Designing an herb garden is a way to utilize garden space to create a place to grow culinary or medicinal herbs. There are many different kinds of herbs and each herb has a specific purpose for the gardener. Many herbs provide interesting texture through unusual foliage, beautiful flowers or wonderful scents. A walk through an herb garden can be a wonderful experience and is a treat for visitors because every herb has an interesting history. Also, a well-designed herb garden can be a beautiful visual centerpiece in your landscape.
Obtain a list of herbs that grow well in your area. Your local County Agricultural Extension Office is a good place to start. Decide what herbs you would like to grow in your herb garden. For example, you may be interested in culinary herbs used in cooking or medicinal herbs. Some herbs are grown for their beautiful flowers and ability to attract beneficial insects to the garden. You may decide on a combination of all three.
Whatever herbs you decide to grow, take note of the growing conditions of each plant, expecially the sunlight requirements, the time of year when it produces the appropriate foliage or flowers and the amount of moisture it requires to thrive. Also, write down or record the eventual size of each herb plant you would like to grow.
Decide on the location of your herb garden that is appropriate for the growing conditions of the herbs you have chosen to grow. The location must be well-drained because most herbs do not like to grow in water-logged soils. Remember to pay attention to the amount of sunlight received and the proximity to a water source. Use a tape measure to define the amount of space you have available and make a note of the size.
Think about the visual appeal of your herb garden. Rather than planting in rows, think about creating a centerpiece with a work of garden art or a large growing herb and have the other herbs growing along paths leading up to it. Other designs include low growing herbs along a border with taller herbs behind them. Whatever design you choose, be sure to include access to the herbs so you can harvest them as needed. A bed four feet wide is easily accessible from two sides and a bed two feet wide is about right if accessible from one side.
Group your chosen plants into areas in your design that have similar growing requirements. For example, if part of the garden is exposed to shade, design the garden so other shade-loving plants are located close by. Also, if some herbs prefer a drier sunnier location be sure to group them together in your design.
Group perennial and annual plants together, because the annual beds will need to be reworked several times a year.
Consider border material such as rocks, bricks, plastic or wood. An attractive border is visually appealing and helps keep weeds and grasses from encroaching into the garden.