Maximizing Your Garden Layout

Gardening can be interesting and fun when you get the results you desire. It can be frustrating though when things don’t go as planned. Your garden layout is one of the things you should be concerned with at the start to have the best chance of achieving a good outcome. As in anything we do, carefully looking into a well-planned garden layout will pay better dividends in the long run.

After choosing the site for your garden, visualize how your garden will look. This is where you consider how the garden will fit in with the rest of your yard and surroundings… For example, take notice of shadows from your house, trees, fences, etc. Don’t forget that the angle of the sun is different in summer compared to winter. Your garden layout must take into account the size of the garden, location of each vegetable, spacing between plants, location of each variety, and the space available for planting. You should choose the vegetable that is suited for the site and the available time and corresponding effort needed. The quantity you need for harvest is also important to know. Some crops utilize space better than others so see to it that the plants are suited corresponding to the space available.

In small kitchen gardens, maybe it is good to consider planting radishes, leaf lettuce, onions, snap beans, turnips, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, and cabbages.

Growth Characteristics and Growing Seasons

In planning for your garden layout, group plants according to their growth characteristics and growth seasons. This is important as some plants are harvested earlier than others, are quick maturing, tall and leafy. For instance, if perennials are in the garden, place them in areas with least interference as they will be in the garden for a while. Early maturing and early-harvest crops on the other hand must be planted in locations where there is easy access. Tall and shady plants are usually located behind the shorter crops so that they don’t cast shadows on the smaller plants. Also consider plants suited to the particular season and climate as certain plants thrive better at certain times of year in different regions.

Plant Spacing

Distance in planting and proper spacing is often not given due concern in gardening, and can lead to disastrous results. If you want your garden layout to work best, then plant spacing must be planned as well. This will ensure optimum growth and easy cultivation and wise use of space. Here is a quick reference guide of plant spacing depending on what crop you prefer:

Planting Chart – Spacing


Number of seeds to sow (per ft)

Spacing between plants after thinning or transplanting

Spacing between rows

Asparagus 12 in 3 ft
Beans 5 Don’t thin 2 ft
Beet 10 3 in 1 ft
Broccoli 18 in 3 ft
Cabbage 12 in 2 ft
Carrot 18 2 in 1 ft
Cauliflower 18 in 2 ft
Corn (sweet) 1 2 ft 3 ft
Cucumber 3 1 ft 5 ft
Eggplant 2 ft 3 ft
Garlic (from cloves) 3 in 1 ft
Kale 6 1 ft 2 ft
Lettuce 10 4 in 1 ft
NZ Spinach 6 1 ft 2 ft
Okra 3 1 ft 3 ft
Onion (seeds) 10 3 in 1 ft
Onion (plant) 3 in 1 ft
Parsley 10 6 in 1 ft
Peas 10 Don’t thin 2 ft
Pepper 2 ft 2 ft
Potato 1 1 ft 3 ft
Pumpkin 1-2 3 ft 8 ft
Radish 12 2 in 1 ft
Rhubarb 3 ft 3 ft
Spinach 12 4 in 1 ft
Squash (summer) 2 2 ft 3 ft
Squash (winter) 1 3 ft 8 ft
Sweet Potato 18 in 3 ft
Tomato 3 ft 3 ft
Turnip 6 4 in 1 ft
Watermelon 1 3 ft 8 ft

Crop Rotation

As you design your garden layout, the need for crop rotation must also be kept in mind. it’s best that crops be rotated occasionally in order to manage pests and diseases. It also allows soils to recuperate as plants take in different nutrients in varying quantities and promote beneficial microbial growth. When crop rotation is practiced with diligence you encourage your garden’s resistance to pests and diseases.

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