Alicia DeVore

When I first dive into any type of project, I love to start with a solid plan. Having a plan helps me budget for all the project needs, schedule dedicated times in my calendar to work on it, gather all the necessary materials, and then—perhaps most importantly—it allows me to truly enjoy the process.

Creating a productive and relaxing garden is no different; having a well-thought-out plan of action is the essential first step. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide to crafting your best garden plans. From budgeting and scheduling to gathering supplies and planting, we’ll cover everything you need to know to ensure your gardening journey is both successful and enjoyable.

Garden Planning Essentials

Assessing Your Yard’s Conditions

Before you start planting, it’s crucial to evaluate your outdoor space to determine the best garden layout. Begin by observing how much sunlight and shade different areas of your yard receive throughout the day. This will help you choose the right spots for various plants that have specific light requirements. Additionally, test your soil quality to understand its pH level and nutrient content, which will guide you in amending the soil as needed.

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Defining Your Garden Goals

Next, it’s time to define your garden goals. What kind of garden do you envision? Are you looking to grow a variety of vegetables, create a blooming flower paradise with many plants, or have a fragrant herb garden? Deciding on the type of garden you want to create will help streamline your planning process and make it easier to choose the appropriate plants.

Choosing the Right Crops

Selecting the right crops based on their growing season is essential for a successful garden. Grow cool season crops when the temperatures are between 40-75 degrees. As the temperature rises for summer, add in crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons that like it over 70 degrees.

Consider companion planting, a strategy where certain plants are grown together to optimize space and naturally reduce pests and diseases. For example, planting basil near tomatoes and peppers can enhance their flavor and repel harmful insects. By thoughtfully choosing and pairing your crops, you create a more efficient and healthy garden ecosystem.

By assessing your yard’s conditions and defining your garden goals, you’re well on your way to creating a thriving garden. Let’s dive deeper into each step in this blog post to help you grow the garden of your dreams!

Designing Your Garden Layout

As I’ve had the pleasure of working one-on-one with clients to design their dream gardens, I’ve found that a few key steps always help us determine the best placement for a future vegetable garden. It’s a collaborative and exciting process where we assess the yard’s conditions, talk about goals, and get creative with layout ideas.

These steps have consistently led to beautiful, thriving gardens that my clients love. Whether you’re starting fresh or tweaking an existing garden, these tried-and-true methods will set you up for success!

Garden Layout Ideas

Planning the size garden layout of your garden can be an exciting adventure! There are so many creative and efficient ways to arrange your plants.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Square Foot Gardening: This method is perfect for maximizing space in smaller gardens. By dividing your garden into square-foot sections, you can efficiently utilize every inch of soil.

  • Raised Beds: These are great for improving soil quality and drainage. Plus, they make gardening easier on your back and knees!

  • Row Cropping: This traditional method works well for larger gardens. Rows can be spaced to accommodate plants that need more room to grow or for easy access when it’s time to harvest.

To bring your vision of large garden to life, grab some graph paper or use online garden planning tools. These tools can help you create a visual representation of your garden design, making it easier to plan and adjust as needed.

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Don’t forget to consider the mature size of each plant. It’s important to leave enough space for most plants for them to grow and thrive without overcrowding. By planning, you’ll ensure that your garden is not only productive but also beautiful and well-organized. With careful planning and site selection, you can look forward to a bountiful harvest.

Planting Crops Strategically

Strategic planting can make a world of difference in the success and beauty of most crops in your garden. Here are some friendly tips to help you plant your crops wisely:

  • Maximize Sunlight: Most vegetable plants thrive with at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Find the sunniest spots in your garden and make them prime real estate for these sun-loving veggies.

  • Group by Needs: Organize your plants based on their growing requirements, such as water and nutrient needs. For example, place thirsty plants like tomatoes and cucumbers together, while grouping drought-tolerant herbs like rosemary and sage separately. This way, you can easily manage their care without over- or under-watering.

  • Add Some Beauty: Don’t forget to incorporate cut flowers and other ornamental plants into your garden. They not only add a splash of color and beauty but also attract beneficial insects and pollinators, improving the overall health of your garden.

By planting your crops strategically, you’ll create a harmonious and productive garden space that’s as enjoyable to look at as it is to harvest from.

Preparing Your Garden

Soil Preparation for Planting Crops

Getting your garden off to the right start begins with good soil preparation. Here’s how you can set the stage for a thriving garden:

  • Test Your Soil: Before planting, it’s essential to understand your soil’s pH level and nutrient content. Use my favorite soil testing product to get accurate results.

  • Enrich the Soil: Add organic matter like compost or vermicompost to improve soil quality. This will boost nutrients and help with water retention.

