|Food, beauty and habitat.|
Garden design does not come naturally to me. I’ve made plenty of mistakes and continue to make them. One of the biggest of those mistakes is thinking of a garden as a collection of plants. Designing this way leads to lots of money wasted at the nursery and a garden that looks like a hoarder’s living room. Trust me, after years of misguided gardening design, your first step should be to identify goals.
Making a List of Goals
Sit down and think of what you want the garden to do. This applies to a residential space, a community garden plot, a school garden, anywhere. Include everyone who will use the space in the process. Kelly and I sat down a few months ago and came up with the following ideas about what our garden should provide:
- solace and comfort
- a place to meditate
- habitat for insects and birds
- a place to sit and hang out with friends
- a place to sit and work with a laptop
- space for our chickens
- flowers for bees
- space for native plants
- areas that are semi-wild and not often visited
- space for the composting
Think and meditate on your goals before drawing up a plan. And for those of us in the urban homesteading movement, I think it’s important to measure productivity in more ways than just the amount of food you get from your yard. How will the garden provide peace and well being? Educational opportunities? Ways to commune with nature? Some goals aren’t obvious at first. As authors we have a lot of people who want to come over and take photos, something we have to consider as we re-do our backyard. And I’m definitely aiming for a garden that requires less maintenance!
So what are some of the goals you keep in mind for the gardens you tend? Share some comments . . .
Special thanks to Darren Butler and Scott Kleinrock for an amazing class on Urban Ecological Agriculture that I had the privilege of attending. In this class I learned many important design concepts including the one in this post. We’ll share a bunch more in the next couple of posts.