelchairs or those who cannot bend or kneel to enjoy the pleasure of gardening and harvesting herbs and fresh vegetables.
Beyond the purely utilitarian aspect of this type of gardening, we can also create a small arrangement on the table just for fun. This summer, you could give new life to an old table by adding vegetation. Placed near the entrance to your house, it will serve as a reception and set the tone. Enhanced in a corner of your garden, it will then become a focal point, a star element of your landscaping.
You can only use potted plants and hide them with moss or stones. You can also install ledges at your table to retain the soil or buy a prefabricated vegetable table and plant the plants directly on it.
Gone are the days when only a handful of materials, such as wood, stone, and concrete, were king in landscaping. In the last few years, the choice of landscaping materials has literally exploded. Colors, shapes and textures now vary almost endlessly. In addition, ecological materials, recycled or recovered, are more popular than ever.
Because of the many uses it is made of today, willow is more popular and appreciated than ever. Among other things, young willow branches are used to create fences and living sculptures. Some companies also make screens made from dead willow branches that are ideal for residential lots. These fences can be made of willow branches with bark, which looks country-style, or barked and whose look is more urban and contemporary. This type of screen can also be lined with a thick soundproofing which ensures a significant reduction in noise from streets and roads.
Recently developed in Quebec, recycled glass mulch is made from bottles and containers of finely crushed glass which gives it a texture resembling that of coarse sand. Its pale green color – reminiscent of pistachio – goes well with the plants and materials that generally make up the landscaping. This ecological material that is harmless to human health can be used as a covering for paths or as mulch in flower beds where plants are planted well adapted to heat and drought, such as stonecrop or perovskie.
Various types of ecological pavers have been developed and marketed in recent years. These include hollow core slabs and permeable pavers. Unlike typical concrete materials, hollow core slabs and permeable pavers – made from concrete or recycled plastic – allow rainwater to infiltrate the ground, preventing it from flowing onto the street and into sewers.
There are also eco-friendly pavers made from concrete with 20% to 30% glass powder (called Verrox) added from recycling glass containers and bottles. Without affecting the strength and durability of concrete, glass powder can replace a large portion of cement and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.