An outdoor herb garden can be a wonderful addition. You can grow a wide range of different culinary and medicinal herbs, wherever you live. Choosing the right herbs is of course important but it is also crucial to choose how and where precisely you will grow them too.
You can create an outdoor herb garden in a wide range of different ways. You can:
- Make the most of a small space and grow herbs in some kind of container.
- Use a larger growing area to create a herb garden dedicated to culinary and/or medicinal herbs.
- Grow herbs alongside and among other plants in your garden.
Whichever option or options you choose, the interesting outdoor herb garden ideas below should inspire you to grow more herbs in a way that suits your needs and your space.
Make The Most of A Small Space
Even in the smallest outdoors space, you can grow a wide range of herbs. At its simplest, a herb garden can simply be a few different herbs grown in small individual pots. But here are some other ideas to inspire you to grow more, and make the most of very inch of space you have available.
Try A Herb Garden Planter
A herb garden planter allows you to graduate from growing herbs on their own in individual pots, and look into combining several herbs all in one convenient and easily accessible container.
When thinking about which herbs to combine in a planter, think carefully about their growing needs. Plants that have similar growing requirements will like growing together in the same container.
Planters come in many different shapes and sizes, so you are sure to be able to find one to suit your herbs, and to suit you and your space.
You will need to fill your planter with a growing medium suited to the particular herbs you would like to grow.
Just remember, when growing herbs in containers, that these will typically require more watering than herbs grown in the ground.
A self-watering planter could be an interesting option if you would like a lower maintenance garden. You might even choose a planter that is filled with a substrate that allows you to grow certain herbs in water rather than in soil – in a hydroponic or even a small-scale aquaponic system.
Add Herbs To Your Window Box
Even if you don’t have a garden or yard area at all, you might still be able to create an outdoor herb garden by attaching a window box outside a window of your home.
A herb-filled window box can bring plants into city life and you might be surprised by the number of different herbs that can potentially be grown in a container of this kind.
Create An Upcycled Outdoor Herb Garden
Remember, if you plan on growing herbs in containers, you don’t necessarily have to buy these in specifically for the purpose. In fact, making your own outdoor herb garden containers from upcycled or reclaimed materials is an eco-friendly and sustainable choice.
For example, you might grow herbs in:
- Yoghurt pots or other reclaimed food packaging.
- Old pots, pans, colanders or other kitchen items (as long as sufficient drainage can be provided).
- A reclaimed sink or even bathtub.
- The drum of an old washing machine.
- An old wheelbarrow.
- A reclaimed barrel or half-barrel.
- Old drawers, or a chest of drawers, or other old furniture.
- Old boots or wellies.
- A lined planter made from tyres.
- Grow bags made from shopping bags, old clothes, or other reclaimed fabrics.
These are of course just a few examples. There are many ways to make a new outdoor herb garden container using items or materials that would otherwise be thrown away.
Try Some Vertical Outdoor Herb Garden Ideas
Where space is limited, it is also well worth thinking about how you can use the vertical space as well as the horizontal. You can buy in a vertical garden in which you would be able to grow a wide range of herbs, and affix this to a wall or fence.
But as above, you can also make a range of different vertical gardens yourself using reclaimed or upcycled materials.
DIY vertical herb garden ideas include:
- Shelving made from reclaimed wood or other materials or an old ladder, for example.
- A vertical garden made from old wood pallets.
- A vertical garden made from reclaimed plumbing pipes and guttering.
- A planting pocket vertical garden made with an old shoe organizer, or reclaimed fabric.
- A vertical garden made with milk containers strung by the handles on bamboo canes or natural branches from your garden.
- Planting towers made from plastic bottles.
- Reclaimed barrels or drums with holes cut into the sides.
Though, again, these are just a few of the many different DIY vertical herb garden ideas that you could consider.
Dedicate a Growing Area to Grow Herbs
If you have a little more space to play with, you might create a dedicated herb garden, and create a special space for herb cultivation in raised beds, or in the ground.
Start A Raised Bed Herb Garden
One easy and straightforward way to make a new outdoor herb garden is to create a new raised bed dedicated to growing a range of herbs.
Again, as when growing in a container, it is important to think about the needs and required growing conditions for the herbs that you would like to grow. Group herbs which grow well together.
Like containers, raised beds can also be made using a range of reclaimed materials for bed edging. You can also often save money on filling raised beds by creating your own growing medium, and by adopting a no dig approach which allows you to make use of organic materials from your garden, or the surrounding area.
Create a Herb Spiral
If you want to grow a wide range of herbs in a relatively small area, then creating a special type of raised bed known as a herb spiral can be an excellent idea.
Find out more about creating a herb spiral as an outdoor herb garden in this guide.
Or check out this link for more in-depth information.
Polytunnel Growing: Spice Up Your Cooking With Some Exotic Herbs
If you have a polytunnel, herb cultivation can be a breeze, and many of the ideas above can help you to grow herbs successfully in a polytunnel, as well as outdoors. Ideas above can help you make the most of the space in an undercover growing area.
But one other thing to consider if you can place a polytunnel in your space is that such a structure can be used to create a herb garden where you can grow an even wider range of herbs and spices – things that could not typically be grown outdoors where you live.
So if you are interested in growing exotic herbs, creating a polytunnel herb garden could be an excellent option to consider.
Create a Low Herb Hedge
When thinking about where to grow herbs in your garden, you can also think about how you might be able to branch out from typical outdoor herb garden growing areas, and incorporate herbs in other ways in a garden design.
For example, you might consider growing herbs as a low hedge to separate a seating area from the rest of your garden, or to create division between different garden rooms.
Create a Herb ‘Lawn’ Area
Another interesting way to create an outdoor herb garden is to consider a herb lawn. Rather than having an area of just grass, you might consider creating an area of ground cover planting with a range of different low-growing herbs.
Creeping thyme, and Chamomile lawns are two common options. But there are a variety of different herbs that you might use.
Grow Herbs Alongside and Among Other Plants
Remember, however, that when you are growing herbs in your garden, these do not have to be placed in a dedicated area. They can be incorporated into broader and more biodiverse planting schemes too.
Plant Herbs With Your Vegetables
Growing herbs in polycultures among your vegetables is one great example. Many herbs make excellent companion plants, to help your crops grow strong, herb with pest control, and potentially increase the yields you are able to achieve.
For example, planting basil alongside tomato is one of our top companion planting combinations.
Plant Your Herbs With Your Flowers
Many herbs also work extremely well incorporated into ornamental planting. Many flowering herbs are just as beautiful as they are useful. So don’t separate, integrate. Make your beds and borders aesthetically pleasing and productive too.
Plant Herbs in a Fruit Tree Guild or Forest Garden
Another place where herbs really come in handy is in fruit tree guilds and forest gardens, where herbs make excellent companions for fruit or nut trees and other attendant planting. Integrating an outdoor herb garden area into wider ecologically sound and biodiverse planting plans is always an excellent option.
There are plenty of great outdoor herb garden ideas out there. But for a truly healthy, functional and productive garden, we strongly recommend integrating herbs with the other plants that you grow.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.