My Beginner’s plan for Garden Planning

brown wooden frame near green leafed plants

By Christina

How to plan a garden for beginners. 

Planning my garden has been a massive undertaking, and it’s not even spring yet! I panicked before I began researching the layouts and what plants I wanted to plant.

Aside from having a garden aesthetically pleasing, there is much more to a garden. 

First I had to think of the kind of garden I wanted.

Since I’m in France, I decided to go with the grain rather than against it. 

This led me down the magical road of the potager garden.

Small garden planning ideas. 

Potager: pronounced (po-toe-jay)

A potager garden is very French and goes with the French lifestyle. It is a way of gardening done in groups rather than rows. 

 Traditionally, the potage at the chateaus were close to the kitchen, so one could simply plan the dinner based on what looked good in the garden. 

Or what was in season. 

 

This approach to gardening brings beauty to food and makes a direct connection from the garden to the table. 

This is a great, and healthy way to connect with your food, and ultimately find pleasure. 

 

potted green plant

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Small garden design

The way I planned my garden was to follow the following steps. I laid out a detailed outline to organize myself and ensure that I maintained the garden of my desires. 

Here is the outline I created to help me plan out the garden. 

ps. stay tuned for the next part of this post, the application!

🪴Create an enclosure

Since I’m dealing with a ton of wind and some rain, I had to think long and hard about this.

While I am leaning more toward a covering, I’m also looking into using chicken wire, netting, and evergreen hedges.

The box planters will provide some enclosures, but I’m going for more of a relaxed garden here. 

🪴 Close to the home

Another translation of potager is literally “for the soup pot”. The purpose of having the garden so close is so you can harvest regularly, tend when necessary, and keep seasonal veggies on hand. Of course,

I will admit my garden will be a bit of a hike, but alas I had to go where the sun is. 

🪴Include blooming plants 

Traditionally the French will plant edible and nonedible flowers in the garden. This is another natural way of attracting the “right” kind of bugs so the pollinating happens. 

Stay tuned for another natural way the French attract other kinds of bugs and repel the bad ones.

🪴Growing in raised beds

The raised beds are to help create the pathways.

I do love the English gardens where you have small plants about the same height, and everything is so neaty and orderly.

However, I am not quite like Martha Stewart or the English in that regard.

While I have the dream of having a mini, very mini, super mini version of the gardens of Versailles, I’ll have to settle for a modest garden. 

🪴Plan for pathways. 

To help keep things organized and to keep from tramping down or compacting the soil where I grow my plants I am creating pathways. 

These pathways will be wide enough for me and a rather wide basket. If you are working with a flat surface, I suggest that you make your pathways wide enough for a wheelbarrow. 

About three feet is a good width. 

I have decided to either use pebbles or very short not fussy grass to keep the pathways neat and from getting muddy after rain or watering.

 

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How to plan garden layout. 

Alright, I have the layout ready to go now I need to make sure that I create a plan for the garden. 

Sadly, you can’t just say “That spot there!” and be done with it. 

Tip 🪴: Pick a spot that has at least three hours of sunlight. Determine where the strongest sunlight is, if this is where you want to grow tomatoes then you’re going to want to plant them there. 

I am fortunate to have my garden up on a hill with only the sun and the heavens looking down upon it.

This leads me to the next part of my outline. 

Raised or not raised beds? 

Aesthetically, I love raised beds, in addition to that I have to take into consideration some serious Normandy weather. 

While the summertime is pretty mild we have some strong wind storms. Very similar to what I experienced in Portland. 

So, I started looking into garden houses and coverings.

But I found netting to be the cheapest solution mixed with evergreen hedges. 

Understanding and choosing the style of the garden I was looking for really helped to plan for the circumstances such as weather, and sun. 

After considering the raised beds I also looked into what I should plant together in said boxes.

My boxes will be divided into nine little sections. Each section will have its own veggie, keeping them separated from each other. 

For instance, in box #1 I’ll have lettuce, pickles, and cucumbers. Here are the other combinations I am looking to plant. 

Box #2 garlic and squash

Box #3 lettuce and garlic

Box #4 onion, tomatoes.

dream garden planning

an example of what mine could look like, if I really put in elbow grease. 

(Photo Source)

What to grow? 

In choosing the plants I wanted to plant I gave it a lot of thought. I wanted to grow things I knew that I would eat, things I knew I could take care of, and things I use all the time.

I use onion and garlic in practically everything. And my son eats salads like a good French kid. 

So, as you can see from the box layout planning above, I am going to plant onions, garlic, some kind of squash lettuce, and herbs. (though the herbs my be done indoors)

 

I am not too worried about bugs, and I won’t be using any pesticides. More on this later, but I’ve learned from a lot of French farmers, home gardeners, etc how to use a natural bug repellent. 

 

 

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All this planning and all these preparations have made me feel more equipped and ready to pull on my overalls and get to digging. 

I am not going to lie, the current state of my garden is just embarrassing. I definitely have my work cut out for me. 

But I shall overcome this.

I shall when the weather is better and I’m not so worried about being blown away from the wind and getting down and dirty. 

I may not wear my UGG boots, but I’ll have something on that is not as expensive but just as cute.

Off to Jardiland, I go. 

Ah bientôt!

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Hi, I’m Christina

how i'm managing my anxiety

I’m the coffee-addicted creative behind Christina Q. Writes. As a full-time writer and lover of history, I share insights into my crazy wonderful life.  Christina Q. Writes is where I share tips and advice to help you live simply and in the moment, and do it your way. Don’t be afraid to laugh at my mistakes!