layout of a potager in an irregular space

sandra_christieOctober 25, 2007


I'm new to this, having only gardened veg. in two raised beds this year, but I have the potager bug and am ripping out my lawn to satisfy this madness. HOWEVER, I will not have a nice rectangle or square shape to work with. I imagined a nice grid system of raised beds with paths bisecting them, and all leading to something wonderful in the center (sundial, fountain, etc.)

I DO like straight lines for order, and then I plant madly within those limits. My question is: how do I get the organized layout I'm looking for within this irregular shape? I feel as though I'm trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

Any help or ideas would be so appreciated, thanks, Sandra in Maryland

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Oh I think straight lines are so boring. Think of a potager as something tucked around the edges of your yard. it should be functional not necessarily square.

The first thing I look for is sunlight. Where is it and how many hours do I have it and what is the best veggie to plant there. I have a small yard so have to be creative and stick large pots in areas to maximize space. I also have very poor soil so I don't have a large area to till up and plant in rows.

I think potagers CAN be pretty but I think functionality comes first.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 8:17PM
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THanks for responding naplesgardener,
I like your idea of tucking in around the edges, and I will investigate this as I believe it to be my best option, BUT, I did have the formal potager in my mind so I guess I'm going to have to get over that, and work with what I have.
Does anyone have any pictures of potagers done in irregular spaces?
Sandra in MD

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 11:21AM
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wolfe15136(z6 PA)

I'll try to take some pictures this weekend of mine. I have two 3 x 4 ft raised boxes tucked into the south corner of my very small urban garden. The garden itself is vaguely L-shaped.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 11:08AM
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Thanks wolfe15136,
If you can get to it that would be great, I'll check back.
sandra in MD

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 2:48PM
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lyonsy(10 CA)


This is a CA Native Garden I designed for a client...using an undulating low wall made from re-cycled could make beds in this way and not feel the need to have a straight line!!


    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 10:26PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Sandra, I've been gardening within those same straight lines for the past 20 years, but the planting within tends to be a little wild. My wooden frames have been rotting for the past 4 or 5 years and it's finally time to rebuild. I've been sketching on paper and came up with something I hope will work. I'd like to create a half moon shape like the linked doormat. I want to extend my potager area up to the wooden fence in the background, so that it includes the flower bed that runs along the fence. I'm thinking about creating 6 raised beds ... 4 would be square or rectangle, and the other 2 which would be on the curved side would each have 2 straight sides on the inside and one large curve along the outside (where the watering can is sitting and at the corner just behind the bird feeder). I want to put an arbor between those 2 and let that be the entrance to the garden, even though it'll be accessible from other areas. I'm going to make the garden a little bigger, but that's mainly to accommodate wider paths. The ones I have now are only 16" and that doesn't cut it anymore. I want the main one to be 3' wide and all the other 2'.

This is what the garden looks like now. (We've been doing a home remodel the past 18 months, so the yard is a mess. Things are in pots waiting for permanent homes in new beds that I'm just now beginning to dig.)

I'm getting rid of the metal pipe/PVC trellis. It's worked beautifully, but it's an eyesore when it's not covered with tomato vines. I'm thinking about forming the new raised beds with bricks. Not sure how that's going to work, but it's all I've come up with so far.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 1:48PM
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Thanks for sharing your photo. I would be interested in seeing what you come up with as you go along. I think your potager looks great!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 11:30PM
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todancewithwolves(Z9 CA)

I would get powdered chalk or flour and mark out spaces to give you a general idea. Your project sounds like fun and there are so many ways you could design a potager with irregular shapes. Where there's a will there's a way :-D

I don't have a backyard so I had to make due with an area on the side of the driveway.


Early Summer



    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 9:56AM
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lyonsy(10 CA)


That is a delightful yard.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 12:28AM
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I saw a really charming layout in a book (sorry--don't remember the title or anything else) that was a "sunrise" shape--a half circle with rays radiating out. The flat part of the half circle can either be the entrance to the garden or go at the back (a great place for that sundial or birdbath!), the rays make the paths, and the beds go between the rays. The rays can be straight or curved and as long or short as needed.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 2:33PM
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While technically not a potager, my son's co-housing project in Portland, Oregon has an interesting raised bed garden which has a partial sun-ray effect. Unfortunately, you'll have to quickly scan through several other pictures, including renovations, to get to the from-the-roof views of the garden beds in autumn. It has been gorgeous, filled with vegetables, strawberries and some flowers, when we've visited!

Here is a link that might be useful: Peninsula Park Commons

    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 3:50PM
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I saw a potager in a magazine that was basicly a very large rectangle, with stepping stones intersecting it. The intersecting paths were curvy and made a wavy cross, with a clear center area that had a couple of chairs in it. The overall effect was very nice, and the garden was well-planned with mini focal points at each bend in the path to lead you along.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2007 at 6:31PM
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I haven't checked back here in quite a while, and what a NICE surprise to find all these great suggestions!!! I guess I'm just afraid to start, but recently I went out and just began laying things out. I will post pics. when I have something more definite. Thank you so, so much for the pics. I definitely learn best by looking at pics. and I think all the gardens pictured here are just beautiful.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 3:26PM
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I have an irregular shaped potager, too. If it's a formal look you want, you could work in small, triangular beds. They can fit into a bunch of places.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 12:14AM
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