How to Define Your Garden Space with Style

When I think of a garden space, my mind immediately goes to my sweet Grandmother.

Growing up, I remember going out to the farm to pick pecans, potatoes, tomatoes, and the hottest peppers on the planet. To this day, I’m pretty sure I can thank my immunity to spicy foods to her!

These days though, you don’t have to drive out to that charming county road to find organic produce.

According to a recently published TechSci Research report, “the global organic food market is projected to grow over 16% by 2020. Growth in the market can be attributed to consumers’ growing health concerns and an increased awareness and concern of the health benefits of organic food.”

Just this week, Inhabitat published the new design for the nation’s first Urban Farm School that teaches kids how to grow their own food, based in San Francisco. I love seeing movements like this in design!

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With greater awareness of the food we consume, personal gardens are popping up everywhere! And “farms” are finding their way into our urban spaces.

The challenge is where do you plot your garden space? Backyards tend to be a shared space with family, pets and, at times, unwanted critters. How can you properly ‘plot’ your urban farm to make it a space you’ll love? I have a few tips to help you define your garden space in creative ways.

Here are four materials to play with when defining your garden space.


Install 18” – 30” tall sections of fencing to define your garden. Shorter fence profiles will properly section off your garden space and keep out unwanted critters, while maintaining a full view of your backyard.

I love how fence designs can really drive and dictate architectural style.

Style: “English Cottage”

Who can resist the charm of a white picket fence?!

Add a gate, bench, arbor, trellis and suddenly you have your own “Secret Garden”!

Consider untrimmed roses and scalloped fence tops to create a romantic garden setting.

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In Delaware, we created an urban farm for the Jusst Sooup Kitchen in the center of the property. I used a white picket fence to create separate garden spaces.

Style: “Ranch”

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Whether you live in a suburb or outside of the city limits, you can create that dreamy ranch vibe by using the “Crossbuck Rail” for your garden boundaries. This fence style has me daydreaming of the Kentucky Derby!


Raised planters are a simple and functional solution for your DIY garden. However, I want to challenge you to design something that adds to the architectural integrity of your home. Planters can and should look like they belong with the home.

Consider using the same exterior siding you have on the house to build and wrap the planters.

Style: “Modern / Zen”

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Cedar siding planters are a popular solution for homeowners because they wear well over time in exterior elements. To create interest, vary the heights of the planters in the yard. Use planters to soften corners at the end of a deck.

I just threw this sketch (below) together for my sister last week. She got the “green thumb” of the family, so this will be overflowing with sprouting herbs soon, no doubt.

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Style: “Organic”

A trend in landscape design is embracing a wildflower, overgrown organic look. Super structured lawn and garden designs require more maintenance on the homeowner’s part. To embrace this style of garden for your budding “organic produce” career, let’s consider defining the space with exterior stone.

If your backyard has steep changes in grade, using stone for retaining walls will be necessary anyway. Try turning those changes in elevation to defined garden spaces.

Have you ever heard of gabion walls? This design is a retaining wall made of stacked stones tied together with wires, like a cage. Dating back to late 1800s, I’ve seen gabion walls surrounding castles in Sweden as civil engineering solutions for dam walls.

Finally, to make the raised garden planters an extension of your home’s architecture, cover the sides with the same stone or stone veneer as your home.


Ok, so using hay might not be for everyone, but you know I love being resourceful and creative in design… and I AM from Texas!

Style: “Rustic”

Hay bales can be an easy, fun, and a cost effective way to divide the backyard space. Throw a blanket over a hay bale and you have a cozy spot to sit under the stars at night.

Whether you go with a structured fence or a free-spirited style hay bale divider, there are great ways to really showcase your new garden space. At the end of the day, it’s up to us to create our homestead… so I say try your hand at that green thumb!