“Neat” Edible Front Yard: Knot Garden!

“Neat” Edible Front Yard: Knot Garden!

by / 12 Comments / 1590 View / March 20, 2008



Before: This architectural Tudor was not living up to it's potential!




After: Edible front yard knot garden, neat and delicious!


I think more people would trade in their front yard lawn for a beautiful and bountiful edible garden if the edible garden were neat looking.

No one wants to come home to a living "misto salad" where wayward zucchini vines tangle and topple over tomato plants!

A "knot garden" design is a great way to add structure to an edible garden and keep plants in their place.

Knot gardens were popular in Victorian times where hedges were clipped in interesting shapes to create artistic and intricate patterned garden beds.

Take a look at what Michael Glassman and I designed for homeowner, Susan Yackley who longed to replace her lawn with a gourmet garden!




The first step was to remove lawn, shape the garden beds and create a gravel walkway and sitting area.




We annexed the parkway to carry the knot garden design to the curb.




  We edged with pavers to punctuate the straight lines of the herb hedges and filled the beds with other  culinary plants.



The pavers will serve as a visual guide for keeping the hedges in their place.

The parkway plants can be shared with neighbors.




We planted two espaliered apple trees and constructed this lightweight fence to support them.

This created a "living screen" that  marks the boundary between Susan and her neighbors house. 




The knot garden is taking shape.




We installed drip irrigation and used risers to elevate the spray nozzles.




 We added a bench to the gravel sitting area.

Notice how the pattern on the bench brings out the diamond paned windows!

We added some design details and focal points.





An entry arbor planted with pink jasmine and Hardenbergia




A matching pair of "living salad bowls" flank the arched entry and serve as focal points in the garden beds.




The edible knot garden is complete!

The homeowner was very emotional when she saw the completed work.

She worked along side us for two days and earned the right to enjoy the "fruits of her labor."


Curious how it all ended up?

Watch this short video clip of the reveal.

Here is a list of some of the edibles Susan gets to enjoy and you can see photos of all the plants on my web site.




Trees  Features
Eugenia myrtifolia (three-tier topiary) White flowers, edible "cherries"
Apple  "Beverly Hills" for espalier Small fruit, early ripening date
Knot Garden Hedges  
Rosmarinus officianales  "Tuscan Blue" Use for cooking, medicinal tea  to  increase energy and improve memory
Myrtus compacta variegata Evergreen dwarf form. Fragrant for flower arrangement
Teucrium chamaedrys Attracts bees for pollinating your garden, lavender/pink flowers. Fragrant
Leptospermum scoparium "Gaiety Girl" (small accent trees) Evergreen with flowers, early New Z

    ealand settlers soaked leaves to make tea substitute.    

Leptospermum scoparium (shrub form)  
Lavandula stoechas "Quasti" Fragrant ,dark purple flowers, attracts butterflies.
Lavandula multifida Fragrant, grey-green foliage, deep blue flowers. Dry for potpourri, flavor water.
Salvia greggii "Lipstick" Aromatic folliage, attracts hummingbirds, use in cooking and sore throat gargle.
Armeria maritima "Cottontail" white Profuse white blooms extends all year in mild climates.
Chamomille nobile Essential oil for relaxing. Tea made from dried flowers
Thymus (Creeping Elfin Thyme) Used for seasoning, pot pourri
Mentha r. (Corsican Mint) Can be invasive. Use as aromatic filler between stepping stones
Strawberry "Sequoia" Large dark red fruit, sweet tasting, long fruiting season, good in most zones
Jasminum polyanthum (Pink Jasmine) Fragrant, evergreen, pink flowers late winter/early spring
Hardenbergia (Lilac vine) Evergreen, lilac blooms late winter/early spring. Nice alternative to wisteria
Garden Police "Urn Salad Bowl" Collection
White flowering cabbage Foliage is edible raw or cooked
Artichoke Edible
Viola (pansies) Flavoring
Mustard "Osaka purple"  
Swiss Chard "Brite Lites"  
Nastursium "Tip Top Alaska" Flowers, edible add to salad
Knot Garden Herbs  
Italian Basil Culinary herb, fresh or dry
Italian Parsley Culinary herb, in cold areas, plant in spring after last frost
Greek Oregano Culinary herb, use as ground cover, hanging baskets



If you want to read a very detailed account of this edible front yard makeover, read this blog post!

