Easy 4 x 4 Summer Garden

Plant the best flavors of summer in one garden.

If all you have is 4 square feet, try this Summer garden for a sampling of homegrown goodness.

This easy plan shows you how to plant a 4 x 4 summer garden.This simple 4 x 4-foot summer garden plan can supply you with a bountiful harvest of herbs and summer veggies. You may be surprised how much a small, but well-tended space can yield. This little template for a manageable bed gives you enough room for the pleasure of a summer garden without too much work or expense. Designed for easy maintenance, a 4 x 4-foot bed lets you reach the center from any side.

If you want more room, place two 4 x 4-foot units symmetrically on either side of a 3 or 4-foot path, wide enough for you and your tools, remembering that some of these plants will trail over the edge and into the path. If you get really ambitious, add two more to make a group of four with a path like a +.

Planting the 4 x 4 Bed

Take inspiration from these planting options. Consider your family recipes and food preferences. Notice that each is divided into 4 planting areas. These plants are pictured small to make the illustration simpler, but your bed will be spilling over as the plants grow! Follow spacing on the plant labels, adding a few more plants than we have pictured if the spacing allows.

This plan gives options for what to plant in each area of a 4 x 4 summer garden.Area 1 – Low Growing Herbs

Choose any 3 of these low growing herbs

  • parsley
  • thyme
  • sage
  • mint (in a sunken pot)
  • Spicy Globe or Boxwood basil
  • sweet marjoram
  • oregano
  • onion chives

Area 2 – Tall Herbs

Choose any 3 of these tall herbs

  • basil
  • rosemary
  • dill
  • stevia
  • sage
  • tarragon, French or Mexican

Area 3 – Salad Items

Choose from these salad items

  • 2 cucumbers (to trail over the edge)
  • 8 lettuce or arugula (for cool climate gardens)

Area 4 – Tomato or Pepper

Pick two plants, caged or staked

  • any peppers
  • any tomatoes

19 Comments

Deaun

We have started a 6×8 garden in Albuquerque, NM. We planted 2 tomatoe plants, 2 bell pepper plants (1 red & 1 yellow) 1 squash, 1 zuccihini, 1 cumcumber, 4 small kale, 1 small row spiniach, 1 small row chive type onions. My question is can we add more, we took out the herbs and put them in a container and also took out the banana hots and jalapeno and put in separate containers since we were worried we had overloaded the 6×8 area. This is our first real attempt to a vegtable garden and want to make sure all the hard work and costs pay off.

Danielle Carroll

Hello Deaun,
It does sound like there would be a little space left to put in few plants – Is there empty space at one end of the raised bed? If you have empty space at the end, go ahead and plant. Add a trellis and grow the cucumbers up to save evey more space! -Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Deaun

Thank you, we just might do that, however we did space all plants out for room to grow. And our garden is in groud, not a raised planter, will that make a difference.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Deaun,
Glad to hear you spaced them out adequately! Yes, it does make a difference – plants are ususally spaced closer together (grown more intensively) in a raised bed because the bed is filled with the best soils and weeds are kept to a minimum. In native backyard soils, it is better to space the plants as you did – with room to grow. Hoping you have a great harvest this year. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

SMartin

Hi Kelly
I am making my first 4×4 garden this spring, I live in Winnipeg, MB what are other vegetables that will grow in a raised garden bed. My daughter loves cucumbers, carrots and broccoli, string beans? Do I have any hope of growing these in a raised flower bed? Should it be a very deep raised flower bed?
Thanks so much
Sharlene

Danielle Carroll

Congratulations on your first raised bed!
Almost anything you can grow in the ground will grow in a raised bed. A foot is a good depth. Everything you mentioned will grow in the beds, but some will need trellising like the cucumbers unless you plant bush varieties. Here are a few raised bed garden plans for you to look at. You can see from these plans the planting space different veggies will need in the raised bed.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Farangis

Hi, can you help me by answering this question that if I can make a raised bed on a terrace which is covered with cobble? I am not sure if I build it up and fill it up with a mixture of soil and compost , does that works!!

Danielle Carroll

Hello Farangis,

I have seen pictures of raised beds built up on empty lots in the cities. I think to do this, you would need to make the raised bed a little higher than the standard 12 inches to compensate for the roots and drainage. For instance, when a raised bed is built…usually the soil underneath is turned a bit. This is a must read for you. It is a study from Ohio State Cooperative Extension on urban farming….turning parking lots into raised beds. In it, it discusses the additional height of the raised bed since a drainage layer is put into the bottom (wood chips). Great idea!
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Dianne

Thanks for the plans! How do I keep the paths between my raised beds clear from grasses and weeds? I don’t want to use anything that would harm the vegetables nearby.
Dianne

Danielle Carroll

Hi Dianne,
You could use a herbicide for the path or you could mulch it really well. Some of the neatest raised bed gardens I have seen had small, gravel paths between the paths or weed control.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

pat smedley

I would like to start next yr with a 4 by 4 garden. what kind of dirt do i fill it with. can top soil be bought at a gardening supply store. Or do I fill it up with
potting soil.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Pat,

We recommend a mix of bagged garden soil and compost for your raised beds, rather than topsoil. Read our article about raised bed gardening, which includes a section on what soil to include. I think this will help you as you plan your 4×4 beds! Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

April Arizmendi

this is an awesome site! thank you so much for all the garden ideas

Kelly Smith

We’re glad you like it, April! Hope to see you back here often!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

swaltermann@yahoo.com

i made a 4×8 garden 2′ high and filled it with topsoil i planted spinach a week ago will it grow this late in southern north carolina? i only planted a 2′ row. also i bought a plant of yours from home depot that said they were leeks and there is 50 off them and they look and smell like chives do i separate and plant single or are they chives

Kelly Smith

It’s best to plant spinach about 4 weeks before the last frost in spring. The weather this spring became very warm very early, but it looks like it might dip back to cooler temps for a few weeks, so your spinach may be fine. Learn more about spinach in our Growing Spinach article.

The pot of leeks you bought should indeed be leeks. Our pots are seeded thickly, which actually gets you lots of leeks if you separate and plant them. You need to separate the seedlings and plant them individually. See how under the “Soil, Planting, and Care” tab in our Growing Leeks article.

Happy gardening!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Janelle

we just built two beds we have limited space so one is 4X3 and the other 4X2. any suggestions of what to plant and how to space? thank you

kelly

Hi Janelle,

All of our 4×4 plans are easily adaptable to larger or smaller beds. For the Summer Garden, I suggest you just reduce the number of herbs and salad items that you plant to fit the design into your 4×2 and 4×3 beds. So for example, plant only 1 or 2 low-growing herbs instead of 3. Good luck!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

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