Keyhole Garden: Making the Bed
A keyhole garden is a permaculture garden design meant to increase the amount of space available for plants by decreasing the area reserved for pathways. Some challenge the space saving virtues of this design; I like it because it gives a beautiful twist to traditional raised-bed gardens. The shape of this non-framed raised-bed mimics natural curves and is an attractive variation of rectangular garden beds.
How to create your keyhole garden:
1. Mark out the design
Steak out the design or draw it right into the soil. Our design called for an eleven foot diameter, or a radius of 5 1/2 feet. In order to mark out the perimeter of the design, it is easiest to use the radius. We had one person hold the measuring tape at a center point while another person walked in a circle with the end, marking 5 1/2 feet. After marking the outer circle, you can follow the same procedure to lay out the center circle. Finally measure and mark the pathway.
2. Define the shape
With the design now laid out, you can dig out the surrounding soil and place it on top of your future garden bed. In our case, the area surrounding the keyhole garden bed will be a pathway. We dug up about an inch of soil from the path and put this soil on the garden bed.
3. Rake it flat
Once all of the soil from the outer paths and the center keyhole path has been shoveled into the garden bed you can rake the soil so that it is level. The sides of the garden bed may have a slight slope to it- that’s ok!
4. Sheet mulch it
Read all about sheet mulching, visit Keyhole Garden: Feeding the Soil!
The following slide show illustrates the creation of a keyhole garden bed.