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Casa Verde: Edible Estates

Got a big yard? Edible Estates wants to put it to good use. Founded by an architect named Fritz Haeg, the non-profit initiative remakes lawns into food-producing gardens. His reasoning: Front yards suck up precious amounts of water — not to mention work — but typically are used purely for decoration. He's already completed projects in Los Angeles and New Jersey, and he is about to embark on his fifth lawn makeover, in Austin, TX.

Haeg isn't out to transform every American yard. He sees the Edible Estates project as both statement-making art and a good deed. However, he hopes to encourage homeowners to start their own yard farms: The winners of his Edible Estates challenge 2007 will be featured in Haeg's book coming out next year.

True, growing your own fruits and veggies is a lot of work, but so is keeping up a giant, just-for-show yard. Plus, this way, you get to eat the bounty. What do you guys think of this idea?

designergirl designergirl 10 years
Lawns are pretty pointless. I live in Austin, where water can be limited, since we get it from aquifers, so I have a nutural yard. No green grass, just gravel and grasses that can survive during very dry summers. I also grow a few things and have a big herb garden. It's great for cooking!
emma- emma- 10 years
Great idea. I would love to fill my yard with edible plants and fruitbearing trees.
buch1979 buch1979 10 years
I love the idea I just don't think the hoa hags would go for it. One of them already complained about wayward tomato tendrils leaking into the common way our back yard borders.
Reebs_RI Reebs_RI 10 years
I agree quite completely. I would LOVE to do this but I live in a condo in a city right now. Maybe next summer I can talk my neighbors into raised beds in the back.
ktacce ktacce 10 years
there is this huuuuge mansion in southpark in Charlotte and the lawn is just redic huge... and just plain, flat, basic, green grass. you could SERIOUSLY have an entire concert on the lawn it is so huge. all this weekend i've been thinking about what i'd do with that lawn if i had it, and the solution is RIGHT HERE - i'd allow them to make my lawn edible and gorgeous. and maybe put a bush maze in it for fun!
shulvrkrp shulvrkrp 10 years
I think it's a fantastic idea! Why not? I agree with Rubialala though, I would think pets would pee on the garden! And depending on where you live, I would be afraid that neighbors might help themselves...
ALSW ALSW 10 years
I personally would love to have a small garden, but I want room to play, put up a swing set and whatnot. But I like the idea of instead of big, showy gardens, having delicious fruits and vegetables growing.
vienvien vienvien 10 years
It's a great idea if you don't have a garden. Our house where I grew up , has a front yard filled w/ rose garden and orchid garden. My mother is a greenthumb. Those gardens gave us extra money because neighbors and friends would like to buy the flowers. In our backyard , we have another garden--filled w/ fruit trees and vegetable garden. Several furits like mango, guavas and santol and vegetables like cabbage, tomatoes, squash and potatoes
jennifer76 jennifer76 10 years
I think it's a great idea if you don't use your yard. My kids play on the front yard all the time - along with a lot of the other kids in the neighborhood. In the backyard, they play by themselves. Out front, other kids see them and come over too. I totally agree with MissLee82. I love seeing the neighborhood congregating out front instead of all isolated in their own backyards.
ziggy ziggy 10 years
I love this idea. I don't have much of a usuable lawn in the front and grass barely grows, but weeds THRIVE! I've considered getting rid of our grass/weed mix and planting grapes since it's the only thing I think might grow. Now I'm further inspired :)
Pokemyhontas Pokemyhontas 10 years
I'm about to plant cactus in my yard, since I can't keep a lawn alive!
beingtazim beingtazim 10 years
i love this - people waste so much water on their yards and i never see anyone actually using them - how can you really? don't kids play in the backyard? i always thought that'd be safer and further away from car exhaust fumes and such. on a side note: having vegetation/vegetables is great in the front lawn as it "filters" the exhaust etc from the street rather than it going into the house. hedges are good for this reason. i love seeing houses etc which are more flush with the sidewalk and just have a bit of hedging or a porch rather than tons of room which is wasted.
Victoria225 Victoria225 10 years
I love the idea. I can't keep my front yard alive now, I can't imagine it would be any easier if it were edible.
Choco-cat Choco-cat 10 years
I guess I didn't read this to imply that your entire front lawn had to be turned into an edible garden, but perhaps the gardens typically full of flowers or bushes, while pretty, could go towards food producing. I think it's a fantastic idea and I hope it catches on.
MissLee82 MissLee82 10 years
I have to agree with Redegg. When I was a child we always had a nice front yard, and that's were me & my sisters & neighborhood friends would always hang out and play. I think that homes should bring back the front porch, front yards, and try to build back neighborhoods. Although, we just moved to Vegas and our house does not have any grass in the front yard. Which I have to admit I am a little happy about because that means a smaller water bill. :)
laurafox laurafox 10 years
Fabulous! I love it! We need more people like this fellow on our planet!
rubialala rubialala 10 years
I think it's a good idea. I wonder though, wouldn't you have to fence off your yard so that nobody would let their dog urinate in your veggie garden or something?
redegg redegg 10 years
Is there anything else we can be made to feel guilty about? Yards are not shameful. They are great for kids to get to play in if you are lucky enough to have one and for adults to enjoy as well. Now gardening is bad? I can see doing a small vegetable plot but I would never turn my entire yard space into a vegetable garden and give up all of my freetime as well just to tend it. It would use many more resources than a yard with the number of plants, fertilizer, extra soil, water use daily, etc. Households are not meant to be independently sustainable.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 10 years
This is a really great idea. Lawns are pointless and kinda ugly if you ask me. We should all be doing something like this. I want a huge garden like this anyway
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