How to Add Edible Plants and Trees to Your Landscape

Incorporating edible plants and trees into your landscape is a great way to not only enhance the beauty of your outdoor space but also provide you with fresh, organic produce right from your own backyard. Whether you have a large yard or a small balcony, there are many different types of edible plants and trees that can thrive in a variety of settings. Here are some tips and ideas to get started with incorporating edible plants and trees into your landscape.

Plan Your Space

Before you start any kind of planting, it’s important to assess your space and determine which types of plants will work best. Decide which areas of your yard you want to dedicate to edible plants and trees. Consider the amount of sunlight each area receives and choose plants that will thrive in those conditions. Make sure to leave enough space between plants for them to grow and spread out.

If you have a large yard, you may want to consider planting fruit trees such as apple, pear, peach, and cherry. These trees can serve the dual purpose of providing delicious fruit, but also add shade and beauty to your landscape. If you have limited space, you may want to consider growing herbs and vegetables in containers. This puts fresh herbs and vegetables at your fingertips, even if you don’t have a large yard. Some great herbs to grow in containers include basil, thyme, oregano, and parsley. Vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers can also be grown in containers with proper care.

Choose the Right Plants

When choosing edible plants and trees, it’s important to consider your climate and the type of soil you have. Some plants thrive in cooler climates, while others do better in warmer weather. Make sure to choose plants that are well-suited to your area. Some examples of edible plants and trees include tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, apple trees, and pear trees.

Consider Aesthetic Appeal

Incorporating edible plants and trees into your landscape doesn’t mean sacrificing aesthetic appeal. There are many edible plants and trees that are not only delicious but also beautiful. For example, lavender is a popular herb that not only smells great but also adds a lovely pop of purple to your garden. Other edible flowers like marigolds, nasturtiums, and pansies can also add a colorful touch.

Think About Seasonal Harvests

When planning your edible landscape, think about the timing of when your plants will be ready to harvest. Planting a mix of edible plants that mature at different times can help ensure a consistent harvest throughout the growing season. For example, planting early-maturing plants like lettuce and radishes alongside later-maturing plants like tomatoes and peppers can help ensure that you have fresh produce throughout the summer.

Include Edible Shrubs

Shrubs, like blueberry bushes and raspberry canes, are a great addition to any edible landscape. These plants are relatively low-maintenance and can be grown in containers or in the ground. They also provide a delicious and healthy snack for you and your family! When choosing edible shrubs, make sure to consider their size at maturity and select a variety that is well-suited to our Wisconsin climate.

Create a Garden Bed Dedicated to Edible Plants

Creating a dedicated garden bed for your edible plants and trees can help keep them organized and easy to maintain. Raised garden beds are a great option because they provide good drainage and can help keep weeds and pests at bay. When creating your garden bed, make sure to use good-quality soil and consider adding a layer of mulch to help retain moisture.

Pro Tip! Many pests such as aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies can damage or kill your edible plants. However, there are many natural pest control methods that can be used to keep your edible plants healthy. For example, ladybugs and praying mantises are natural predators of many garden pests and can be purchased and released in your yard. Additionally, companion planting, which involves planting certain plants together that complement each other and repel pests, can also be effective in controlling pests.

Establishing edible plants and trees in your landscape is a great way to create a beautiful, functional outdoor space. By selecting the right plants, providing proper care, and utilizing natural pest control methods, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest and a beautiful landscape.

Let our experts guide you in assessing your space and choosing the perfect edible trees, shrubs, and plants to incorporate into your landscape. Contact us today!

Plants to Attract Birds in Winter

We went to the experts for their favorite selection of plants that attract birds in winter. Here are a few ideas you can consider for your own landscape to draw our feathered friends to your yard!

Sparrow eating black chokeberryRyan and John both suggest chokeberry. Older varieties were often large and unruly, but the newer cultivars are smaller and tame. Ground Hug, Low Scape Mound and Low Scape Hedger are three varieties that fit well in the suburban landscape. They are native cultivars and birds love the berries over the winter. Depending on the chokeberry variety you select, the berries will be red or black. If you need more convincing that this plant is a winner, they also deliver flowers that attractive native pollinators and they give your landscape a fabulous pop of fall color. If you’re a bird watcher, chokeberry is a must have in your winter landscape. Watch for cedar waxwings, chickadees and cardinals to visit your shrubs.

