• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

circle garden design ?

 
Coco Demann
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi everyone. Ive almost finished building a natural wildlife pond, tear drop shaped, within a circular garden. I have marked out a circular perimeter very roughly, just by eye for the moment. Other than a stake and string, can anyone tell me best way to make the circumference a perfect circle? Its probably about three quarters of an acre in size. Preferably without investing in expensive gadgets. Ps this is in the UK. Thank you!
 
Steven Kovacs
Posts: 157
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
7
urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Is using a stake and string a problem?  I would just put the stake in the center of the pond, tie one end of a string to it, and walk (holding the string taut) in a circle, marking the edge as I went.  If you want 3/4 of an acre I think you need a string about 100 feet long.
 
Casie Becker
pollinator
Posts: 811
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
45
forest garden urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I suspect over 3/4ths of an acre there is likely a lot of obstructions that could get in the way of a stake and string construction if you try to walk a full circle. I could see you getting a good number of points measured along the outer edge of the circle. After marking enough points I would find it easy to use some form of ground marker (could be as simple as a line of flour poured on the ground) to form a smooth line between the points. How many different points you would need to measure would be dependent on how precise you need your circle to be.
 
Coco Demann
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you Steven and Casie....I don't have any issue with marking by line and string, just a feeling it might not be as accurate or visually 'perfect' as other more precise methods, but would be happy to be wrong! Its a garden that has evolved by visual instinct so far, rather than planning, so nothing else has been accurately measured at this point. Im aiming to use as much natural geometry as possible, fascinated by patterns, so it will probably be a contrast of instinct versus engineering.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 1717
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands
317
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Coco Demann wrote:I don't have any issue with marking by line and string, just a feeling it might not be as accurate or visually 'perfect'


Use a string/rope/chain/cable that doesn't have any elasticity to it. Make sure that the center point doesn't wobble.
 
Steven Kovacs
Posts: 157
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
7
urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you take Joseph's advice, the circle should be very accurate.

The question is, do you really want it to be accurate?  Nature rarely uses perfect circles on that scale, so a perfect circle may actually look quite artificial.
 
Coco Demann
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
thank you both. will keep the measuring tools taut, and fair point, will loosen it up if it looks artificial!
 
Denise Kersting
Posts: 42
Location: South Central PA
1
cat fungi urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We laid out many large circles in our lawn for a labyrinth using the string and stake method. I used marking paint from the hardware store, but flour or some other powder would work just as well.
labyrinth.jpg
[Thumbnail for labyrinth.jpg]
 
John Polk
master steward
Pie
Posts: 8018
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
269
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For that size circle, do you have a GPS, or one that you could borrow for the day?
Mark the center coordinates, then measure (equidistant) numerous points from that center.
 
Coco Demann
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
thank you denise and john. john i don't have gps (just accidentally crushed my old phone!) but might see if i can borrow one. denise thats great to see you got a beautiful labyrinth using the stake and string method! id love to know how you designed one.... did it take a long time / lot of study? The pond is actually in a 180 degree part of the field, on reflection - so I will measure the points from the centre point at the rear of the pond. Have put a photo here but it may not show it very clearly.
DSC_0132.jpg
[Thumbnail for DSC_0132.jpg]
 
Roberto pokachinni
Pie
Posts: 903
Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
64
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
stake and string
This is how it was done by many cultures, including the various tribes which assembled Tipis.  It is very accurate.  One way to modernize it a bit and make it more functional is to put a large washer on the end of your string, and then a nail through the washer into your stake.  Ensure there is enough play so that the washer rotates easily. This ensures a much smoother rotation, and full accuracy. 
 
Denise Kersting
Posts: 42
Location: South Central PA
1
cat fungi urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Coco, it was actually really easy, and I stole the layout from the Chartres labyrinth. There is a really good breakdown on designing labyrinths here: https://blogmymaze.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/how-to-make-a-5-circuit-classical-labyrinth-from-a-5-circuit-chartres-labyrinth/. All I did was figure the paths to be the width of my mower, and then leave add in for each taller "divider," which left me enough space for a 5 circuit. My lawn is roughly 50ft wide and the labyrinth was about 36-40ft in diameter. Along with what Roberto said, I used a swiveling animal tie-out stake, with a rope attached to that so that it rotated around evenly. Start by mowing everything to the divider height, and then mark the circles and the turn lines (I used florescent green marking spray paint) and go in with the mower deck lowered and run the path-I tied the handle to the string to ensure I stayed on my path. For maintenance, we mowed the paths at the lower setting, and then raised it to regular lawn height and went over everything like normal. It was much easier than it sounds. We kept it up for 2 years, and this year we've left it go back to normal. We'll probably design a different setup next year. Roberto's idea sounds really great, cause you'll need a tall enough stake to stand above your waterline in the pond. If you are worried out damaging a pond liner, you could take a 5 gallon bucket and cement in a stake and drop it in the center of the pond, as long as you don't pull too hard I think it would stay where you place it, and be removable when you are done marking. Good luck, hope you share pics when you've got it setup, sounds like it is going to be lovely.
 
Coco Demann
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you Roberto/ Denise…. I think I get the idea about the washer, altho the string will come to a stop at some point as it rotates, if its nailed in? (im probably being thick here!). denise thank you for the tip, if I dare to try and build a labyrinth I will start with this! Ive always loved the idea of the challenge. For the pond I’ll be working with what is there -  the pond lining will be natural clay, and in fact the soil itself is heavy clay: when I went this morning it was 50% full of its own volition after a night of heavy rain…..perfect! I will post more photos, I hope to have the whole area more advanced and a chunk of the site planted with wildflower meadow by spring.
 
Denise Kersting
Posts: 42
Location: South Central PA
1
cat fungi urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Coco, for the washer setup, I'd slide a really snug rubber grommet onto the stake (it would act like a shelf) and then place the large fender washer with a hole in it on top of the grommet. Might need a little oil to reduce friction on the grommet. But Roberto might have a better suggestion.
 
Hey, sticks and stones baby. And maybe a wee mention of my stuff:
Got Permaculture games? Yes! 66 cards, infinite possibilities::
www.FoodForestCardGame
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic