How to Design an Herb Garden – Updated

Having a functional herb garden is one of the hallmarks of a working homestead!!!  It makes cooking so much more enjoyable and flavorful!  You can make your own tea and medicinals, anytime you want!  Let’s talk about how to design an herb garden in your yard with what you have to work with!

Ok, so I’m going out on a limb today with you all.

I’m confessing that I really don’t have a functional herb garden.  

This property has required so much of our time and energy for larger projects, planting an herb garen is just something I haven’t gotten around to.

Take a look at my prospective herb garden plot!  Pathetic, eh?

This is a perfect location, however!  What makes a good location for an herb garden?

  • Close to the house so that you’ll use it more.
  • Good drainage.
  • At least half-day’s worth of sun.

Just about everything else can be modified, like soil.

This picture from Pinterest was the catalyst for my herb garden!

 I really love the way the pots stick out of the ground just a bit, don’t you?  The plan is to design something equally beautiful, but functional, from what I had to work with.

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how to design an herb garden

I really don’t have an exact layout or schematic in mind, and I frankly don’t want to be bound by one.  I’m just taking this a day at a time, using what I have or can get my hands on and enjoying the process.

Ok, so my first assignment is to get rid of these two ugly and aging bushes.  Once that’s done, I can dig out my good herb balls, then fill in the holes and amend the soil with some good compost!

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How to Design an Herb Garden

Here you can see that the bushes are gone and compost brought in. 

I have some large balls of lemon balm, valerian and bee balm to work with, plus lots of other smaller culinary herbs.  These will all be removed temporarily while the re-design is going on.

How to Design an Herb Garden

After potting them in the 10″ pots that I picked up at the farm store, I lined the perimeter of the bed with the pots, similar to the picture. 

I’m potting my herbs to keep them from spreading all over the place!

You can see the ugly tubes that I need to hide with some taller herbs, I’m thinking that the bee balm could be split and used there.

How to Design an herb Garden

My herb garden is going to be full of culinary herbs that it doesn’t have currently!

Sage, rosemary, dill, basil, parsley, etc.  I can’t wait!

how to design an herb garden

At this point, I’m realizing that I have more room in this little area than I thought!  This herb garden is begging for a walking path!

I do not enjoy walking through a muddy bed, looking for herbs to trim when I’m trying to cook.

After heading up to the garden store, I came back with some stepping stones, gravel and mulch to make this herb garden even more functional with a walk way!

How to Design an Herb Garden

The path was really what was needed!  Now, my herb garden is really coming together.

How to Design an Herb Garden

Dividing that area in two allowed for 2 separate planting spots, and also allows me to clip herbs from either side, whether I’m on the grass or on the path….awesome!

Can you see under the fountain where I’ve transplanted the bee balm?  This will grow tall enough to cover all of those tubes!  

I also divided up the lemon balm and planted it in that same area.  The valerian had recently been moved, so I didn’t want to risk further shock to that plant, so I let it stay where it was, for now.

I also added some river rock that I had left over from another project, as well as a couple of annuals, just for color.

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How to Design an Herb Garden

After edging with a small shovel along my path lines, we added pea gravel. 

Now it’s time to mulch!  I’m using an organic mulch that I found a great price on.

There is a wide variety of herbs in my garden, from medicinal to culinary.  I also added some hostas and a few annuals, just for additional color and texture.

I left some space between the herbs so that I’ll have the option of adding other plants or herbs in the future, and allows the existing plants to grow and expand.

Overall, I am very pleased with my herb garden! 

I hope that this will give you the motivation to take that little “pathetic” corner and do something with it!

Use what you have (or re-purpose!) and don’t be afraid to make mistakes…after all, it’s YOURS! 

You only have to please yourself.  Who knows, you just might fall in love with your new herb garden like I have!


It’s crazy how fast this little herb garden has taken off!  I’m clipping herbs like crazy and putting them in the dehydrator as fast as I can!


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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Carrie Usmar


    Why did you put them in containers in the ground? Is it because they like to spread out so much? Or did I miss that somewhere in the article. Thanks for sharing this. I can’t decide what do do with the herbs I just bought. I have raised beds but I would love to do something else. How much sun do herbs need?

    1. Kelly

      Hi Carrie,

      YES, those herbs just spread all over the place and that’s why they’re in pots. Typically, herbs need a full to most day of sun, although some will do just fine in partial shade, check the package. Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  2. Jo

    Love what you have done. Looks fabulous. Will be looking to follow your lead from here in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Thank you

    1. Kelly

      Hi Jo! I’m glad you like it, it’s looking even better now that it’s had a chance to grow. I hope you have success with your project, enjoy the journey!

  3. Bailey

    thanks this was an interesting read today. Inspires me to redo my own herb garden.

    1. Kelly

      Hey Bailey! Thanks for reading and for commenting!

  4. lea h.

    Where did you get that amazing shepherds hook where you hung your hummingbird feeder?

    1. Kelly

      Hi Lea, Gosh! I’m trying to remember, but I think I got it at Rural king a few years ago!

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