Designing a Garden Layout
The garden layout is essentially blueprint of how you want your overall garden to look and feel. A basic garden layout should designate where you want to have raised beds, pathway, containers, benches, etc. You will also need to designate which vegetables will be grown in each area. This can be a simple hand drawn layout, or you can enlist the help of a landscape designer to put together a detailed layout. Below we have listed some of the main considerations to think about when putting together a vegetable garden layout.
Raised Bed Layout
Raised beds are square or rectangular structures that have the ability to hold soil. There are several unique benefits to growing plants in a raised bed and it is often the best option for gardeners in small spaces, such as traditional suburbia. First, raised beds offer improved drainage, so if you have drainage issues raised beds can be a great option. Raised beds can also be used in uneven terrain. It is much easier to level out a raised bed than it is to level out an entire area. Not to mention, raised beds are often much more attractive than a garden at ground level. You can really get creative with the design of your garden with raised beds and there are literally endless design options limited only to your own creativity. You can add beds of all different sizes, colors, and even shapes.
Row Garden Layout
Gardening in rows is usually best in wide open areas, such as a flat lawn. We recommend that you have at least 100 square feet to work with when designing a row garden. This design is utilized by most commercial farms, as can be seen when driving through virtually any farm area. This design is used because it is by far the most efficient garden because it allows easy access for man and machine when work needs to be done. Tractors can easily access the rows for harvesting and maintenance. For most home gardeners this is not the best option, but it can if you are looking for high yields it’s the way to go.
If you live in an apartment or small space, container gardening is the way to go. There are many beautiful containers available that can add a great deal of character to your porch. The vegetable yields from containers will be fairly limited, but it will be enough to cook a few enjoyable meals.
Tips for Planning Pathways
Pathways in your garden should be both practical and aesthetically pleasing. You will need to make sure to allow enough space for you to move wheelbarrows, rototillers, and any other material through. It is essential that you have enough room in your garden pathways to water, fertilize, and pick weeds on a regular basis. Trying to work in a cramped space can be very frustrating and limit your ability to improve your garden in the future. At a very minimum, each pathway should be at least 12 inches wide, or ideally 18 to 24 inches. Think about the tools and equipment you will be pushing down the path and widen the pathways accordingly. Pathways can also be one of the defining features for the overall look of your garden. Consider adding crushed rock or back on the pathways to added another layer of beauty. You might also considering laying down a protective plastic barrier under your pathways to prevent the growth of weeds or other invasive plants.
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