How to Garden by the Square Yard


Square yard gardening is a method of raising plants in a confined space. Most often done in raised beds, square yard gardening eliminates the need to till. Also, as plants are planted intensively in the space, very little weeding is needed. Square yard gardening was developed from a system first introduced by Mel Bartholomew in his 1981 book: Square Foot Gardening. Unlike the Bartholomew method, square yard gardening does include grids in the planting method.

Step 1

Build a square yard raised bed by setting the 1-by-6-inch lumber boards into a square and connecting each corner with two corner brackets and eight screws per corner. Most corner brackets purchased at hardware stores require two screws on each side of the bracket for stability.

Step 2

Place the raised bed in the garden on ground that is close to level. Choose an area that will receive full sun.

Step 3

Fill the raised bed with good quality topsoil. If top soil prices are too prohibitive, you can use a mixture of compost and sand or use compost only for the growing medium.

Step 4

Plant vining plants to the outside of the garden space. If the plants need trellises, position the trellis approximately 1 foot to the outside of the bed.

Step 5

Place tomato plants approximately 6 inches from the vining plants. This will allow room to stake the tomato plants if needed.

Step 6

Place low-growing plants to the center of the raised bed. This will allow them to receive full sun when the sun is directly overhead.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 boards, 1-inch-by-6-inch-by-3-foot
  • 8 corner brackets
  • 32 wood screws, 2-inch
  • Drill with screw bit
  • 45 cubic feed of topsoil
  • Transplants or seeds


  • University of Wisconsin: Square Foot Gardening (PDF) (Page 2)
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension Service: G'ville Field Day Set On Square Yard Gardening (PDF)
Keywords: square yard gardening, small space gardening, garden small spaces

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.