Herbs are a gardener’s best friend. They’re easy to maintain, have a wide range of uses, and can be grown in a number of creative ways. Herb garden design ideas can be as imaginative as their maker and there are many that not only function well for growing plants, but are pleasing to the eye as well!
Photo licensed via Creative Commons from Flickr user Haldane Martin
Container herb gardens
There are many artistic and botanical reasons that herbs and containers go hand in hand. The great advantage to growing herbs in containers is mobility. If the original location provided for them isn’t giving enough sun, no problem! Move them elsewhere! This is difficult to do with an established garden bed.
Container growing also makes herb garden locations practical and easy. Herbs can grow in windowsills, window boxes, or in pots just outside your home for easy harvesting. Practically every herb in the book will grow well in a container, just be sure to give them the proper soil and pay attention to watering needs.
Another wonderful thing about container gardening with herbs is the infinite creativity that can go into your herb garden design. Containers can be fastened to walls to grow herbs vertically, they can be fashioned out of vintage or artistic found objects (just be sure there are no toxins!), or pots can be artfully decorated or arranged to suit your own specific style.
Photo licensed via Creative Commons from Flickr user Katiemonkey
Raised beds are great for annual herbs that need rich, loose soil. Like container gardens, raised beds can be placed almost anywhere for the convenience of the gardener. Since raised beds are filled with soil instead of using the existing soil in the ground, they can go almost anywhere there’s proper sun, even on top of the driveway! Raised beds can come in every shape and size, they can be tall, for easy maintenance and harvest, tiny for urban gardeners, or large and fancy, in fun shapes and colors.
With the spread of ideas on Pinterest, the herb spiral is gaining in popularity for growing herbs. Not only is it beautiful and sure to please your homeowner association, but it’s functional too! The spiral is great for gardeners who are herb and vegetable gardening in small spaces, and provides many microclimates for the plants, so each herb can benefit from the close quarters. The vertical nature of herb spirals also make it easy to harvest while saving on precious garden space. Herb spirals also conserve water for those living in drier climates, and easily drain soil for those living in wetter climates.
Photo licensed via Creative Commons from Flickr user amberdc
How to build an herb spiral:
Use rocks or bricks to lay out the outermost wall of your spiral, then fill with a layer of soil and begin placing rocks or bricks inside for the inner spiral. Continue adding soil and rock layers intermittently until the inner spiral is as tall as you’d like for it to be.
Plant woody, hardy herbs that prefer drier soil, like rosemary or lavender, in the top of the spiral. Herbs that love water, like watercress and mint, will be located at the bottom of the spiral, where most of the water will end up after it drains. If you’d like for your herb spiral to come back year after year without any work, plant perennial or self-seeding herbs.
Another popular new herb gardening trend is the use of buried pots to grow herbs. The nice thing about this style of gardening is having the appearance of herbs growing out of the ground, but with the benefits of container gardens.
Buried pots can go anywhere, without any need to till or build up the fertility of the soil. Another great reason to grow herbs in buried pots is to keep them from spreading all over your property. Invasive herbs, such as mint, can be planted in large pots and buried in the soil to make the appearance of a garden without worry of the rest of your plants being crowded out. These buried pots can be artfully arranged along the edge of a walkway to beautify your yard.
Herbs are easy to incorporate into your landscaping, to add beauty and privacy as well as food for your family. Woody herbs, such as rosemary and lavender, can be used in place of shrubs along property lines or in front gardens. Creeping thyme can be used as ground cover in between stones on a patio. Smaller herbs, such as chives or parsley, can be dotted in between large flowering beauties, or used to line your walkway. There are infinite ways in which herbs can help to beautify your property while putting food in your belly!
Photo licensed via Creative Commons from flickr user VIUDeepbay
Herb gardens can take on any shape and form to meet the artistic style and needs of each individual gardener. They’re
adaptable and easy to care for, leaving time for you to dream up with an herb garden design you love!