How to Grow Outdoor Herbs


Planting your own outdoor herb garden gives you a summer and fall supply of seasoning for your kitchen. Choosing herbs to grow at home can be overwhelming due to the many varieties available. Take a look at your favorite recipes and choose the herbs you use most. Rosemary, sage, basil, mint, thyme, dill and parsley are just a few simple herbs for the beginning gardener.

Step 1

Draw out a plan for your herb garden. Divide annual and perennial herbs into different sections of the plot, and place taller herb varieties in the northern side of the garden. Mark the necessary spacing for each plant on your diagram.

Step 2

Dig up your herb garden bed to a depth of 12 inches. Cover the bottom of the hole with a 1-inch layer of crushed stones. Herbs require well-drained soil and will die if their roots sit in water. The layer of stones will ensure adequate drainage in your garden.

Step 3

Incorporate 20 to 30 percent compost into the soil. If your soil is particularly dense or prone to waterlogging, add a few shovels of sand as well. Return the modified soil to the bed.

Step 4

Dig holes for each herb according to your plan. Each hole should be slightly larger than the container your starter plant came in. If your garden borders a wall or fence, begin planting along that border first and work your way out.

Step 5

Turn the container of your first herb upside down with your hand placed over the soil to catch the plant. Place the root ball into the hole and fill in with the removed soil. Repeat for each herb in your garden.

Step 6

Water your garden thoroughly after transplanting. Water regularly during dry spells to keep the soil as moist as a wrung-out sponge.

Step 7

Place a 4-inch layer of mulch over your perennial herbs after the first frost of winter. Leave the mulch in place until you notice new growth in spring. Mulching will protect the shallow roots from winter damage.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not fertilize your herb garden. Excess fertilization negatively impacts the flavor of your herbs.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Crushed stones
  • Compost
  • Sand
  • Herb starter plants
  • Mulch


  • West Virginia University: Growing Herbs in the Home Garden
  • Organic Herb Gardening
Keywords: outdoor herb garden, planting herbs, growing herbs

About this Author

Lydia Stephens began writing professionally in 2009. She has written online for Nile Guides, and various other Web sites and has been published in "Stringing Magazine" and "Xiamen Wave." Stephens played competitive soccer for 19 years, has been weight lifting since 2007 and enjoys running, biking and sailing. She has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of Texas.