You’ve probably spotted a circular garden design if you’ve ever traveled to a botanical park to enjoy the plants and flowers. Not just for formal spaces, circle gardens are ideal for home gardeners looking to create functionality and beauty in their space.
How do you make a circle design at home and put it to work for you, whether you’re growing ornamentals or veggies?
This article will explain what to prepare, how to design a circular garden, and why it’s an excellent choice for homesteaders.
What Is a Circle Garden?
For centuries, gardens have been a main focal point of the exterior of a home. Since the early 19th century, many people have strived to perfect outdoor geometrical spaces that would look as good as a painting.
The garden was thought of as an extension of the house’s architecture. The idea was to extend the design features of an estate to the garden area, which was traditionally wild and not organized.
Over time, people added fountains, statues, cottages, and other decorations. Nowadays, the circle trend is not only about enhancing the look of your garden, it’s also about making it functional for your crops, such as vegetables, flowers, and other plants.
The concept of a circle gardening design is to have paths leading to a center point from the exterior of the circle. For example, there could be four paths heading north, east, south, and west. Or maybe one path leading to the center of a small circle.
For manual work, this design is ideal because it reduces the distance you need to walk to access your crops or enjoy your flowers. You have access from multiple angles, and you don’t have to spend hours walking around to various garden beds to weed.
How To Make a Circle Garden
Before you begin, gather the materials for making your circular garden. In general, a small circle design will span at least 10 feet in diameter, but you can extend your garden as large as you want or are able.
Here are the best materials for making a circle design:
- Wood stakes (for measuring)
- Measuring tape
- Digging fork
Once you have everything gathered, you can start mapping the circle design.
1. Mark the Shape
It’s best to begin by marking a rough outline before digging up parts of your garden.
Most people find starting with the center point easier and working their way from there. You can tie a rope to a stake at the center and then walk in a circle with the rope to mark out the circle. This helps ensure that you end up with a round shape rather than an egg or square accidentally.
Obviously, the diameter will depend on your preference and the size of your property. Mark the measurements with tape, rope, or spray paint when you’ve decided on the size.
Now, use that center piece of twine or rope and bring it to the outer edge of the circle in all the directions where you want your walkways to be.
Most gardeners will place the paths leading out at each cardinal point, so the area is divided into four sections for raised beds, vegetable plots, or anything else you want to include in the space. You can do this or create multiple different pathways. There are no rules!
Just remember that the space becomes more narrow at the center and if you make too many pathways you might not be able to plant much there.
Similarly, if you have only a small space, you might just want one pathway into the center of the garden.
Mark out the central area, as well. You can make the center as large or as small as you want it to be. Some people opt to simply have a walkway, others make a large center for a focal point like a fountain or greenhouse.
Just make sure that the center allows you access to all the walkways in the garden or you’ll defeat the purpose of this layout scheme.
2. Label the Different Sections
No matter what you decide to include in each section, you should mark the areas with wooden stakes or plant labels to designate what you plan to plant in the space.
Spend some time getting to know the light exposure and any noteworthy characteristics of each section. You might have one section that gets more wind than another. Or maybe one area is full sun while another is shady.
It’s smart to map out your design beforehand to avoid any problems and save time. If you’ve ever started a garden and put plants into the ground, only to realize that the area is too shady and you have to move everything, you know what I’m talking about.
3. Create Pathways and Raised Areas
The whole point of a circle garden design is to make it easy to walk around your garden quickly and to make looking after your plants more accessible. For that you need pathways.
You can make a path by placing a piece of cardboard on the ground and covering it with wood chips. If you’re short on time, this method is fantastic.
You can seed pathways with grass, but keep in mind that grass doesn’t hold up well to high traffic. Or use clover seed if you want to avoid using a high-maintenance lawn. For smaller areas, rocks or pavers might be useful.
If you plan to use raised beds, now is the time to start adding soil and barriers.
4. Make Garden Beds
To make your garden beds for crops and other seeds, dig up the soil with a garden fork and poke holes in the soil to loosen it. Work in lots of well-rotted compost to make the soil rich and loose.
If you’re doing raised beds, you’ll probably also want to work in extra soil along with the compost.
Similar to rectangular raised beds, you can lay stones, metal, or wood on the edges of the raised beds to keep the soil in place and tidy the outdoor space.
5. Finish the Garden With Your Center Piece
The last stage of creating a circle garden design is placing your centerpiece in the middle of the area. This is a great opportunity to celebrate with friends or family after all your hard work.
The decoration in the middle of the circle design is a nice addition, but totally unnecessary. Add something if you want, or just leave it empty and maybe place a nice bench there for you to relax on after a hard day of work.
Depending on the size of your outdoor area and whether or not you want to focus on the appearance, there are several things you can place in the center.
Some of the typical focal point options are:
- Bench or table
- Herb raised bed
- Birdhouse or bird bath
- Fire pit
A focal point adds interest even when the garden is fallow for the winter.
For instance, if you live in a cool climate, you might enjoy snuggling up to a fire pit during autumn and winter. A fountain is a beautiful centerpiece that can cool the air slightly in a garden somewhere warm.
Advantages of Circular Gardens
When you’re planting crops or growing gorgeous plants, the last thing on your mind is adding more work to your to-do list, and creating a circular garden takes time out of your day. Why not just stick with the tried-and-true raised beds? It’s worth the effort.
Circle gardens make gardening easier and you might be able to care for your plants more thoroughly because you have easier access. It also lets you designate areas, which makes things more organized and visually appealing.
For example, you can have a rose bed full of bright flowers; next to it, you can grow your herbs. The contrast of colors and textured will produce a pleasing effect in your garden.