More Food, Less Lawn – Save Money with an Edible Landscaping Plan

From Rosalind Creasy

4/2/09 Ukiah, North California

Who says money doesn’t grow on trees? Homeowners expect their yards to cost them money. Few ever consider the possibility that instead of costing money, a yard actually can help save money.

The average yard in this country consumes money in three major ways. First, hundreds of dollars are wasted because few yards are planned to take advantage of solar heating or basic cooling techniques for the house. Second, yards that have large lawns, particularly in the arid West, where constant watering is necessary, often have high maintenance costs. And, finally, few yards are designed to cut food and gift-giving expenses.

Heating and cooling experts estimate that up to 20 percent of air-conditioning bills and 20 to 30 percent of heating bills for residences can be cut by proper placement of landscaping elements. The larger your yard, the more savings you can realize by strategically placing trees and shrubs. Well-placed evergreen shrubs and trees help cut down the effects of winter winds against the house; by removing evergreen shrubs and trees near the south-facing wall, the homeowner allows the winter sun to warm the wall. Conversely, in the summer, deciduous trees, shrubs, and vines can shade the south and west walls, preventing the heat from building up in the house.

Lawn, the Great Money Sink

I’ve seen it happen time and time again. People who are on a tight budget think they cannot afford to spend a lot of money on the landscaping; so they go to the nursery, buy a package of grass seed, and turn most of their yard into a large lawn. There are few things you can do, particularly in the West, that will cost you more over the long run. A lawn will nickel and dime you to death. Lawn mower, gas for the mower, lawn-mower maintenance, edger, water, sprinkler repairs, fertilizer, herbicides, fungicides, vacation maintenance: all for just a humdrum lawn. And a show-place lawn can cost you many hundreds of dollars a year. A well-maintained lawn needs to be aerated, thatched, reseeded, and top dressed every year. All of those expenses are just the tip of the iceberg. They don’t even take into account that the lawn area could be covered with money-saving plants that would provide food for the table.

Keep reading More Food, Less Lawn at

“Faced with the real threat of climate change, economic decline and peak oil (the point when cheap and abundant oil ends) they’re ripping up their grass lawns for edible gardens, installing rainwater collection barrels under roof gutters, and forming coalitions to transition their communities to a local and low-energy lifestyle.

See also Life After Oil at Whole Life Times

“As we hit climate chaos, as we hit peak oil, assuming that you can get your food from far away and use fossil-fuel-intensive systems to produce food is totally not sustainable. Bringing food security close to home will have to be the project of the future.”

…and Vandana Shiva interview at
Thanks to Energy Bulletin

One Comment

Thanks for such an informative blog. I am so happy Ukiah and Willits are taking action!
Noyo Food Forest