Compact Rotational Gardening with Raised Beds

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Picture of Compact Rotational Gardening with Raised Beds
This instructable will show you how to get started growing your own crops using raised beds in your garden!

This project was inspired by the need to grow our own fruit and vegetables, whilst efficiently utilising the space available in our back garden. If you have ever wondered how to go about growing your own food at home, then hopefully the next few pages will give you some ideas...

So why grow your own?
- You get fresh fruit & veg, no added preservatives
- Save time & money buying from shops
- Change for a healthy lifestyle

Our house was built on an area where there used to be local fishponds, so naturally the ground is moist all year round and turns into a bog over winter. To make things worse, the soil is mostly clay and builders rubble which are hardly your ideal growing conditions!

So we decided that a good solution would be to make raised beds for growing.

Advantages of Raised Beds:
- They're super easy to construct
- Clearly define your growing areas
- Plant into new healthy soil mix

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Step 1: Design Layout

Picture of Design Layout
As opposed to the traditional box shape layout of raised beds, we wanted to create something a little more artistic, simple yet functional. Our design featured a hexagonal layout that was suited to fit within a 6m diameter circle.

Of course it's unlikely that everyone reading this has exactly a 6m area to work with, so you may want to scale up/down accordingly. 

This is easy to do though as the hexagonal design is some what universal in a sense that it's easy to apply to an area of any size...

1. Think of the outer boards as full length (3/3)
2. The boards either side of the opening to the centre (2/3)
3. Finally the inner boards (1/3)

By dividing wooden planks into thirds, this allowed for all materials to be used efficiently from a total of 8 boards.

The 'keyhole' shape conveniently allows access to the centre for watering and general maintenance of the beds.

Here's a list of what will be planted in a compact space:
- Radish
- Spring Onions
- Strawberries
- Rainbow Chard
- Thyme
- Garlic
- Fennel
- Mixed salad baby leaves
- Rocket
- Mizuna
- 'Salad bowl' lettuce
- Beetroot
- French Parsley
- Red Onions
- Carrots
- White Onions
- Dill
- Cabbage
- Potatoes
- Purple Sprouting Cabbage
- Parsnips
- Sweetcorn
- Broad beans

NOTE: It may be worth thinking about which areas of your garden get the sun the most.
Some things you plant will prefer damper, shaded areas e.g. pototatoes. Where as strawberries, tomatoes enjoy as much sunlight as they can get.
ei3 years ago
Exactly what I was looking for! Thank you :-)
This is on my to do list as soon as I get my own place rather then renting. The garden looks excellent and thank you on the step by step instructions.
Bill Mollison, the permaculture god, is smiling on this garden. I have seen many people grow large amounts of food in small places using this same basic shape: the keyhole. It works, and is beautiful to boot! I hope you continue growing your own food and inspiring all of us to do the same! GREAT JOB!!
tim_n4 years ago
Inspiration to me in my hour of need = ) thanks!
Ghost Wolf4 years ago
Give this person the 5 star treatment!!! (or just give the person a cookie)
rriojas3334 years ago
this is an excellent design, the only thing i would do differently is make it completely round to maximize efficiency of area. otherwise, beautiful.
scmtngirl4 years ago
So funny that I stumbled upon this because I am currently building something almost identical in my front yard! The exceptions are that mine will be octagonal and I will not have an entry point because the bed widths will be narrow enough to just step into the open middle part. I'm using 1"x8"x48" used redwood fence boards that I bought from someone on Craigslist for $1 each. I plan to use metal strapping to secure the joints since not all my angles will be the same (not a perfect octagon in order to fit within a limited space in the yard), which would make it difficult to miter them correctly. My yard is also sloped, so just leveling out the space has been challenging, but I hope to finish it within the next few weeks. Thanks for the great instructable! Yours looks very beautiful.
Penny4 years ago
Loving the design! I don't think it'd work in my backyard (too teeny and narrow) but it's a great modification of the typical raised bed. It'd be interesting to see how this design would be affected by plants needing varying depths of ground (root veggies vs. leafy greens, for example).
Beautiful garden!
Moralito4 years ago
 Thinking it could be raised and laddered to use the bottom area covered with black plastic for mushroom exotics and storage of garden tools.
Alexdlp (author)  Moralito4 years ago
 Ah cool ideas there! :D
Moralito4 years ago
 it could help with pests too.
Very nice work. I am impressed with the design layout you used. Very unique and quite an eye catcher.
Have you ever used any of the programs out there (like Garden Planner or another of the like kind) when you plan out your garden layouts? Or was this all designed by hand.
I must say it looks professionally done.
Alexdlp (author)  LonnieGranillo4 years ago
Thanks, this was a hand drawn design.
I haven't used any gardening programs apart from messing about with Google SketchUp which I know isn't specifically designed for gardening but still :)
Garden Planner looks interesting... it must be useful to visualise exactly what you're going to plant in each area :)
I haven't used Google SketchUp. Looks interesting though. I am more prone to the drag and drop design. *lol* Not that skilled in drawing myself. Thanks for the reply!
paulsbiz4 years ago
Great idea and well presented. Well done.
Would you like make another one in my back garden ;-)
Alexdlp (author) 4 years ago
Thanks for all the positive feedback!
Fruit & veg seem to be growing really quickly at the moment...
Might put up some more pictures next week ;)
khan884 years ago
Wow; looks like a combo of keyhole & raised bed gardening.  Beautiful.  Makes me reconsider my 'square' raised bed.  Your design would hold more & it is visually interesting. 
I Like this. 
artworker4 years ago
You are a Genius! I will vote for you.
lofgren4 years ago
Looks awesome, well done!
Creativeman4 years ago
Excellent design and execution! Cman
tbird414 years ago
What a great 'ible!  Nicely written too.  Good job!