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Designing a new garden? Looking for ideas...  RSS feed

 
Miranda Converse
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I am in the process of designing my garden from scratch. I have been working on getting it ready all winter (putting up a fence to keep out chickens, gathering mulch materials, etc) but now I am stuck at the design phase. I have two trapezoid type shaped areas of grass I want to turn into growing space but I just don't even know where to start.

I'm trying to add pictures (one is an awesome drawing that looks like a child did it) but I am not sure I'm doing it right. I'll try to explain though just in case. The area is a big rectangle about 30' by 50' with a diagonal row of trees through it (creating the two trapezoids). Three sides of the rectangle are surrounded by tall trees but the sun passes by the open side so it gets plenty of sunlight, with either edge getting slightly less than the center. Hopefully I can get my drawing posted which would be easier to understand (maybe lol)

I would love some guidance as to where to go from here. I don't want a straight row garden but I don't have much of an imagination otherwise. How can I make it have curves and maximize growing space as well as make it easy to maneuver around? My wheelbarrow is my best friend so I need enough room to get that around.
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Miranda Converse
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My pictures worked! The legend for my drawing;
HB-Where I'm working on a hugelbeet
B-A row of beehives (sadly all perished this winter but when I get more, that's where I'll probably put them)
T-Trees, the diagonal row is all crepe myrtle, the one in the top center is a tiny mulberry, and the top left is a magnolia which I may cut down because it doesn't look happy...
RB-Raised beds, you can see these in the pictures

The green surrounding the three sides is where there are shade trees and the yellow is where the sun crosses. The green diamonds at the top is where I planted sugarcane for a living fence.

Also, the main entrance is at the lower right hand corner which is where the two pictures were taken from...
 
Casie Becker
garden master
Posts: 1392
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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forest garden urban
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It won't help you with your garden planning, but for bad looking drawings http://www.permies.com/t/52938/introductions/Suburbanite
Yours is a masterpiece in comparison.

Mandala gardens are very unique garden beds that have been planned to give you the maximum amount of accessible garden with the littlest amount of path.

I tend to put deep beds around every shrub and tree. Outside of that I do big ovals, circles, and triangles. So long as there are corners where the shapes intersect I find there are places where I can stand to access the bed without crushing anything. Even beds that look rectangular are usually subdivided into smaller sections. In the deepest beds I have walking paths that aren't wheelbarrow accessible. Outside of moving mulch, I don't move enough stuff to need a wheelbarrow.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I found it helpful to look at these:

http://www.happyearth.com.au/garden-design/

http://www.growbiointensive.org/



http://geofflawton.com/videos/urban-gardens-microspace/

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/user/growingyourgreens[/youtube]

 
Miranda Converse
Posts: 243
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Casie Becker wrote:It won't help you with your garden planning, but for bad looking drawings http://www.permies.com/t/52938/introductions/Suburbanite
Yours is a masterpiece in comparison.

Mandala gardens are very unique garden beds that have been planned to give you the maximum amount of accessible garden with the littlest amount of path.

I tend to put deep beds around every shrub and tree. Outside of that I do big ovals, circles, and triangles. So long as there are corners where the shapes intersect I find there are places where I can stand to access the bed without crushing anything. Even beds that look rectangular are usually subdivided into smaller sections. In the deepest beds I have walking paths that aren't wheelbarrow accessible. Outside of moving mulch, I don't move enough stuff to need a wheelbarrow.


Oh that one isn't too bad! At least you used typed print instead of my 1st grader writing with paint!

Ah! I was thinking something like a mandala garden (although I didn't know that was what it was called) and putting either a sitting area or an herb spiral in the middle. I'll probably leave the center open for now until I decide and have the time to do something fancy.

Thank you Tyler for the references, I'm still at work (shh) so I'll have to check them out this weekend...

Any ideas for actually mapping the garden out on the ground? Spray paint would be perfect except obviously I don't want paint where I'm going to grow my food. Any food friendly alternatives?

And any ideas for cheap/free border materials? I don't really want to make the whole thing raised (too much soil needed), mostly just want a visual border. I was thinking of cutting a pine log into discs, then cutting those in half, but that sounds like a ton of work just for something visual. There are no rocks to be found where I live so that is out. I have an assortment of used bricks but not nearly enough...I could possibly go to the beach and collect shells, pieces of driftwood, etc. Might take a while but heck I'll be at the beach...
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9691
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Miranda Converse wrote:Any food friendly alternatives?


White flour for rough sketching, stakes and string for more final design. If you wrap the string low on the stake you're less likely to trip over it. I use fist-sized rock or small logs for a lot of my planning on the ground.
 
Casie Becker
garden master
Posts: 1392
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
101
forest garden urban
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I don't know how easy they'd be to source in your area but concrete test cylinders are one of my favorite edging materials when I'm short on rocks. Any big industrial building here his required to produce one of the small pieces of concrete to use in testing the strength of the foundation. They tend to come in uniform sizes and are a considered a waste product in the industry.
 
Miranda Converse
Posts: 243
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Tyler Ludens wrote:
Miranda Converse wrote:Any food friendly alternatives?


White flour for rough sketching, stakes and string for more final design. If you wrap the string low on the stake you're less likely to trip over it. I use fist-sized rock or small logs for a lot of my planning on the ground.


Flour would be perfect! Thank you! And we have plenty of 550 cord too...
 
Miranda Converse
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Casie Becker wrote:I don't know how easy they'd be to source in your area but concrete test cylinders are one of my favorite edging materials when I'm short on rocks. Any big industrial building here his required to produce one of the small pieces of concrete to use in testing the strength of the foundation. They tend to come in uniform sizes and are a considered a waste product in the industry.


I'll look into it but I don't think there are too many industrial buildings here. Most of the income here comes from tourism...We have one paper mill and a chemical mill but I don't want anything that has been anywhere near them and I don't want to go anywhere near them. That whole side of town smells awful...
 
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