How to Build a Lasagna Garden Bed

Lasagna gardening is a great way to get a garden started in a new space that has not been gardened before – no digging required! It can also be used to create a very productive garden bed in a small space, or in urban areas.

Trying to establish a garden in a new place, especially in an area previously filled with grass, can be a lot of work. You have to dig out all the grass and remove the grass roots, fork up the soil and add compost, work the compost in, and then keep a good handle on all the weeds that will inevitably spring up.

What’s the alternative? Lasagna gardening! This involves creating a new garden bed by building up the soil on top of whatever already exists there. While you will want to pull out any big weeds beforehand, and mow any tall grass, there is no need to remove the grass or do any sort of digging.

It can take several months for your bed to be ready to plant, so if you’re planning to expand your garden – or start a new one – next spring, now is the time to build a lasagna garden bed!

Check out the article below, and get your lasagna garden started now, so it will be all ready to plant when spring comes.

(There is a great book out there on Lasagna Gardening if you want to check it out, but frankly, most of what you need to know can be found in the article below.)

‘Lasagna gardening’ is a no-dig permaculture method which is perfect for small spaces and even works on rocky ground and places where the soil quality is less than perfect. It’s also known as sheet mulching. This method mimics the natural processes of a forest, and provides a low-maintenance ecosystem where your organic veggies will thrive. Lasagna beds can even be made on cement or asphalt, so even if you don’t have a garden you can still grow your own tasty organic produce!….

The idea is to create layers (like a lasagna) of bio-materials, that will allow you to plant directly into the compost mixture. It’s really simple to do, but you will need to wait a while for the lasagna bed to break down and be ready to use. This method is perfect for lazy (but patient) gardeners, as well as absolute beginners! Here’s how it works:

1. If you do have a lawn, mow it before you begin.  Also, remove any persistent weeds at the root.

If you are planting on cement or asphalt, you don’t need to do any of this, but instead you will create a raised bed that you can layer up and plant inside. You can either use a wooden frame or straw bales, as shown in the image below. Make the garden as small or as big as you like!

2. The lasagna recipe starts with a few thin layers of newspaper or cardboard. This stops the grass and weeds from growing up into the compost by blocking the sunlight, and worms love it! Next, soak the newspaper or cardboard with water.

3. The next step is to add the first layer of ‘green’ composting material. This can be anything that is rich in nitrogen. So: food scraps from the kitchen, coffee grounds, grass cuttings and garden waste, straw, and chicken manure if you can get hold of any….

4. Next, we need a layer of ‘brown’ materials that are high in carbon. This could be any dead vegetation: dry leaves, bark, wood chips and twigs are perfect. Make sure you water as you go, soaking each layer thoroughly before adding the next.

5. Steps 3 and 4 are repeated over and over again… until your lasagna bed is between 20 and 40 inches deep….

6. The final step is to top your lasagna with a fabric that will protect it from harsh weather conditions but still allow it to breathe and retain moisture. Tarp and plastic covers are no good for this; the best thing to use is a compostex cover which you can buy online or from any good hardware store or garden center….

7. If you follow these steps, your bed will be ready to use within a year. Can’t wait that long? Simply top your lasagna bed with a layer of soil (at least 4 inches deep) and you can plant shallow-rooted fruit and vegetables immediately….’


Photo Credit:


Rose S.

An avid gardener since childhood, I love sharing my passion for gardening with others! I have gardened in a number of different climates and settings, from large fenced garden plots, to tiny patio and container gardens, and I firmly believe that everyone can learn to grow at least some of their own food - no matter where you live. Growing your own food can help you take control of your own health and food supply, and there has never been a better time to get started!

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