Book Review: The Edible Front Yard

The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden
by Ivette Soler

214 pages
Timber Press, 2011
List Price: $19.95

I’ve often wished I had a smaller yard. We live on an acre and while I’m doing my best to fill it up, it’s not likely to happen in my lifetime or on our combined incomes. But I found many of the ideas in The Edible Front Yard to be quite adaptable to larger spaces as well as the smaller ones. Soler uses basic design principles that can be used in any garden – front, side, or back.

Front yard gardens are on the rise, but actually taking the steps to make it happen can be daunting. Ivette Soler leads you through the process by giving creative suggestions as to how to do it without making your home look like an unkempt allotment. Though the book is written with a focus on urban front-yard gardens (her language indicates this), she addresses the concerns that gardeners of all kinds have, when considering making the change from grass to groceries.

Heavily-laden with quality photography that is as inspiring as the text, we’re given plant choices, hardscaping suggestions, and detailed steps on how to get from here to there. I like that she’s especially sensitive to the issue of neighborhood, urging gardeners to consider this as well as your home’s basic style when creating your garden.

But this isn’t written with the tone of an instructional textbook. Oh no…not with Ivette Soler behind the pen. If you’ve ever run into her, in person or online, you’ll know that mundane, ho-hum communication is not her style. Who else do you know that describes a lettuce seed-head as a “powdery wig?”

Oh, and whatever you do, don’t miss page 152.

Ivette Soler is a garden designer and writer living in Los Angeles, California. Her plant design work for Elysian Landscapes, and her own personal garden, have appeared in magazines such as Metropolitan Home, Sunset, and House & Garden, as well as in several books.

Ivette’s garden writing has been featured in Garden Design, Cottage Living, and Budget Living, and she was the resident gardening expert on NBC’s The Bonnie Hunt Show. Her popular gardening blog, The Germinatrix, originated in 2006 as a part of Domino magazine; since 2009, Ivette’s blog has been thriving independently.

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