How to Plan a Backyard Garden


Backyard gardening is a great way to use space for food production, or for scenic views to enjoy while sitting on a back porch. Many home cooks will use the space for a kitchen garden, large or small. There are many types of gardens that can be grown in a back yard, as is evident by looking at the Backyard Gardener website. It is possible to have a backyard garden throughout the four seasons, allowing for a nice view from the back windows even during the winter months. This is a matter of keeping track of what blooms when.

Step 1

Walk through the back yard and record what areas are in full or partial sun, and those that are shady. Map out the back yard in the notebook. Write down any ideas that you come up with for the garden space while there. Research which plants will grow in which areas, and record the ones that are of interest in the notebook, separated by season and sun levels. Decide which plants will work best for you, and find organic resources for acquiring what is needed. Choose between edible or ornamental options, or use a combination of both. Look at the soil conditions in each area of the space available. Use compost to work soil, and beds and containers where drainage is a problem.

Step 2

Place trellises where they will be needed for vining flowers, fruits and vegetables. Add fencing for other vining plants, as well as for training apple trees along. Decide on water features for the backyard garden, a pond or a fountain would add visual appeal. Using rock walls in a garden is another way to add visual appeal. Allow ground covers to grow here and there along them, such as ivy.

Step 3

Place beds where needed in the yard, working compost from a bin into the ground soil. Put containers filled with soil where desired. Create compost piles so that there is a continuous supply of organic matter for the garden areas. Using compost negates the need for fertilizer.

Step 4

Choose any other gardening methods that will be used to create the backyard oasis. Use lasagna gardening, as it uses compostable material without the need for a compost bin. Try square foot gardening to get the most use out of small spaces. Succession planting allows a person to grow food conservatively throughout the season, by planting some food each week through spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Notebook
  • Pencil
  • Internet access
  • Reference books
  • Compost bin
  • Containers
  • Garden beds
  • Trellises
  • Fencing


  • BackyardGardener
  • This Old House: Backyard from Scratch

Who Can Help

  • Virginia Copperative Extension
  • Mother Earth News: Compost Made Easy
  • Container Gardening Guide: Container Gardening Tips
  • Square Foot Gardening Foundation
  • Lasagna Gardening
Keywords: plan a garden, backyard garden, plan backyard garden

About this Author

Shannon Buck is a freelance writer residing in the small town of Milford, Maine. Her work has appeared on several sites including, where she writes The Green Mom column. She has written on many subjects, including home improvement, gardening, low-income living, writing and homeschooling.