Edible plants can be an interesting part of a commercial landscape design, but they aren't right for every space. Thinking about adding edible plants? Answer these questions first to determine if they are right for your landscaping design:
1. Do you want people to engage with your landscaping?
If you want to keep people away from your landscaping, edible plants may not be right for your situation. Instead, you may want to opt for a more traditional landscaping style that is designed to be looked at. In contrast, if you want people to engage in your landscaping, edible plants may be something to consider.
For example, if you are designing commercial landscaping for an office building, do you want the workers to be able to grab a piece of fruit and take a break in your landscaping? Similarly, do you want the landscaping to naturally invite in passersby?
2. Are there fruit-producing shrubs or trees that grow well in your area?
When choosing edible plants for commercial landscaping, you typically want to explore shrubs and trees. These plants don't require as much care as vegetables that grow annually such as beans or tomatoes.
A range of food-producing trees including apple, almond, apricot and fig trees grow well in Australia, but their success may depend on the exact climate in your area. To determine if edible plants will work for your commercial landscaping design, you need to find out which ones grow in your area, and then, decide if you like how those plants look.
3. Do you have areas large enough to accommodate fruit falling from trees?
If you want to make fruit trees part of your commercial landscaping, you need to keep in mind that their fruits may fall from them if they become overripe or in the midst of strong winds. Ideally, you don't want the fruit to fall onto walkways or parking areas and create a mess.
Luckily, you can avoid that if you have a large enough area for the tree. That way, the fruit can fall into mulch or grass where it can naturally break down into the ground.
4. Can you create a plan to deal with excess food?
If you ultimately decide to include a lot of edible plants in your commercial landscaping, you need to make a plan to deal with all of the food you produce. In many cases, employees, passersby, clients, customers and others can easily eat all of the food your plants produce. However, in other cases, you may have a lot of leftovers.
Before putting in edible plants, make sure you can create a plan to deal with excess food. Is there a food bank to which you can donate the food? Can a nearby homeless shelter take the food? If you cannot create a plan to deal with the food, you may want to opt for plants that don't produce food. For more information, talk to a commercial landscaper.