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Veg beds at front - how to make them attractive

Picture this 50's ex-council house in tiny rural village. Majority of garden at the front of house. Stood on road looking at my house the drive is Tarmac type and runs full length to the house on the left. The right is all lawn. One circular flower bed in the middle, a newly cut bed infront of the house and a tiny tiny corner bed on the very edge of the grass where you pull on to the drive. My partner really wants veg at the front but with low fences and open frontage how do we make this look attractive even in bleak months. The soil is terribly heavy clay and no hope of turning it, so we would have to think of raised beds. Any ideas suggestions or pictures, also has anyone done this, any ideas on cost!?


  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,817

    Will hopefully send a picture of neighbours tomorrow. WE have clay and 50's ex-MOD houses. They have a small but productive front veg garden that has been going for about 2 1/2 years

    Most of us veg garden on raised beds about 30cm high

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    Hi Red Dahlia, you could try emulating the French potager style.  For early in the year you could grow lettuces which come in a wide range of colours and by arranging them in patterns they can look very attractive, perhaps interspersed with beetroot, with its red veined leaves.  Swiss chard comes in a few bright colours, the most common being a red one (ruby chard) and one called bright yellow.  You can sow chard both early and quite late with a late sowing often surviving through the winter.  Savoy cabbages (mid green through to dark blue/green) planted in a pattern could look good all winter.  For summer, try coloured cauliflowers.  You could even plant espaliered fruit trees (typically apples) acting as low fences to separate the beds.  The best thing is you can eat everything (unlike some real French potager gardens where they never actually eat the stuff - that attitude doesn't have any place in my garden!)  The above are just a few of the possibilites which come to mind.  There are lots of veg which can be grown for their attractive look, as well as for food.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • clogherheadclogherhead Posts: 506

    It was much to late last night when I came across your post to write something , I bought a book last year in Aldi I think it was under €4 , and as Bob says The Potager may be the way to go I have taken some pictures from the book and set below to give you some Idea.........








     I hope this give's you some Ideas


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,009

    Mixing veg and other purely decorative plants in a formal pattern could look good also- best of both worlds and means you can use whole plot successfully- box balls to frame/no grass perhaps?? The espaliered fruit trees are a great idea Bob. Totally agree with you re the French potager thing! It's a bit soul destroying the way they don't eat it!image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,151

    A few years ago when we lived in an inner-city terrace and had a small front garden not much bigger than a large dining table, we planted a small plum tree in the middle, ruby chard around the edge and filled the middle with a mixture of broad beans and wallflowers - it looke gorgeous and was productive, and attracted lots of pollinating insects too image

    After the broadbeans and wallflowers we sowed salad leaves and nasturtiums (I like nasturtium leaves with salami in a sandwich).

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619
    I'd recommend you have a look at Joy Larkcom's 'Creative Vegetable Garden' / Alys Fowler's 'The Edible Garden/ Sarah Raven's 'The Great Vegetable Plot'. they're all full of inspiring ideas for decorative and productive veg growing.
  • Wow lots of research to get on with. Was wondering about oak raised beds and then some low fencing like willow or something maybe to keep it kind of enclosed. Any ideas in the structural side?? Funny enough I think veg is pretty but it's those bare winter months that worry me. And also the wind cuts through the frontage terribly! As we are on a hill. image
  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619

    Might be worth thinking of erecting/growing some sort of windbreak if the plot's that exposed.


  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    How about some photos of the front garden; it would help people to give you advice.image

  • Andy19Andy19 Posts: 671

    Plant some low shrubs round the outside to break the wind and give you some colour.

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