Cedar Waxwing Eating Berries

Steve loves to use crabapples trees to attract birds. Crabapples once had a bad reputation because they would drop their fruit and often get fungal diseases. The newer varieties on the market hold their fruit through the winter and are more disease resistant than ever. Cedar waxwings and robins are common visitors to the trees and they rely on them for food as they migrate back in the spring. Best of all, the flowers put on a show every spring and are an important food source for pollinators in the spring.

Finch on Coneflower

Left undisturbed in the garden, the seedheads of various perennials and ornamental grasses provide sustenance for many birds in winter. Wendy likes to leave specific perennials up in the garden over winter to attract birds. Native grasses like little bluestem and native coneflowers and rudbeckias are favorites for seed-collecting birds. Finches, juncos, grosbeaks, and cardinals all enjoy visiting these plants over winter.

Katie Jean takes the novel approach of repurposing annuals left in the garden to help attract birds in winter. Sunflowers, amaranth, tithonia & zinnia are some favorites of the birds. You can either leave them up in your garden beds or gather the stems into a bouquet and attach it to a tree or post in your garden. Clever! These types of seeds are a particular favorite of finches, chickadees and juncos.

To attract a wide variety of birds, we recommend having multiple food sources available to entice whomever might be wintering nearby. A source of water and a nearby evergreen for protection will make your yard the perfect hangout for your feathered friends! And don’t be discouraged if you don’t have immediate sightings. It might take a little time for the birds to find your new plants, but keep an eye out and soon you will see them gathering in the haven you provided!

Our experts are ready to help with all your landscaping needs. Get in touch!

Download Fall Landscaping Checklist

Fall is a perfect time to set your landscape up for success in spring and summer. Follow this guide for our top tips on how to care for your flowers, lawn, trees and shrubs in fall.

Download Checklist


  • Divide & transplant perennials (while ground temperatures are still warm)
    Cut the tops and stems down to a few inches above the crown at the base of each plant. Once you’re done, make sure you rake the beds and dispose of dead plant material so your garden still looks fresh during the winter months.
    Note: leaving a few inches of plant material and mulching above the crown is better for the plants. If any critters decide to nibble over the winter, they’ll eat the few inches above the crown instead of eating the crown and killing the plant.
  • Plant fall bulbs (before the ground freezes)
    When you plant your bulbs, unless the label says differently, plant the bigger bulbs 8” deep and the smaller bulbs at 5”. Place the bulb in the hole with the roots facing down. Once planted, cover the hole with soil but don’t pack it. Water it once. Read our guide on planting fall bulbs.
  • Clear leaves from flower beds
  • Treat perennial weeds with herbicide
    Spray perennial weeds (bindweed, creeping Jenny, clover, etc.) before the first freeze to allow the weeds to take in the herbicide and prevent a weedy garden in spring.


  • Aerate your lawn – fall is the best time! The benefits are numerous:
    • Improve air exchange between the soil and atmosphere.
    • Enhance soil water and fertilizer uptake.
    • Reduce water runoff and puddling.
    • Strengthen turf grass roots.
    • Reduce soil compaction.
  • Fertilize your lawn
    Apply before the first freeze to ensure it looks its best come warmer weather.
  • Clear leaves from lawn
    Mulching the leaves helps return nutrients to the soil. If that’s not an option for you, raking the leaves and keeping your lawn clear of debris can prevent your lawn from being smothered and stunting new grass growth.


  • Continue watering trees and shrubs until the first frost
  • Protect your trees & shrubs
    Wrap trees up to the lower branches using hardware cloth or tree wrap to prevent damage from deer rubbing. Cage small trees and shrubs in hardware cloth to prevent rabbit/rodent damage. Be sure to bury the cloth 2-3” beneath the surface.
  • Do NOT prune evergreens until spring
  • Remove leaves from under diseased plants and trees
    If your tree/shrub had a disease issue, such as apple scab, powdery mildew, tar spot, etc., disposing of the diseased leaves will help prevent a recurrence next year.

Note: do not compost diseased leaves.

Prevention is best, so consider getting on a spray program

  • Fertilize your trees and shrubs
    Fertilizing in fall encourages root growth by restoring nutrients to the soil and allows for lush, healthy growth and flowering the following season.