  • Shop for Amendments: Don’t hesitate to use soil amendments available on Amazon to further enhance your soil’s health and fertility.

Executing Your Garden Plan

Once your soil is ready, it’s time to put your garden plan into action. Here are some friendly tips:

  • Planting and Spacing Crops: Sow seeds at the recommended depth and spacing to give each plant room to grow.

  • Initial Watering: After planting, water your garden thoroughly. Keep the soil consistently moist during the first few weeks to help seedlings establish strong roots.

Ongoing Garden Care

Your garden will need ongoing attention to stay healthy and productive. Here’s how to keep it in top shape:

  • Develop a Routine: Establish a routine for watering, fertilizing, and pruning your plants. Consistency is key to maintaining a vibrant garden.

  • Regular Monitoring: Keep an eye on your garden for any signs of pests, diseases, or nutrient deficiencies. Early detection allows for prompt action.

  • Adjust as Needed: Be flexible and make adjustments to your garden plan as needed. This might include replanting certain areas, rotating crops, or changing your watering schedule to ensure a successful garden year-round.


What is the best layout for a garden?

Choosing the best layout for your garden depends a lot on your space, goals, and personal preferences. Here are a few popular layouts that might inspire you:

Square Foot Gardening

This method is fantastic if you’re working with a smaller space. By dividing your garden into square-foot sections, you make the most of every inch, ensuring that each plant gets the attention it needs.

Raised Beds

Raised beds are great for improving soil quality and drainage. They also make gardening more accessible by reducing the need to bend over as much, which can be easier on your back and knees.

Row Cropping

If you have a more house or larger garden area, row cropping could be ideal. This traditional method involves planting in rows, making it easy to manage and harvest your crops.

Companion Planting

Consider grouping plants that benefit each other together. For instance, planting marigolds near tomatoes can help deter pests.

No matter which layout you choose, make sure to consider factors like sunlight, water access, and the mature size of your plants. And don’t be afraid to mix and match ideas to create a layout that works best for you.

How do I draw a garden plan?

  1. Sketch Your Space: Grab some graph paper or use an online garden planning tool. Start by sketching the outline of your garden area, including any existing features like trees, paths, or fences.

  2. Plan Your Layout: Think about how you want to arrange your plants. You can try different layouts like square-foot gardening, raised beds, or row cropping. Don’t forget to leave space for walking paths!

  3. Mark Plant Locations: Decide where each type of plant will go, considering their sunlight, water, and space needs. It’s helpful to mark these spots on your sketch.

  4. Add Details: Include other elements like compost bins, trellises, or benches.

  5. Review and Adjust: Once your initial plan is drawn, review it and make any necessary adjustments to optimize your garden’s layout.

What is the best way to arrange plants in a garden?

The best way to arrange plants in your garden depends on their needs and your garden’s layout. Place sun-loving plants where they’ll get at least six hours of direct sunlight daily, and shade-tolerant plants in less sunny spots.

Group plants with similar water and nutrient needs together to make care easier. Arrange taller plants towards the back or center of your garden bed, and shorter ones in front to ensure everyone gets enough light.

Additionally, consider companion planting by pairing plants that benefit each other, like planting marigolds near tomatoes to deter pests. By considering these factors, you’ll create a beautiful and thriving garden!

How do you start a garden for beginners?

Begin by choosing a sunny spot in your yard that gets the full sun and at least six hours of sunlight daily and is easy to access for watering and maintenance.

Plan your garden by deciding what or most vegetables you want to grow, starting with easy-to-grow vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, or herbs, and sketching a basic layout. You can also consider planting summer and winter squash, which are warm-season crops that prefer summer’s heat and should be planted only after the soil has warmed.

Prepare the soil by testing its pH and nutrient levels, then add compost or organic matter to enrich it. You can start from seeds or buy young plants from a nursery. Plant your seeds or young plants according to your plan, water them thoroughly after planting, and keep the seed and soil moist as they establish roots.

Develop a routine for watering, weeding, and fertilizing, and monitor for pests and diseases, addressing any issues promptly. Most importantly, enjoy the process, be patient, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Here are more Resources for Growing Vegetable Crops:

8 Best Veggies for the Garden: Healthiest Vegetables to Grow

Uncover the Unexpected Health Benefits of Gardening for Mind and Body

Best Irrigation for Raised Bed Gardens: Garden in Minutes Review

5 Reasons Why Using a Root Stimulator for Plants Growth is Essential

How to Start a New Garden Successfully in your Backyard

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About the Author

Alicia has been teaching her whole life from elementary teacher to workshops for beginning gardeners.  Go HERE to read Alicia's story into gardening from plant killer to pro grower and garden coach.  If you want to send Alicia a quick message, then use her contact page HERE.

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