"It's very cool to be able to go outside and pick something fresh for dinner," says Chris Spagnoli of her mostly edible garden in Santa Monica. Even cooler, we might add, when the veggies grow in neat garden boxes designed to look good all year.
When Spagnoli decided to replace her sloping front lawn with something less thirsty, space to tuck in a few culinary herbs was high on her wish list. But this avid cook’s landscape architect, Pamela Palmer, had another idea: Turn most of the yard into a vegetable garden stylish enough to take center stage by the entry.
Palmer designed five planter boxes, each about 6 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 1½ feet high, then had them built of smooth redwood. Small crops, such as lettuce, basil, and sage, grow in the centers of each bed, while covered storage space at the ends doubles as seating. Beige-gold gravel covers the ground; it’s easy to keep tidy with a rake.
Kitchen garden design tips
Give it structure A high-visibility veggie garden (in a front yard or near a patio) needs to look tidy all year. Compensate for bare spots and gangly growth by providing structure, as the evenly spaced beds do here.
Hide the hardware Add covered storage bins at the ends of the raised beds, as shown. That way, you can keep your hose, tools, and soil amendments hidden yet close at hand.
Plant for looks Incorporate edibles that last more than one season, such as sage and artichokes; they’ll carry the show after your annual crops fade. Arrange smaller crops in rows by color and type.
Design Pamela Palmer, Artecho, Venice, CA (310/399-4794)