Urban Food Garden

Garden Zones

When designing a food garden it is important to set it out so you can manage the garden as easily as possible.  One of the best ways to do this is to divide your garden into a series of zones based on the distance from your kitchen door, how often various gardening activities have to be performed and how long it takes to perform them.

ZONE ONE: Closest to the kitchen door, which is the area that is quick and easy to access. This is an ideal spot to grow herbs for cooking and picking lettuces for salads. It is also a good spot for a lemon tree and any pots or tubs, as they will need regular watering.

ZONE TWO: The area of the garden that is visited less frequently but you still need easy access to. The main vegetable patch and greenhouse are good examples of what to place in this zone.

ZONE THREE: The area of the garden that is visited least often, usually only once or twice a day. The chicken run (to feed the chickens and collect the eggs) and the main orchard are good examples of zone three activities.


As well as actual distance from the kitchen door you also should consider line of site distance, that being how easy it is to see various parts of the garden from a distance.  Whatever garden zone a given area is in it must be easily seen.  If part of the garden is hidden out of site (say behind a shed) then it cannot be easily seen and will usually be harder to access.  If you cannot see it then it is easy to overlook what is there, these out of sight areas are not good places for things that require regular maintenance, such as vegetable beds or pot plants. They are best left as places to store things in or treated as a zone Three garden area, even if in terms of distance from the kitchen door they are in zones One or Two.


These zoning illustrations and notes are based on a large backyard.  However, the same zoning principles can be applied to much smaller gardens, it is just that the scale is smaller.  Only the tiniest of gardens will not benefit from being divided into garden zones.


Garden zoning is a basic Permaculture design concept.  For more information on Permaculture follow this link: