INFO SHEET: Starting with garden design
by Russ Grayson, updated May 2020.
The importance of smart design
We are all designers. Whenever we think through how to do something we become designers.
When it comes to our food-producing home and community gardens, design is the process by which we think then build. First of all, we think about why we want a garden, then about how we go about deciding what we want in it and how it should be laid out on the land.
Even for those of us whose garden is on their apartment balcony, design is still important. We have to think about what it is that we should grow and where we place our containers and their plants so they grow well.
For community gardeners—that growing number of people producing food on public land in the company of friends and neighbours—the design process is a collective one. That is, it is one in which all participate.
Before we start to explore the design process that will make our gardens more productive and enjoyable places, let’s look at a few design tips. These are important because they provide a context for food production in home and community gardens.
It helps to think of our garden soil as a living thing requiring its own inputs and management if we are to produce healthy, good food and other plants. A fertile soil is the starting conditions from which we grow a productive garden.