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How to Create a Herb Garden

By Axis Fuksman-Kumpa January 12, 2023

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numerous raised bed to grow herbs in a small backyard
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An herb garden is a great functional addition to a yard. They are relatively easy to care for and it's rewarding to use something you have grown!

There are great indoor herb garden kits that can help you plant herbs and grow your favorites in your kitchen, out a window or in any small space! However, in this article we will focus on the outdoor herb garden and show some examples from recent Tilly design plans.

When it comes to planning an outdoor herb garden or herb bed, one of the most important factors is placement within your yard. Does your herb garden get the right sun? Water? Drainage? Before you get started it’s important to consider these factors for your herb garden planning.

herb garden

Plan Your Veggie & Herb Garden

Think about it before you jump in! This way you can see the entire picture and it doesn’t matter how many phases it takes to implement, it will make sense in the end. Your herb design must into consideration its surroundings so that it can thrive.

an herb garden planter off the side of a patio and fire pit area in a backayrd

Sun

It’s important that the location you chose has at least six hours of sunlight daily, 8 hours if you’re growing sun lovers like tomatoes and peppers in your outdoor herb garden.

Herb gardening with lemon balm, mediterranean herbs and purple basil

Drainage

If your garden is going into the ground, it’s very important to make sure you have good drainage so water doesn’t pool and saturate your plants or foster damp conditions. Before you plant, we recommend loosening the soil and adding fertilizer to help drainage and help the roots.

An herb garden that grow happily next to an ADU in a small space

Air Flow

Make sure you have good air circulation and well draining soil. Other than a midnight peter rabbit attack, this biggest threat to a veggie garden might be molds and funguses. Keep these at bay by making sure there is adequate airflow and well drained soil to dry wet leaves and soil between waterings.

An herb garden that grow happily next to an ADU in a small space

Watering Your Herb Garden

For a vegetable or herb garden it's best to test it to see if it needs water. If the plants are wilting or drooping that's a good sign they are thirsty.

You can also test your soil to see if it needs watering. Stick a finger and inch or two into the dirt and it feels dry, it's time to water. If not, you can wait. Generally they say herb gardens need about an inch a water a week, but test until you start to get a feel for your plants in their particular location.

If it rains, your plants will need less water certain weeks so monitor your weather and take that into account.

Also remember that plants will take more water to get established in the beginning. If a plant is starting as seeds you should give it a small amount of water a few times of day to get it started.

If you plant herbs or vegetables in a pot, make sure there are drainage holes so they don't drown! The benefit of pots is if the weather gets too cold or there's a torrential downpour, you can bring indoors.

an herb garden along a privacy fence with tender perennials

Best Water Practices

For new gardeners, it's good to know that it is best to water early in the morning when it's not as hot as midday. This will allow for the water to soak into the plants roots instead of evaporating immediately - and wasting water.

Again, remember to not overwater. So if it rains one day, you can safely skip watering your herb garden.

an herb garden and culinary herbs in wooden raised planters with high fence around

Arranging Your Herbs

Do some research before you choose herbs for your garden. It's important to note the growing conditions for everything you plant. How much sun and shade do they require? The mint family can do great in the shade whereas basil will want 6-8 hours of sun. What can be planted in the same pot? What can be planted close to each other, under another plants shade? Or what should be separated. Different herbs have different requirements.

Also, know your soil and make admendments based on that to help your herbs grow and thrive.

a raised bed for growing herbs

Herb Garden Placement

Remember to keep you herb garden and herb plants safe from any potential animals who may want to snack on your garden! A fence around your herbs will generally do the trick.

If it's a large garden make sure that a watering source can reach your the space. Making ten trips to and from a hose to your growing herbs will be a big pain!

Also, make sure that the garden is easily accessible to your house so that it's easy to harvest, water or grab a handful of basil for your latest Italian recipe!

herb garden in a raised bed outside a kitchen windowsill with a full garden for shade lovers in the same side yard

Caring for Your Herb Garden

Remember that an herb garden - or any garden involves a little trial and error - especially for new gardeners.

Check the soil frequently to make sure you are watering your soil enough.

Don't forget to weed your garden. Weeds are pesky and will overtake a garden quickly so stay on top of them.

Introduce new herbs when you are comfortable and have fun. Watchingeverything herbs grow can be a fun family activity!

a large herb garden with many herbs and a raised bed for a variety of annual herbs, potted herbs, herbs like rosemary

Harvest Herbs

Don't forget to harvest your herbs. Sometimes this can feel like a lot of upkeep, but you'll want to stay on top of it. When you harvest herbs they will often grow back stronger and healthier!

Growing your own herbs is rewarding and can make the best meal even better. Tilly loves incorporating herb garden design plans into our client's yard. If you feel like you need help with your herb garden placement, just give us a shout and we're happy to help!

numerous raised bed to grow herbs in a small backyard
an herb garden in the far corner of a baackyard with perennial herbs and other favorite herbs
a fenced in herb garden with separate herbs in their own container
an herb garden in a side yard next to a sunny windowsill
a great place to grow herbs in this cottage inspired herb garden
an aerial look of the layout of a backyard with a herb garden with fresh herbs and other plants

Read more about: Gardening Tips, Tilly Portfolio