As edible landscaping continues to become more mainstream, more farm-to-table systems are being introduced to draw in consumers.
Communities that offer backyard gardens and urban farms as part of the neighborhood are known as agrihoods and are proving to be lucrative for builders and developers wanting to attract home buyers.
Farmscape, based in Los Angeles, California, is one of the companies that is leading the way with this urban farming trend. It is currently working on 15 agrihoods that are in various stages of development, including some multifamily projects like apartment complexes.
“All our projects start with the design, and we take into account the architecture, branding and community demographics as well as the microclimate,” Lara Hermanson, co-founder of Farmscape, told BUILDER.
Farmscape works to educate city councils and community members during the entitlement process and then helps install the project. It then works the HOA or apartment management team to schedule maintenance. After all that is settled, it offers opportunities for the community to volunteer and work in the soil as well.
A small agrihood consisting of eight to 10 raised beds, six orchard trees and mulching starts around $20,000 and only goes up from there as the size and complexity is increased.
“Good landscaping and maintenance can add around seven percent to a commercial or residential property,” Hermanson said. “Excellent landscaping, such as Farmscape’s gardens, can increase the value up to 28 percent. Agrihoods also have ancillary benefit of creating a sense of place for communities, increasing resident well-being and enhancing pride of ownership.”
Farmscape has currently installed over 600 urban farms to date and maintains more than 250 of those locations.
The smaller agrihoods can be designed to fit 500 square feet while large agrihoods can take up several acres of land.
“We design each project to match the neighborhood and the future residents,” Hermanson said.
As more developers start to include edible landscaping as part of their construction it can be expected that homeowners will look for guidance and this is where other landscaping companies can step in and bridge the gap.
“Most households have two working adults, who don’t have a lot of downtime for gardening,” Hermanson said. “Coming home to an awesome vegetable garden, that they don’t have to work themselves, is a great perk.”