Food and Vegetable Gardens Growing as Green Alternative to Traditional Lawns

Survey shows landscape architects replacing grass to reduce maintenance time, utility costs


Washington, DC, March 4, 2009 — Gardens for home grown food have remained an integral part of American homesteads from the early pioneers to World War II Victory Gardens. However, a new survey shows that food gardens have reemerged as a new technique to increase the sustainability of a home. Nearly one in five (19.3%) residential landscape architects is replacing part or all of traditional grass lawns with food/vegetable gardens, according to a survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

“Not only do you benefit from fresh produce, but these gardens offer lower maintenance time and utility costs compared to turf grass while substantially increasing the sustainability of a home,” said ASLA President Angela Dye, FASLA. “Plus, there’s nothing more convenient or sustainable than home-grown food.”

Food gardens can be easy, rewarding and sustainable. For starters, don’t spend a dime on mulch when you can reuse your leftover leaves from the fall. Additionally, grass clippings from other parts of your yard make an excellent weed suppressant.

Many classic vegetables like tomatoes require starting from seeds (start now if you plan on using seed-based vegetables). However, perennial plants offer a lower-maintenance alternative and come back every year. Some great examples include asparagus – especially the purple passion variety, with 20 percent more sugar than regular varieties – as well as blueberry bushes, blackberries and rhubarb.

Herbs can make for an especially sustainable food garden, as many prefer hot and dry areas of your yard with chives, sage or tarragon returning every year. A great idea is to explore the many varieties of mint like chocolate, marshmallow and fruit salad, which carry flavors that match their names.

Food gardens are one of many ways landscape architects can create a more sustainable, low-maintenance alternative to expansive grass lawns for homeowners. For more information, visit .


Karen T. Grajales
Manager, Public Relations 
tel: 1-202-216-2371