Cappers Farmer Blogs > Homespun Life in the City

Front Yard Gardening

Erin SheehanOur entire back yard is a vegetable garden and we have a community garden plot, so when we wanted to expand our food growing this year we were sort of at a loss as to where to go.

Short of asking neighbors if we could rototill up their lawn and plant a garden, we didn't have a lot of options.


Jim had the idea of putting in two raised beds in our front yard. We looked into the zoning in our neighborhood and it appeared that raised beds probably aren't allowed because you can't put a permanent structure or certain kinds of fence in the front. But we decided to go ahead and build them anyway and hope for the best. They measure 8' x 4' and have added about 60 square feet to our cultivated land, bringing us up to about 1,800 square feet of vegetable garden space.

Jim bought cedar to make the boxes and put them together in the spring. He had dirt and compost delivered from a local company and spent a morning in the rain moving dirt from the driveway to the boxes. Neighbors and passersby were quite curious about what we were doing. I think maybe some were a bit skeptical, but no more now that we're harvesting!

Raised Beds

Raised Beds Building

Raised Beds Done

We planted a little of everything in the boxes: carrots, tomato, peppers, beets, Swiss chard, cabbage, pak choi, eggplant, potatoes, beans, cucumber, broccoli, onions, dill, and basil. We wanted it to be a sampler to help teach people who walk by our house a little about growing food. It's been pretty fun to walk out to the front yard in my slippers and pick something for dinner, too!

Raised Beds Planted

Raised Beds 2

We've had a lot of fun showing off the front yard garden to friends and neighbors. One day a police car pulled up outside of our house and started asking Jim about what he was growing. Turns out the officer is a gardener who had heard from another officer about our front yard boxes. He ended up getting a full tour of our front and back yard gardens and talking gardening with Jim for about a half an hour!

Raised Beds Both Full

If you are in an urban area and have a sunny front yard, I hope you will consider putting in a front yard garden. It's well worth the effort.