8 Categories of Edible Landscaping Plants to Transform Your Backyard

Edible plants for landscaping can be as beautiful as ornamental plants. Some edible plants may even be growing in your own backyard. Finding fruits, vegetables and herbs that can survive outdoors is the real challenge. Animals, such as rabbits and deer are the greatest threat to edible plants. There are some plants that you can grow in your garden without having to worry about critters. They will also add to the aesthetic appeal of your landscape.

Eight groups of edible landscaping plants for your garden


Artichoke with flower buds

Even if they are not edible, artichokes and cards would make a beautiful addition to any landscape. The plants can grow up to 3 to 6 feet high and 4 to 5-feet wide, with silver-green foliage and their famous edible flower buds.

The prickly foliage is not a favorite of most animals. As long as they are at least a few feet above the ground, no one should be able to touch the flowers.


Green beans growing

Animals prefer the leaves of bean plants over their pods. You can get around this by growing pole varieties in flower border and wrapping the bottom of the plants with wire. Other plants around the beans will help cover the chicken wire.

Pole beans can be trellised to increase the height of your garden. Bean flowers are as beautiful as the annual flowering vines. They also grow much faster. Grow a colorful bean variety such as Long Red Noodle Beans or Dragon Tongue if you want to add more ornamental value.


On the plant, eggplants ripening their fruits

As they grow, eggplants will add a stunning pop of deep violet to your garden. The flowers of eggplants are usually white or purple, while the fruits may have a white, pink or lavender tint.
The majority of four-footed creatures avoid eggplants. The plants can be susceptible to insect pests which are also common to plants of the nightshade, like tomatoes. Plant your eggplants far away from nightshade plants in order to prevent pests spreading.


Onions, garlic, and Chives
Onions growing from the ground

Pest problems are rare with allium species, including onions, garlic and chives. Deer and rodents tend to avoid these plants. There are insecticides that can help control thrips, but there are also resistant varieties.

The majority of these plants grow low to the earth. They can fill up space nicely with their vibrant green foliage. They can also protect nearby plants by deterring hungry animals.


Bell peppers growing on plant

Many edible pepper species are sold as ornamentals, including hot peppers. As they mature, the fruits add interesting pops to color to landscapes as they change from green, orange, or yellow. Some fruits even change to white or chocolate.

Planting peppers in a landscape is similar to growing beans. The leaves are more attractive than the fruit. The young transplants are particularly vulnerable. Once the stems become tougher, damage is minimal. Wait until the plants are 6 inches tall to plant them out in the open.


Perennial Herbs
mix of green herbs

Animals are attracted to biennial and annual herbs such as basil, parsley, and cilantro. Woodier perennial herbs such as sage oregano thyme lemongrass rosemary lavender and lavender are better for the garden. The mint plant is also pest-free.

Their flowers can add visual interest to the garden and provide texture. Some are good groundcover plants. They will also send you wafts from their aromatic leaves.


Edible Flowers
Purple, white and yellow flowers are edible.

It’s best to eat edible flowers as soon as possible after picking them. It’s logical that you should grow edible flowers rather than buy them. The plants add as much beauty to your garden as flowers, and they are also great for salads, desserts, and drinks.

Begonias are a great option, as well as borage, chamomiles, elderflowers and lavender. Mark your edible flowers so that you can distinguish them from ornamental flowers.


Fruit Trees, Berries, and Nuts
Blueberries Growing

Fruit trees, nuts and berries may be attractive to wildlife but there are usually plenty of plants to go around. You can often deter animals by simply using some protection such as netting.

They are easy to maintain, requiring only some trimming and feeding. And they can be used for several seasons. Imagine the impact of a bush covered in white flowers in spring, with dusky purple berries during the summer and vibrant red leaves in fall.

Are Lawn Weeds Edible?
Many people mistakenly label some plants as weeds, but they are edible. Their weedy nature means that they will spread quickly, so you should consider this before planting them.

Dandelions, red clovers, lamb’squarters, and wild Violets are all edible weeds. You can add them to salads or soups. Or steep them for tea.

Animal Magnets: Caution
Some plants are too tasty for animals to resist. Avoid using edible plants from the following three categories:

Plant any Brassica in the open to attract all the hungry animals in the forest. Salad greens aren’t much better. It’s odd that rabbits don’t usually gravitate towards the lettuce. Deer and groundhogs are the ones that gravitate toward lettuce.

It is possible to use corn as an ornamental grass. Unfortunately, squirrels or raccoons will climb up the corn stalks to eat the cobs. They will even bend the corn stalks to the ground. Planting corn in multiple rows is the best way to get it to grow. This doesn’t work in most backyards.

Pea pods and young tendrils tend to attract all sorts of wildlife. Interplanting peas with plants that are more animal repellent, like lavender or onions, can help you hide them. It might work if the wildlife has other tasty foods in the area.

Do not treat food that you intend to eat.
Avoid commercial pesticides and weed killers if you want to grow edibles in your garden alongside ornamentals. These pesticides and herbicides are often made with chemicals that people shouldn’t consume. Use organic fertilizer marked as safe for edible plants. Avoid compost that was made from plants treated with chemicals.