Before designing your garden, you should have an idea of what you want to plant and how big your garden is going to be. It is also important to take into consideration the topography of your garden when you decide to plant. Some issues with the topography may have to be dealt with first before you can start planting, especially if you will be gardening in a space that isn’t leveled.
Several factors determine the size of your garden. These factors include the following: the existing area of your lot, the time you can devote to your garden, and your budget. The area that you have to work with can affect the outcome of your garden. A little resourcefulness is needed if you’re working with a small yard or an indoor garden. If this is the case, you can always use containers such as pots or portable planters. You can also utilize vertical space by elevating plant containers, either by hanging them on the ceiling or stacking them on shelves. Trellises can also come in especially handy if you’re working with crawling plants.
Most houses in urban and suburban areas usually have a flat yard ideal for laying out planting beds. In some cases, however, gardeners would find themselves with a hilly or a sloping topography. It is much easier to plant on level surfaces than it is to plant on a bumpy or hilly surface. An unleveled garden can also result in areas of poor drainage. For hilly surfaces, you have the option of leveling it out by filling out depressions and by flattening out any bumps. In this process, you should refrain from compacting the ground extensively as it can affect the soil’s ability to drain water later on.
Container Beds Versus Rows
Now, people always ask me why I often have raised beds or containers in mind when talking about planning a garden. “My father taught me how to plant in rows on the soil, it’s how we’ve always done it!” they’d say. Just because that’s what’s been done for hundreds of years, it doesn’t mean it’s the most efficient way. More and more people, especially suburban and urban gardeners, have been reaping the benefits of raised bed gardening. Let me list them for you:
- You can create and use your own soil mix rather than stick with the soil you have on the ground, no matter how poor it is.
- Since you aren’t stepping on your soil, there’s less compaction. Raised beds allow the roots of your plants to get a bit of air.
- Tending to raised beds doesn’t break your back.
- You can be more efficient at maintaining your garden. You can space your plants closer together on raised beds than on rows, maximizing your space and allowing you to water and remove weeds more efficiently.