Garden location

Ep. 5 – Choosing the Best Garden Location for New Gardens

Ready to start your own garden but not sure where to put it? This podcast episode will cover everything from maximizing sun exposure to ensuring proper drainage and soil quality. Plus, we’ll also share how convenience and accessibility to water effect your garden location, so you can easily maintain your dream garden. Tune in now!

One of the most challenging questions posed by beginner gardens is “Where should I put my garden?.”  There is something about putting seeds in the ground in a space that feels permanent, and if you are a planner like me, you may be arranging and rearranging your potential garden using every tool imaginable. 

The location of your garden can make or break the success of your garden season, but choosing where to put your garden does not have to be difficult! Today, we’ll talk about a few considerations that can help you choose a location that will give you bountiful harvests!

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Considerations for Garden Location

I know firsthand how overwhelming it can be to decide where to put your garden. When I decided I wanted to grow in my current backyard, I originally thought the side yard near my door was the perfect location. I wanted to do 4 raised beds in rows of 2.

This seemed easy enough, but when I went to measure the raised beds, I didn’t end up having enough space, this led to many considerations and garden plans. On top of that, the side yard location got 5 hours of sunlight at best!

I quickly realized that while a side yard garden was a good idea at first glance, choosing the right location would require a bit more foresight!

Sun Exposure

Plants thrive when provided with sunlight, water, and nutrient-rich soil. The location of our kitchen garden plays a crucial role in ensuring plants receive the optimal amount of sunlight for their growth. The amount of sun exposure required for plants varies depending on the type of plant and the native environment of that plant.

For most plants where leaves are harvested and consumed, partial sun is adequate. This includes crops like lettuce, spinach, and kale. Root vegetables can also tolerate some shade in order to reach maturity.

Fruiting crops such as tomatoes, peppers, and berries require full sun! Full sun is defined as 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day, and is the ideal for most garden plants.

When choosing the location of your garden an uninhibited 6-8 hours of sunlight can help ensure a productive garden season.

It’s important to locate your garden in an area that receives ample sunlight. Fortunately, there several methods of assessing the sun exposure in your yard or potential garden area.

Create a shade map.

The first method of determining sun exposure of your yard is to do shade mapping. This manual method requires you to draw your back yard with structures included. Structures to include are:

  • Your home
  • Nearby trees
  • Fences
  • Swing set or play areas
  • *Remember to consider those items in your neighbor’s yard as welll

Then over the course of a sunny day, track the shadows on paper. This method is easy but can take time as you need to take several readings throughout the day. 

Online tools/resources

If you’d like a quicker method, there are several online tools that can help determine the sunlight of your veggie garden space. My favorite is “Find my shadow.” With this tool, you input your location, then map out your space. Once mapped you can easily see the tracking of the shadows of those structures on any given day of the year.

As a final note to sun exposure I want to remind you that not all sunlight exposure is the same. Those who live in northern regions with cooler climates may not be able to grow as well in the shade (even crops that can usually tolerate partial shade. Additionally, those who garden in the south hot climates can garden in areas with partial sun especially if the shade is in the afternoon and they have great morning sun exposure when the summer sun is detrimental to even plants that thrive in the heat.


The next thing to consider when choosing the location of your garden is drainage and water runoff. More specifically the relative slope of your growing space. If you are growing in raised beds or containers, this may not be as much of an issue. In these growing conditions, you are able to level your growing medium, but if you are growing in ground, this will be a far more impactful factor.

The relative slope of your yard will affect how water drains, and therefore, how often you need to water your plants. If your garden is on a slight hill or slope, water will drain away from your plant’s roots faster than if it were on flat ground. While this may seem counterintuitive, it can actually cause an issue with drought stress.

On the other hand, if your garden is in low spots you will deal with  water pooling which can cause root rot and other fungal diseases.

While some slight slopes are okay, aim for a level garden to ensure consistent watering and healthy plants.

Accessibility to Water Source

In most urban areas we may not think the proximity to your water source would be an issue, but depending on how you plan to water your plants this can be a significant determining factor. Good plant growth requires a good amount of water. Thirsty plants do not grow! So choosing your garden site with water accessibility as a key factor is crucial.

If you plan to hand water you may not have as much to worry about. Outside of moving the hose back and forth, the major issue with hand watering is the time it takes.

While there are some people who enjoy this type of watering, I found it to be tedious. So I use a drip irrigation system. When setting up your irrigation system you will notice that most parts of the irrigation system are pressure rated, and distance from water source can significantly affect this rating.

Longer stretches of hose decreases that pressure therefore decreasing the effectiveness of your irrigation system, causing the need to water longer. If you determine that the ideal conditions when considering sun exposure is in a part of the yard that is further away from your faucet, you may consider adding a spigot closer to your garden or increasing your overall watering time.


When deciding on the ideal garden location, convenience is an important factor to consider. Gardening doesn’t have to be time-consuming (in fact, I recommend sizing your garden based on the time you can spare for it!). While a vegetable gardening shouldn’t demand all your time, it’s still beneficial to have it located in a space that is convenient for daily maintenance tasks.

These daily tasks can include:

  • Watering
  • Harvesting
  • Pest control
  • Weed Control
  • Fertilizing

Each of these are important for garden success and proximity to your home/convenience of the garden space makes consistently completing these tasks that much easier!

Soil Quality

When considering your garden, it’s important to take into account the quality of the soil. Different areas of your yard may have varying soil quality, which can significantly impact plant growth and yield. Before planting, it’s crucial to assess the soil quality in your desired garden location. This can be easily done with a home soil test or one conducted at a soil testing lab. It’s worth noting that while soil quality is important, it will not make or break your garden location because it can be improved by amending the soil.

Soil quality also includes determining the make-up of your garden. We want soils that are loamy instead of sand or clay soil. Again, while the best location for your garden spot is in an area with loamy soil, many of us do not have native loamy soil, so your new location should not hinge on the soil composition.

Alright! So there you have it! Five things you should consider when choosing a garden location!  Sun exposure, drainage, accessibility to water source, convenience, and soil quality are all important factors that can contribute to a successful garden. By taking the time to assess your yard and considering these factors, you will be well on your way to finding the perfect spot for your dream garden.

If you dug this episode I would be honored if you would rate this podcast and spread the word to your friends who are also passionate about gardening.

Your five-star support fuels the growth of “Garden Things with Friends,” and together, we’ll cultivate a network of thriving gardens and plant-loving friends.

Happy Gardening and Remember It’s never the wrong time to Grow where you are!

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