Ideas To Help You Choose The Best Structure And Plants To Suit Your Lifestyle

So, you’ve considered the essentials of what you need to start your own herb garden. You’ve also gathered your equipment.

Now to figure out where the best place for your herbs to live is and what they will grow in. Once this is established, you have a great opportunity to name your herb garden – to welcome it to the family naturally! I like Wilhelmina (on the kitchen windowsill), Purdy Pots (on the patio), Vera or The Wall of Flavour & Nice (for a vertical wall), Sally Spinout (for a spiral garden). You’ll probably start naming your herbs too if you get really into it. You’ll come up with something wonderful no doubt!

Marjoram in the Sunlight

Here’s “Marge” my marjoram plant on the verandah. I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for this herb as it reminds me of eating at a seaside restaurant in Cinque Terre, Italy. Their seafood is amazing and they use marjoram, as well as many other herbs , to flavour their sauces. Pretend I’m in Europe at least once a week cooking with this!

Below are some ideas that could prompt you to choose how you may like to lay out your herb garden. This will be based on your needs and current state of affairs. The options really are endless. Also, we’ll cover some tips on how to decide which herbs to actually grow in your chosen setup and a bit of inspiration.

Some Garden Layout Options for You

Your current situation Examples of how you could construct your herb garden
I live in an apartment and/or I have very limited outside space
  • Consider hanging pots (low enough for you to reach into) or pots that hang over the edge or your balcony or patio. Stackable or self watering pots are great if you don’t have much space – grow upwards!
  • Opt for a selection of lightweight pots if you can afford it. These reduce the weight of the entire set up and are easier to move around if you need to.
  • If pushed for space you could invest in a vertical garden – these look spectacular when the herbs you have planted become established and convert a drab or closed off space into a green, living wall. They can be as small or large as the wall space you have available to use
I have no outside space but want to grow herbs indoors
I have quite a few options in terms of where I could place a herb garden Now we’re talking! You don’t have to have much space to do something spectacular, as per the ideas above.

  • If you’d like to make your garden a large feature, for a delight to the eyes I’ve seen some fantastic upcycling of rusty old push bikes with a basket of herbs at the front and a pot stuck to the old seat. Or a wooden wheelbarrow with a shelf of self-watering plant pots or holes in the bottom for drainage.
  • A larger vertical garden against a fence line or wall would do the trick – giving you the opportunity to really make use of space vertically and across your garden with other plants.
  • You can really go all out and get a whole herb garden going (or make it part of an established garden).
  • A spiral herb garden is a fantastic permaculture style herb garden that can look great. It also handily ensures those plants that need less frequent watering are positioned up top, and those that love to be drenched are down the bottom.
It’s really dry and hot where I live and I can’t water much
  • Best bet is to go for herbs that prefer well drained soil and thrive in a hotter, drier environment. Gardening Australia gives a great summary of herbs that survive dry weather and recommend a number to plant
I’d love to grow herbs outdoors but we have a lot of pests such as birds and possums
  • I totally get the frustration of this!! I couldn’t bring herbs upstairs to live on the verandah for years until the next door neighbours dog decided to live at ours – now she scares away any possums in the night. There are lots of easy options for you though – don’t be deterred if you can find a pup to hang out and guard your crops! Read more on pest proofing and control.

How Do I Choose The Right Herbs For My Garden?

This is where things get really exciting… here we talk about how to work out which herbs best suit you and explore different combinations of herbs to plant. As mentioned in posts throughout this blog, it’s important to choose herbs that best suit your tastes.

Think about it like this:

  • If you never cook curries then a very easy to grow but an enormous curry plant may not be the best idea. It could likely just take up a whole lot of space you can instead use for growing something you like to eat often, like parsley, shallots or basil.
  • If you are a fan of thai cooking, you may like to invest in a kaffir lime tree and lemongrass so you can have volumes of this deliciousness in stock at all times. Also, you can then avoid having to fork out for these at the supermarkets.
  • If you’re not home to water your herbs easily or often, you may like to consider something more hardy like bay leaf tree, rosemary or thyme (all of which are delicious in mediterranean cooking)

Chives in French Cooking

On at least a weekly basis, chives from the patio are used to garnish the nibbles during aperitif at this French countryside home.

It’s also good to consider the space available and layout required for the herb garden to suit your life. For example:

  • if you’re not home much and just want a few bits and pieces to add on the odd occasion to your cooking then a kitchen windowsill garden may suit you.
  • if you have a lot of space you may like to add a few larger plants (such as a kaffir lime, a curry plant, or a large crop of basil plants – depending on your favourite foods and how you may like to use your produce).

Inspiration For Selecting Herbs To Grow

It’s no wonder that some of the best foods in the world would use a variety of herbs to flavour them! If you need some prompts on what to grow in your herb garden, CNN Travel has a great article about the best foods across the world – you can have a look at your leisure and spot some delicious meals you’d like to cook. This should inspire what you plant in your herb garden! 

Living on a Dime Herb Guide shows all the different herbs that go with different meats etc, so you could have a look here to figure out what may go best with your favourite foods or household staples.

Many countries have a basic selection of the most commonly used herbs in their cooking. Check out this nifty map of combinations of herbs used in different countries by Tim Ferriss. 

Or, you can think about what you normally like to eat. I go for anything I know I’d use regularly. And that is based on what I cook frequently and what I found myself buying often at the shops (and unfortunately wasting a lot of because it wasn’t fresh or on a living plant, so I had more than what I needed!).

Picking Veges and Herbs with Bomma in Belgium

Multi-generational vegetable and herb picking in the greenhouse in a village in Belgium. Here they made lots of soup so grew common Belgian herbs as well as vegetables such as leek, radish, tomato and onions.

We used to (and still do on occasion) enjoy a lot of Thai and Italian take away. So I started researching which herbs were used in my favourite dishes and used that as a base for the herb selection to plant. Some of these are in their own pots (marked with *) as they’ll grow wonderfully large by themselves:

  • Mediterranean – basil, oregano*, marjoram, parsley, bay leaf tree*, rosemary
  • Thai – lemongrass*, dwarf Kaffir Lime tree*, chilli,
  •  French/Belgian – tarragon, lemon thyme, thyme, sage
Jessica Meier

Jessica Meier

If you procrastinate long enough in a garden at least one good job will end up getting done!

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