It doesn't matter if you're an expert at garden design or just planning your first organic garden- the same rules apply: anyone who wants to have a thriving, successful, organic garden needs to follow these same basic guidelines.
First Thing's First: It's Not A Beauty Pageant
I've seen too many people place their organic garden in a spot of their yard because it “looks the prettiest". . . while completely forgetting that area was right in the middle of the only path for their truck to drive onto the property!
That's the first thing you need to think about when planning your organic garden: accessibility.
Remember to think about how people (and vehicles!) need to move around your property. Also don't forget about children and pets - they all have ‘space needs’ and you don't want that conflicting with your organic garden.
I'm sure you'll agree that your garden is not the best place for your children to lie down in while playing ‘hide n seek’. (Don't laugh too hard. . . I've actually seen that happen to a friend!)
Another ‘slap yourself in the face moment’ is when you notice your plants getting flattened regularly from a basketball. (Yes. . . I'm afraid basketballs are not garden friendly so keep your garden far away from hoops! :)
Play it safe and think about where your children play and locate your garden away from those areas.
The 2 Most Important Things Your Garden Needs: Sunlight And Breezy Conditions!
It's funny: as common as it is for us to know that “my garden needs sunlight". . . I still see people not giving it a second thought and assuming all corners of their yard have the same sunlight and breeze conditions.
. . that's just not true!
It's not hard. . . just make sure you think it through and put your garden in the best place for sunlight and breeze.
Lots of garden designs advocate using your garden to improve the view from a porch or deck. . . and I'm all for it! (Just don't make it first priority over the more important things we've already mentioned!)
Other *Insanely* Important Things That Nobody Ever Thinks About
If you're designing a functional organic garden, what landscape features need in your garden design? How about your driveway. . . how close is it to your garden? What about drainage? Drainage is one of the most overlooked aspects and if it's not happening right, your plants will drown.
Don't forget about weather conditions. . . you may want to setup screens so your plants are protected during harsh weather. (Screens are great for keeping out salty breezes, dust, etc. )
Remember also to think about how you and your guests will move around your garden and especially how you'll maintain it. (Don't forget you'll have to mow the grass around your garden when it grows so make sure your garden design makes it easy for you to mow!)
Organic Garden Tip: Placing stepping stones within your garden will make it much easier for you to move around. You can also use hose guides to keep your hose away from fragile plant stems.
How Big Do You Want Your Organic Garden To Be?
After you get the important basics planned out, you should think about the size of your organic garden - how big does it need to be? And how is the size going to look when related to the surrounding buildings? (Remember: just because I said “looks" aren't everything doesn't mean they're not important!)
Other things you'll want to think about are any existing paths, trees, shrubs, walls etc. Don't forget about sunlight, breezes, moisture, shade and healthy soil.
The Most Important Factor That Will Make Or *Break* Your Garden
Perhaps the biggest, most important, factor that we should weigh when designing or planning our organic garden is: how much time do you actually have to devote to maintenance? For instance, if you don't have much time for maintenance then you might not want to put your garden as close to those trees because mowing will take twice as long!
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