Friday, March 25, 2011

A Simple Lattice Style Trellis

I had an idea to create some privacy on one side of our house, build a trellis! I put together a quick design for a wooden trellis that could easily be built in a weekend and provide a nearly instant structure for growing climbing roses, honeysuckle, or other vine plants to create a nice living privacy screen. The trellis idea below is approximately 6' wide by 6' high. I think it would look great either stained or painted.

The trellis plan is fairly simple:

A) Two 8' 4x4 treated lumber posts form the sides. They should be set in concrete to assure stability.
B) A 72" long 2x4 to connect the posts
C) Another 2x4 this time cut at 84" to allow for some overhang at the top.
D) Set about 6 inches of gravel in a 2' hole for drainage and add concrete to secure the posts.
E) The vertical lattice slats are made from ripped 2x4s cut to 1.75" wide.  This will allow for one 2x4 to be cut into 2 slats. These should all be long enough to attach to the top board (C) and the bottom board (B). If the bottom board is set 6" above ground level these should be 66". Measure the distance between the top and bottom boards to get an exact measurement. Space the slats evenly (approximately 6" on center) by subtracting the width of the two end slats then dividing your distance by the number of slats you are installing, more slats will mean a shorter spacing.
F) The horizontal slats are ripped 2x4 like E. Secure them across evenly at the same interval as the slats in E.

Material List:
  • 2 - 8 foot 4x4
  • 10 - 8 foot 2x4
  • Concrete and gravel to fill approx. 1.5-2 cubic feet.
  • 2" deck coated screws
Pre-drill all holes to prevent the wood from splitting. 

Approximate cost: $75-100 without paint or stain.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Potager Style Vegetable Garden Layout

One of my many iterations of our vegetable garden layout was this simple potager style garden layout. It features two entrances. There were two large beds for corn and beans that were planted directly in the ground while the rest of the garden used raised beds for growing crops. In Tennessee our soils tend to be filled with clay and rocks which doesn't make for a wonderful garden but with raised beds we can overcome those issues.

Crop rotation is easy to accomplish with this many beds. I would recommend using fewer but larger beds. Combining the 2'x4' vegetable beds into one 6'x4' bed would add several square feet of gardening space.

Also here are 11 Things to Think about if you're considering a new raised bed vegetable garden.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Garden Border Ideas: Stone for Borders

Here's an easy idea to outline your garden borders and make them look simple and rustic but full of class: natural stone borders! Just gather up as much stone as you can, clear out your border area, lay the stones and your borders are done. They do require a little edging maintenance - grass likes to grow between the stones. A weed control fabric underneath the stones - or thick newspaper - may help to reduce the weeds. I prefer the newspaper since it will degrade and feed the soil. The weed control fabric will gather weed seeds and roots will grow right through the top of it which makes it difficult to weed. More photos of the stone border can be seen at my main blog by clicking on the picture below or the link provided above!

Plantings: Dusty Miller, Persian Shield, Sweet Potato Vine, Coleus

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Circular Raised Bed Garden Plan

Recently I converted a couple of my small raised beds into a circular raised bed garden. It's about 7 feet in diameter, any larger than that and it would be hard to reach the center. It's made from decorative concrete retaining wall blocks that are about 12 inches long, 8 inches wide, and 4 inches high. The advantage to concrete blocks over other raised bed materials is that they will last a very long time! Also if I decide to raise the depth of the soil in the future I just need to add another layer of blocks.

The Planting Plan:
For this garden I've planted my spring greens. Three kinds of lettuce and two types of spinach. The red lettuce is called Rouge D'Hiver and is one of the best tasting lettuces I've had. I've also planted Tom Thumb Thumb and Little Gem lettuces. One of the spinach varieties is Bloomsdale Long Standing and the other is a hybrid salad spinach. How to plant the garden above and in what arrangement is up to the gardener. To divide the sections I took three straight sticks and laid them to separate the bed into six pie shaped sections then planted seed in between them.  Easy as pie!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A 'U' Shaped Raised Bed Garden Layout

Last year I was visiting a friend's garden who designed her family's raised beds in the shape of a 'U'.I found the design to be very functional with a good deal of space for growing compacted into a small area. The big advantage was the soil depth. Since the soil was at least 2 feet deep in each bed it had plenty of nutrients for intensive planting. If you have more room you could build additional beds on each side to make a sideways 'E' shape. Having three raised beds also allows for some crop rotation although a fourth or fifth bed would aid that technique greatly.

This vegetable garden layout could be constructed from many different materials but cedar, redwood, or composite materials might work the easiest. Each bed is designed to be 3 feet wide. The two smaller beds are 6 feet long and the large bed is 10 feet long. 12'x12' paving stones make the pathway easily accessible for handicapped gardeners.

Basil and Annual Knot Garden

This little herb and annual garden layout is a variation on the traditional knot garden. It's not as complex to put together and doesn't have many twists but with multicolored basils, annual flower displays, and as a focal point a potted plant in the middle this garden can be put together easily and very inexpensively!

The Basil and Annual Knot Garden Plan:

basil and annual herb garden layout

This plan consists of 20 purple leaved basil plants ('Purple Ruffles' or 'Dark Opal'), 14 green basil plants (Italian basil will work but 'Spicy Globe' basil has a nice form that would be perfect), annuals (zinnias and marigolds are moth easy to grow from seed), and a potted plant in the center. Alternately you could put more herbs, a birdbath, flowers, or even vegetables in the center.

All the annuals and basil can be grown from seed very cheaply or you can buy a couple basil plants of each kind and propagate the rest of the basil through cuttings.

A Herb Garden Plan

One of my first garden layouts and designs I did for my blog was this Herb Garden Layout. It's a fairly simple circular bed consistenting of a variety of herbs like basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, or many others. The stepping stones divide the circle into four sections which give it a more formal feel. I never implemented this garden and instead opted to incorporate my herbs with other perennial plants and the vegetable garden.

Herb Garden Plan/Layout:

How The Herb garden Layout Breaks Down:

The stepping stones (1) divide the 8 foot bed into four sections. Each section will have similar plantings except for the outer edge. The centerpiece of this herb garden will be the rosemary (2) (which is a perennial) and should grow quite large over time with the occasional clipping for kitchen use. Outside of the main rosemary four other plants will help create an evergreen mass. Next to the rosemary and the stepping stones a purple leaf basil (3) will add some color. In between the purple leaf basil another basil variety will be planted. Possibly a large leaf Italian basil (4). On the outside edge other herbs like thyme, parsley, mint (only in pots), and cilantro (5). I may add other herbs to fit into the open spaces. Mother of Thyme would probably do well in between the stepping stones.

I hope you can enjoy this herb garden layout in your own garden!

About Garden Plans and Ideas

I've been blogging about gardening for several years now. I've enjoyed propagating plants, vegetable gardening, flowers, trees shrubs, and tinkering in my garden but I've noticed that most people find my site ( while looking for plans and ideas for their own gardens. In order to help with the need for do-it-yourself garden plans I've put together this blog to focus on gardeners who want practical ideas that anyone could apply. Garden plans found here aren't meant to be followed to the letter (of course they can be) but rather they are meant for inspiration. Each plan is a general guideline for planting the various garden forms. If you like a design you are welcome to integrate it into your garden. If you happen to blog or own a website please request an image before using it online and include links to the original material.

Suggestions and requests are welcome but please keep in mind that it takes time to put these together. If you would like your own personalized plan for your vegetable garden, ornamental garden, or other garden feel free to contact me!

I hope you enjoy using these garden plans, layouts, and ideas in your landscape!