Garden design widths

kale-bed3

When designing your garden it’s handy to know what are good measurements for the vegetable bed width and path width. Both will depend on your available space and the design shape you wish to use.

The ideal width of your bed will be if you can reach to the centre of the the bed from all sides. A good rule of thumb for a ground level bed is 1.2 metres.

The best width for a path will need to be able to accommodate a wheelbarrow. If you are designing for a school or aged care facility you may want to make sure a wheelchair can be used on the path. 90cm to a metre is a good width.

The Permaculture Path to Sustainability

The Permaculture Path to Sustainability illustrates the steps we can take to transition to a life with a smaller footprint on the earth.

When I was completing my Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC), I wanted a simple way to plan the future of our house and garden. I was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the different ideas buzzing around in my head. I needed to capture these and create a clear plan of attack.

I started by writing down all of the elements found in a typical permaculture garden and divided them into different categories. The categories are food production, fauna, practices, flora, energy, water, and waste.

I then sorted the elements out in to levels. Each level reflects an increase in the level of difficulty, commitment and/or expense.

  1. Level 1 is what you may find in an average suburban backyard.
  2. Level 2 are practices and elements found in a more sustainable household. Perhaps the owners have been influenced by a book or gardening show on TV, or have been involved in a PermaBlitz. Only a few of the categories are closed loops.
  3.  Level 3 are practices and elements which are found in households dedicated to resilience, self-sufficiency, and sustainability. The owners view their property as a system. These households may be completely off-the-grid.

I love to see concepts come alive as a diagram, so I created a colourful table to illustrate “The Permaculture Path to Sustainability”:

Level 3
Food Production
  • Vegetables beds (with annuals)
  • Fruit trees
  • No-dig garden
  • Mandela and key hole beds
  • Herb spiral
  • Seed saving
  • Bush tucker (native) plants
  • Exotic edible plants
  • Nut trees
  • Perennials
Fauna
  • Native plants
  • Bird bath
  • Nesting box
  • Messy space and logs (for lizards etc)
  • Bee hive
  • Chickens
  • Fodder plants
Practices
  • Mulching
  • Companion plants
  • Crop rotation
  • Crop succession
  • Greenhouse
  • Green manure
  • Shade house
Flora
  • Native plants
  • Wind break
  • Fire break
  • Trellising
Energy
  • Energy efficient bulbs and appliances
  • Insulation
  • Solar power hot water and energy
  • Wood fired oven
Water
  • Buckets
  • Gray water hose
  • Drip system
  • Water tank
  • Grey water system
  • Pond
  • Swales and rain pits
Waste
  • Reusable containers & bags
  • Recycling
  • Compost
  • Bokashi
  • Worm farm
  • Composting toilet
  • Living mulch

Where is your household on the “Permaculture Path to Sustainability”?

Are you doing well in one category and neglecting another?