How to Design a Potager Garden

How to Design a Potager Garden

Folks typically say to me that they’d like to develop their very own meals at dwelling, however {that a} vegetable plot would look misplaced of their backyard. They think about ruler-straight rows and ugly muddy gaps the place vegetation have been dug up, however I at all times inform them that they will have their cake (nicely, veg) and eat it too – the reply is to create a potager.

Ideas for Making a Stunning Potager Backyard

A potager is just a vegetable plot which follows the ideas of backyard design to create an space which isn’t solely decorative, however productive too. The details to contemplate are rhythm, line, colour and texture, and it’s vital to introduce a focus to carry the entire design collectively.

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Arch of bean flowers at the centre of a potager garden

That focus will be something you want – a container overflowing with decorative kale, an obelisk or archway dripping with beans, a towering globe artichoke – and pathways or traces of vegetation can be utilized to assist draw the attention towards it. Rhythm is finest achieved with repetition of the identical plant at intervals throughout the design, so should you’re rising plenty of a specific sort of vegetable or herb, as an alternative of getting one massive clump of them, dot them round as accents or use them as edging. This has the added benefit of serving to to confuse insect pests so they’re much less more likely to assault your crops.

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Edging beds or vegetable plot boundaries with low lavender or field hedges, cordon-trained berrying vegetation or step-over apple bushes gives invaluable everlasting construction within the backyard and helps to realize the sense of rhythm throughout the design. Alternatively, you possibly can use kitchen favorites reminiscent of cut-and-come-again lettuces or compact curly-leaved parsley to make them simpler to reap repeatedly.

Selecting Vegetation and Varieties for Potagers

Colour is an apparent consideration in a decorative vegetable backyard, and because of each nature and selective breeding there are an infinite variety of colour mixtures to select from. Contrasting colours can create an actual sense of drama – consider the white midribs and inexperienced leaves of Swiss chard, or attempt inserting crimson cabbage subsequent to the widespread inexperienced cabbage. Decorative vegetation, that are normally included in a potager, can actually come into their very own right here – orange calendula, pink echinacea, golden sunflowers, electrical blue cornflowers, and nasturtiums in yellow, orange and crimson. Many are helpful companion vegetation, and they’re actually much-appreciated for his or her nectar by bugs, which inspires pollination of the entire crops. See our article on Flowers for Vegetable Gardens for additional inspiration.

Cabbages and flowers

The feel of vegetation is commonly ignored, but it surely is a vital element of design. As with colour, contrasting shapes give the most effective impact – the skinny, upright leaves of chives look nice subsequent to the oval leaves and extra rounded behavior of sage, and the feathery leaves of carrots or fennel are the right foil for wrinkly kale.

Potager Backyard Format

Shapes for the beds themselves will be assorted – sq., rectangular, triangular, L-shaped and even cross-shaped – and the probabilities for the patterns inside are nearly limitless. Overlook about conventional rows and let your creativeness fly – diagonals, zigzags and circles all work nicely, and checkerboard patterns can look fairly putting – considered one of my very own favourite mixtures for that is alternate crimson and inexperienced types of lettuce. Formal, geometric, and symmetrical designs assist to create a way of order, and the gardens of the French Renaissance present a specific wealth of design concepts on this fashion. Celtic patterns is usually a helpful place to begin too, however attempt to not make the design too sophisticated – easy is finest, significantly in a small area. In the event you plan to incorporate herbs, one can find additional inspiration in our two half article on Planning a New Herb Backyard.

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L-shaped potager garden beds

As a distinction, cottage gardens within the UK historically combined flowers with greens in an off-the-cuff fashion of romantic abundance which is little affected when greens are harvested, as shut planting implies that the neighbouring vegetation are likely to unfold to fill any gaps.

Don’t neglect the non-plant parts of the backyard – paths will be manufactured from nearly any materials, however gravel, brick and bark all look good and are pretty low-maintenance. Plant helps, plant pots, rainwater barrels and composters can all be engaging too, and needn’t break the bank. Recycled and hand-made merchandise have a appeal all of their very own, and as an alternative of hiding them away in the back of the shed, why not make them an integral a part of your design on your lovely, scrumptious potager?

In fact, the most effective factor a few potager is that a lot of the crops must be rotated yearly, so yearly you get the enjoyable of making a brand new design! Our Backyard Planner might help right here – all the images from this text are from individuals who have deliberate their gardens utilizing it and the automated crop rotation options is usually a nice assist. No matter methodology you utilize, a well-planned potager backyard is bound to please not solely the attention however the style buds too!

By Ann Marie Hendry. Pictures from Rodney Deal, Gretta Bredin and Karen Dale.

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