Designing The Herb Garden: Aims & Objectives

Carefully designing the herb garden pleases the eye and provides a blend of color and shape to enhance the beauty of the house they surround. This is as true for a herb garden as it is for any garden with a large design.

Even small herb gardens must have form and color. When you have finished planning out the space, you can start to implement the garden design. Draw the garden to scale on a piece of graph paper, putting in all the essential features, such as doors, windows, walls, fences and taps. Then transfer this design on to the ground marking out the areas you have chosen for herb containers in chalk on the patio or cut out sheets of paper to match the shapes of the containers.


See whether this makes sense. Walk around them and change their position until you are completely satisfied. It is always possible to move herb containers but it is boring to realize that a permanent feature such as a raised bed is not in the right place when you have spent money and effort building it.


This is an important consideration for any patio gardener and it is the one thing that cannot be changed in designing the herb garden. Check which direction your herb garden faces and assess how much sun it gets each day.

There is absolutely no point whatsoever trying to grow herbs from the Mediterranean, that by their very nature like heat and sun, if all you can offer them is a shady, north-facing patio. This is the basic rule for all gardens, disheartening or not, but if you read the conditions that each plant prefers before planning, buying and planting you will avoid considerable disappointment and also save money.

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Decide what you hope to achieve. Annual herbs and vegetables can be varied from year to year but if you want to grow one or two fruit trees you will probably need a south- or south-west-facing wall. Is there sufficient wall space? Fruit trees are relatively expensive, they require care and attention and this has to be balanced against the pleasure that the spring blossom and fresh fruit of the fall will bring.

Do you want fresh herbs available for the cook throughout much of the year or do you want to grow a selection of special vegetables for special occasions? There are gardeners who will grow one Brussels sprout plant each year just so that they can have the pleasure of eating their own sprouts at Christmas dinner. Everyone has their own priorities and you may have to compromise.


Color and Form

Whatever your priorities it is important to think of the balance of color and form in a container herb garden. Containers of vegetables and herbs should please the eye as well as the palate. Designing the herb garden, you plan to have a selection of leaf colors, try to grow two or three red cabbages that can stand in the container until into the winter, break up the shape by growing bay trees in tubs, adding height and form to the garden, vary the levels of the containers and make sure that the herb containers include attractive gold, purple-leaved and variegated varieties. Try to imagine the different green of the various vegetables and plant them so they will contrast one with another.

Finally position a strawberry planter so that the white flowers can be seen from the windows in late spring, and the bright red fruits in summer.


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