Selecting the Best Location for a Garden

Learn how to choose the most suitable site for a vegetable garden, a location that will allow the vegetables to thrive.
most familiar garden is traditional plot

most familiar garden is traditional plot

Growing your own vegetable garden takes planning.

Related To:

  1. Outdoor Spaces
  2. Planning

Planning

Before you ever put a spade in the soil or drop a seed in the ground, you need to sit down and think about what you want to achieve in your vegetable garden. First you need to consider whether you have the space and conditions to grow what you want. The most familiar is the traditional plot.

Plant Arrangement

cottage gardens are planted in small square plots

cottage gardens are planted in small square plots

The whole area is cultivated and the plants are grown in rows.

Cottage gardens are planted in small square plots with neat edges and paths.

What to Look For

there should be nearby source of water

there should be nearby source of water

Pay attention to the surroundings when selecting a site.

The best site for a vegetable garden should incorporate the following: At least six hours of sunlight daily, good drainage and air circulation, and a level location with loose, rich soil. There should also be a nearby source of water, and ideally, convenient access to tool storage and equipment.

Draw a Map

make a site plan

make a site plan

You will need to survey the site and map out your yard.

On this map, you can indicate any obstacles and record the areas that receive the best sunlight. The site must certainly be free from underground utility lines. Utility companies will locate and stake out underground lines if you tell them you are digging a garden. Call your local utility companies to find out where you may have underground wiring or pipes. This number is normally located in the front of your phone book under "Call Before You Dig."

To make a site plan, you'll need a simple bound or loose-leaf notebook, camera, marker, wood stakes. First take a photograph of the site to map out the garden. Be sure to shoot the picture from a point that allows a full view of the entire yard. In your notebook, draw a design of the area and then mark the shady areas or any tree roots or slopes.

Follow the Sunshine

place garden based on amount of sunshine

place garden based on amount of sunshine

The single most important factor in determining where to place a garden is the amount of sunshine the site will receive.

You should check the different patterns of light and shadow during a day.

Place wood stakes in the areas of shadow and then record the times when the site is fully covered with sunlight and when shadows appeared. If you don't have at least six hours of sun over the whole garden, you may have to adjust the size, position or even location of your garden site.

Stay Away from the House

planting area should get plenty of sunlight

planting area should get plenty of sunlight

Make sure your planting area gets plenty of sunlight.

Be sure not to put the garden too close to your house, which will cast shadows; keep planting areas at least 10 feet away from the walls. Vegetables planted in the shade are less productive and may be more susceptible to disease and insect damage than planted in full sun.

Next Up

Vegetable Garden Plans

Taking time to plan a vegetable garden before you plant can pay dividends throughout the season. Clever use of low rows and tall accent plants creates microclimates that different vegetables enjoy, as well as great visual effects.

Choosing a Site for Your Vegetable Garden

Growing vegetables in ideal conditions is not always possible, particularly if you have limited space, but it pays to find a sunny spot that is sheltered from the wind and easily accessible for watering and weeding.

Combining Vegetables and Flowers in Your Garden

Small gardens need to look their best year round and usually have no room for a separate vegetable garden, but with a little imagination, vegetables can look striking alongside flowers and produce a tasty harvest, too.

Ready, Set, Grow! When to Start Your Garden

Does winter weather have you itching to dig in the dirt? Get tips on when you can safely start planting veggies for spring and summer.

More Plant Varieties

Learn about several plant varieties and the planting information for each zone.

Best Deck Plans

Learn how you can find deck plans—often for free—online or through various offline resources.

When to Harvest Sweet Potatoes

Learn when and how to harvest and cure sweet potatoes to enjoy during the winter months.

Harvesting Rutabagas

With a long and flexible harvest period, rutabagas make for low stress in the home garden while providing delicious flavor.

Where Do Sweet Potatoes Come From?

The mystery of the sweet potato origins continues with each hemisphere arguing that this delicious food crop belongs to them.

What are Sweet Potato Slips?

What came first, the sweet potato or the sweet potato slip? Find out how to grow sweet potatoes.

Stories We're Following

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Discover Made + Remade

See the latest DIY projects, catch up on trends and meet more cool people who love to create.

Make It. Fix It. Learn It. Find It.