Four Square Kitchen Garden Four Square Kitchen Garden

Easy Formal Gardening with a Four Square Garden

August 30, 2012

Gardening styles are as different as the gardeners that use them. Formal gardening can be extensive with neat and tidy clipped hedges or simple with just a formal layout. That is the beauty of gardening. Take what speaks to you and go with it!

The four square garden is a very classic layout and the leap to formal gardening from there is a short one.

Begin with laying out one large square where you would like the garden.

From left to right, lay out a path that you can comfortable walk through. Three feet is usually a good width.

From top to bottom, lay out an intersecting path of the same width. This will create a "plus sign", dividing the large square into four equally sized smaller squares.

Place a large pot in the center of the "plus sign" path.

Going around the container, knock out the corners of the squares so the width of the path matches the "plus sign" path.


You have just created a four square garden layout! Where you take it from there depends on your style.

I used the four square layout for my vegetable garden and created the layout with raised planting beds. The centerpiece is a Necta Zee Nectarine tree in a container. The four square concept make crop rotation a cinch - each year, the crops rotate to a different square.

To up the formal factor of the four square layout, line the edges of each square with a clipped hedge. Boxwood is a traditional hedge choice and rosemary works great for edible gardens!

When selecting a plant to use as the hedge, use the same judicious selection process that you use for the rest of the garden. Choose a plant that grows well in your climate and soil conditions.

The key to a formal look in the garden is symmetry. This is why the four square layout is so popular. Lay out the plants in one square and then duplicate that layout in the other three squares. If you want to use different plants in each square, choose plants of similar size and texture.

A beautiful formal garden does not have to be fussy. Implement a symmetrical design like the four square and let nature take care of the rest!

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