12 Comment

  1. […] yard? Imagine being able to pick veggies or herbs for dinner right from your front porch. Check out this amazing transformation from a grassy front yard, to an edible knot […]

  2. olive oils and other essential oils are very good for aromatherapy and for cooking too “

  3. I love your tutorial.
    The images are great and I think that
    I will try to recreate this garden front.
    and give the flower arrangement a go too.

    Thanks for sharing,
    This is great

  4. Michelle, appreciate the nod and thanks for dropping in.

    I understand the statement you made at GardenRant.com and must agree with your point. Edible gardens need some structure, (especially in the front yard) to be viable and presentable.
    When Michael and I designed this front edible garden we took into consideration that some plants may need to be replaced with time. The structure (hedges and edging) should take the garden through many seasons. In the long run, this should be the goal of any front yard garden. I could not imagine designing a front yard (edible or not) with all annual plants that need to be changed out every few months. Expensive! Not practical!

  5. Shirley,
    I think by now you know me as a straight shooter who has the background and experience to deliver a professional critique that isn’t about the person but about the work and design product.
    So here it comes. ….
    The design, the execution of the installation and the end product is beautifully rendered.
    Choosing a historically classical formal knot design theme to ‘marry’ with the Tudor style home was a well thought out response to the architecture.
    You brought the garden to the house and the house to the garden in a well presented narrative.

    You also ‘gave good bones’ . The styling of the landscape architecture by ways of the strong axial lines brings the architecture further into the garden.

    The plant choice is horticulturally sound and aesthetically pleasing.

    This is a front yard kitchen garden that will look beautiful 3, 5, 10 years and longer down the road.
    This is not fleeting ephemeral artistic expressionism , this is excellent functional design.

    Thank you for educating the public that a front yard potager garden can be both visually stunning and functionally productive.

    Very nice design and quality craftsmanship.

  6. Thx what a great example it can be done with design!
    pinching it for my blog with alink back
    Love to see more examples

  7. It was a great project for us. Our garden makeovers are the real deal and we prepare the planting areas just like we would in our real life projects. Don’t forget, these projects are all in Los Angeles- that is my professional stomping ground. It would be embarrassing if the jobs were not done to standard!

    So happy you liked the design.

  8. Shirley–do you see my mouth open and me drooling? You sure packed a lot of punch with this one. At the end of the video–she didn’t know what hit her. You can tell she’s in shock. There are so many wonderful elements to this design. I appreciate that you prepared her soil well before you started. This means she won’t be left with dead plants after you all leave. I can see that the design of the house inspired you. But you sure needed a lot of good history and knowledge to carry it out. Bravo!!

  9. Hi Cinj. Thanks for dropping by and for favoriting me at Blotancial. How is your “spring” coming along in your area?

    Lin, thanks for the compliment. Michael and I took into account the architectural detail of the house because it is so special and merited to be “played up” Good eye. I’m a big fan of raised beds for veggies myself and “square foot” gardening to get my highest yield.

    Ferne, I like your lettuce with bulbs idea. I’m with you, edible plants are beautiful and look great in the mixed garden. Thanks for the visit. Are you a nursery pro?

  10. This is fabulous! Sure beats lawns…can’t wait to see how this will look in a few years. I bet it will look great in just 6 months. I have been using vegetables in my flower beds for years and just started adding lettuces to pots of flowers. I did a lot of lettuces with pots of bulbs this year at the nursery and they all sold. I also add thyme. There are so many different colors that they are fun to work with and look great all spring here, especially if you keep harvesting them!

    I love your website! I’ve been a fan for a while and you never cease to surprise me.

  11. Very nice! Such a better use of a front yard! I like the way your design echoes and ties into the home’s design. The geometric “knot” layout mimics the roofline and the windows….the arbor the entry’s arch. Good flow!

    I grow herbs and hope to have a veggie garden someday. I will probably go with enclosed, raised beds since my area has fairly soil and too many hungry rabbits!

  12. Very neat idea! I like the looks of the yard. Great job!

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