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Grillscaping: Grow Food You Love in the Space You Enjoy

We’ve all heard the expression, “You are what you eat.”

Nowadays we also want to know more about the sourcing and production processes used to grow the vegetables and fruits that we consume. Are they organically grown? How far did they travel to get to me? One way to know the answers and have control over what you are eating is to grow it yourself. Grow your own and enjoy your garden when you start grillscaping!

An idea I developed on a recent trip to California for the California Spring Trials is something I will call grillscaping. Grillscaping is planting herbs, vegetables and flowers you can use in your meals and drinks right next to and around where your grill is located. But a bit of advice before you begin: start small and grow only the things you love and know you’ll use.

Container growing near your grill

Grillscaping with pollinator-friendly plants. is planting herbs, vegetables and flowers you can use in your meals and drinks right next to and around where your grill is located. - National Garden Bureau
Pollinator-friendly plants around the grill

The first step is planning your space. You have lots of options for growing, from using what you already have, such as containers, to repurposing items such as shipping pallets, to purchasing raised or elevated beds.

Don’t forget food for our pollinator friends too! Planting annual and perennial flowers around your grill and patio will keep the pollinators coming back to ensure veggies like cucumbers and squash mature properly.

Why not plant some herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage, mint, and whatever else you commonly use that you can pick right off the plant and add straight to the grill to spice up dinner? Or a beverage? Planted in containers around your grill makes it super easy and super fresh!  Check out these delicious herb-A-licious combinations from the Combination Page to try.

Repurpose shipping pallets for easy grillscaping

Pallet Planting for Grillscaping - Grillscaping is planting herbs, vegetables and flowers you can use in your meals and drinks right next to and around where your grill is located - National Garden Bureau
Pallets laid flat for planting

You can hide the nursery containers your plants came in right in the pallet by removing some of the pallet slats and placing the pots in the gaps.  Make sure your container is large enough to provide the water and nutrients the plants will need for the entire growing season and make sure the wood hasn’t been treated.  This is simple, shabby chic, repurposes and recycles, and you can change things out as you fancy!

Pallets can be laid on the ground, made into tables for growing, or even suspended in the air.

Raised and elevated beds are a perfect easy way to grillscape

Patio Garden- National Garden Bureau
VegTrug Patio Garden

Raised and elevated beds are a fantastic way to grow your plants, with countless options to choose from. You can build your own or choose from a variety of styles from retailers such as Gardener’s Supply, Garden Trends, Green Valley Supply, and Burpee Seed. A simple, low to the ground, raised bed drains better, warms up earlier and simply makes gardening easier. And an elevated bed has those advantages plus makes harvesting easy with no bending or kneeling required! Plus, elevated beds can be used to define your space, create seating areas, or even be a garden bar!

Pick dessert straight from your grillscaping

Delizz strawberry. Photo:

Are you starting to crave dessert?  How about sun-warmed strawberries straight off the plant?

A strawberry to grow, eat, and love is All-America Selections (AAS) Winner Delizz® which is especially suited as a trailing plant in a container. Since Delizz® is day-neutral, it blooms and produces berries all season long! It can also be grown from seed.

No matter your pleasure, there are vegetables, herbs, and fruits that you can easily grow and eat right in your own outdoor cooking and living space. You’ll know how they were cultivated from garden to table, and they won’t be traveling far from bed or container to your mouth!

Don’t delay, Grillscape today!

Grillscaping - Love your food, love your space - planting herbs, vegetables and flowers you can use in your meals and drinks right next to and around where your grill is located. - National Garden Bureau

Written by Mark Konlock, Director, Green Bay Botanical Garden, Green Bay WI, and adapted from a blog by the National Garden Bureau. Unless otherwise indicated, all photos are from the National Garden Bureau.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1 comment on “Grillscaping: Grow Food You Love in the Space You Enjoy

  1. Ah, it is so important to hide the nursery cans, not only because they are not visually appealing, but because they get uncomfortably warm if too exposed to sunlight. I prefer to remove everything from their cans and plant them directly, but if I had a prettier garden, I would leave some in cans so that I can remove them and put them in another part of the garden out of view while they are dormant or recovering from a hard pruning.

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