Many of those who have been gardening for several years and who use the square
foot method have gained a great appreciation for the method. They have enjoyed the
simplicity, the uniformity and the organization.
Square foot gardening is a joy and in some cases an addiction. Perhaps those who
have used this method have experimented with different spacings, different dividers,
different structural devices and have finalized upon what works best for them.
Perhaps they start all their own seeds. Perhaps they buy most of their own plants.
But whichever they have chosen it has been through experience.
Once a person settles upon a "way" they don't often change or experiment
anymore. They become set. They lose the sense of adventure that they once had. But
what was it that brought you to square foot gardening. Perhaps it was the sense of
adventure to try something new, something a little out of the mainstream.
The average square foot garden is placed along a fence or perhaps out in the
middle of the back yard. Maybe your garden is placed in a corner or perhaps its a box on
Square foot gardening is a great preserver of space. If you keep the garden small
then perhaps you have yard space left over.
I am from the school that believes that a yard and garden should be low
maintenance. Square foot gardening fits nicely into this school of thought.
Also in this school of thought is the concept of curves and less grass in the overall
I have often thought how can your typical square foot garden fit into the overall
view of the whole landscape. The whole landscape is your other beds and borders, your
hardscapes such as sidewalks and corners of garages etc..
A square foot garden can nicely compliment curved beds and hardscapes through
some unique placements of blocks throughout the entire yard.
If your yard is a "postage stamp" then you simply use what you have and enjoy
the space you are given. Sometimes the ingenious use of small spaces becomes your
most attractive gardens.
To make mowing easier and to create an inviting landscape try incorporating
curves into the landscape. Create beds across driveways and around corners of the house
Within these beds you can place any sized square foot garden block. You can use
mulch or stepping stones to lead you to the block.
It is not even necessary to have a visually defined block. If you simply dig out the
area that will be known as the block and fill it with Mel's mix you are on your way to
having a beautiful and productive garden block right in a landscaped bed.
It could be quite attractive to place flowers of different textures and
complimentary colors strategically placed within each block and the surrounding
You can create interesting blocks of mixtures of bulbs and annuals only or
perhaps a lily block with perennials. You can create a formal block surrounded by
boxwood with your favorite mixtures of annuals and perennials.
Create a xeriscape in an area that gets a lot of sun and little water. You can create
oblong sized blocks as well as tiers. Tiers do not have to be limited to only strawberries
either. You could have herbs or cascading phlox. Create a shade block under a tree. It
can have hostas, bleeding hearts and any other shade loving plant.
You are not limited in the uses within square foot gardening. Your blocks can be
defined or undefined. You can divide them or not divide them. You can plant
ANYTHING you want in your blocks.
Your blocks don't necessarily have to be all together. Space them out all over
your yard. Incorporate them within existing flower or shrub beds.
Create new beds using various styles of vertical frames, rock structure and
statuary. Make your square foot garden blocks compliment the rest of your landscape.
Don't be afraid to try something new. Experiment a little. Don't be afraid to fail. Don't
settle for what you have now. Gardening is about change. Perhaps that is what we all
love about gardening most. There's always something to do and it's always changing.
About the author: Patrick J. Prickett, Ogden, Utah. Has been a square foot gardener since
1985. In the nursery and landscape business. Likes to incorporate color and texture
within the garden. Enjoys landscape design.
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