Note: This post discusses planning and building your square foot garden beds. If your beds are already constructed, go here for information about planning your square foot gardening layout.
As you choose a design and layout for your garden, there are several things to keep in mind:
- Sunlight–most plants need 8-12 hours of direct sunlight every day. So don’t put your garden on the shady side of the yard.
- Water–plants need water, and you don’t want to cart it around your yard. Be sure your garden will be reachable by hose, or near existing irrigation.
- Space–the garden will be no more than 4 feet deep, but can be as long as you choose. Leave at least 3 feet between garden beds.
- Proximity–put your garden beds somewhere you will walk by and see them often
- Bigger is not always better! Start small and add a new garden beds every year.
- For the first year I suggest you build and plant no more than 48 square feet. That is equal to: three 4×4 beds, one 4×12 bed, one 2×24 bed.
- The easiest to build is a long rectangle with access on all four sides.
- If you build near a fence, put the SHORT side of the garden against the fence
- If you have to build along a fence (with the LONG side against the fence), either build one narrow bed that is only 2 feet wide, or build several beds with spaces between each box.
Here are four different ways to configure 32 square feet of garden. Each is set in the corner of a yard with a fence on both sides. The first plan is 4′x4′, and sets the garden away from one fence, leaving a 3 foot pathway on both sides and between the gardens.
This 16′x2′ plan puts the garden right up against both fences. But since it cannot be accessed from the side, it can only be 2 feet wide. If it was any wider, there would be no way to reach the plants.
Next is an 8′x4′ plan. Notice it is 3 feet from the fence, giving access on 3 sides.
Finally, here is a “T’ design. It takes up the most space in the yard, but is also very attractive.