Square Foot Garden Plans and Layouts

4x4 square foot garden plans, layouts, photos

March 14, 2019

Square-foot gardening (SFG) is an easy-to-follow method of planting vegetables which makes efficient use of small spaces. It’s especially ideal for beginner gardeners. Here are six complementary SFG garden layouts created by our Almanac readers!

If you don’t have a lot of time available to weed, water, and maintain your vegetable garden, then square-foot gardening could be the answer. It’s especially great for beginner gardeners .

Square Foot Gardening (commonly referred to as SFG) is a planting method that was developed by American author and TV presenter Mel Bartholomew in the 1970’s. It’s a simple way to create easy-to-manage gardens with raised beds that need a minimum of time spent maintaining them. 

With the square-foot gardening method, you plant in 4x4-foot blocks instead of traditional rows. Different crops are planted in different blocks according to their size; for example, 16 radishes in one square foot, or just one cabbage per square foot. A lattice is laid across the top to clearly separate each square foot.

While the benefits of SFG are ease and simplicity, note that the specific soil mix and raised beds can be more expensive to set up than alternative methods.

A water-retentive, nutrient-rich soil mix is used to fill the beds, consisting of one third each of compost, peat moss and vermiculite. This provides a weed-free start as well as being water retentive and full of nutrients. The rich soil enables plants to be grown much more closely than normal, which in turn crowds out weeds.

Video: See How to Set Up Your Square-Foot Garden

With simple and well-defined instructions, SFG is a great way to start growing your own food quickly, and with excellent results.

In this video, we introduce the thinking behind Square-Foot Gardening and explain everything you need to know to setup your own SFG garden beds including the best soil mix, plant spacing, positioning, companion planting and supporting structures to use.

Watch our video demonstrating the square-foot gardening technique.

See garden photos and free SFG garden layouts below!







All of the below SFG garden plans were created by Almanac readers with the Almanac Garden Planner!

1. Square-Foot Garden for an Apartment

“I live in a small apartment in the city but have a nice sized patio and wanted to take advantage of my space. This application helped me do it! My patio is outlined because it’s a little bit funny-shaped but everything with in the brown lines fits! The small red area is my back door and the larger red area is a shrub that I cant do much with.”

Garden Size: 18’ 7” x 15’ 11”
Garden Location: La Crosse, Wisconsin
Sun or Shade: Partial Shade
Garden Soil Type: Poor Soil

See full plant list!


2. Square-Foot Garden for a Home Garden

“This is a my “chef’s garden” with lots of different veggies and fruit that we like to eat.”

Garden Size: 19’ 11” x 19’ 11”
Garden Location: Denver, Colorado
Sun or Shade: Partial Shade
Garden Soil Type: Good Soil

See full plant list!


3. Large-Scale SFG Garden

“Raised bed gardens with an emphasis on companion planting with the new tool. Soil is so-so but manure and compost and lime helped and will add more this year. Wondering about the problem of rotating crops next year but I hope the benefit of attracting beneficials will override that. I’ve got a three sisters garden (corn, beans and squash) and onions planted everywhere to help ward off pests. There are all the flowers that attract beneficials that I could fit in. I think it will take a lot of time to plant - but I am looking forward to it! Using the plant list now to organize my seed starts - Onions and leeks and shallots are up and waving! I have notes on seed starting on my plant list page. NOTE: Since I wrote this I have made changes due to the groundhog, primarily putting all the onion family and many herbs/flowers where he came in last year.”

Garden Size: 27’ 11” x 33’ 11”
Garden Location: Georgetown, MA 30x30 Town Garden Plot
Sun or Shade: Sunny
Garden Soil Type: So-So Soil

See full plant list!


4. Square-Foot Garden Plan for Home Garden

“Organic garden planted in raised beds made using 4’ fence wire (bent w/1’ sides and 2’ bottom), lined with landscape cloth, then filled with soil made up of Black Gold (a special mix from a Nashville Nursery), worm compost, peat moss, coir, several different composts, mushroom compost and rock dust.”

Garden Size: 29’ 11” x 39’ 11”
Garden Location: Jamestown, TN
Sun or Shade: Partial Shade
Garden Soil Type: Good soil

See plant list!

5. Square-Foot Garden for a Front Yard

“Our front focal point garden will have a ring of strawberries and is planned to grow in a “cone” shape to tall sunflowers at the center.”

Garden Size: 19’ 11” x 19’ 11”
Garden Location: Indianapolis, IN
Sun or Shade: Partial Shade
Garden Soil Type: Good soil

See plant list!

6. Square-Foot Garden for a Front Yard

“Organic Vegetable Garden - Some traditional left but moving toward all square foot garden. Heavy clay soil amended for 3 years with horse manure, leaf humus, household compost, sand, wood chips, fish and organic fertilizer (includes chicken manure and minerals). Soil in square foot gardens according to Mel’s mix.”

Garden Size:  30’ 11” x 34’ 9”
Garden Location:  Cleveland, Ohio near Lake Erie
Sun or Shade:  Sunny
Garden Soil Type:  Good soil, organic

See full plant list and more details about this garden here.

Looking for more garden plans? See layouts for other types of gardens.

Discover the Almanac Garden Planner

Ready to start planning your own garden?  Learn more about the online Garden Planner today!


The Old Farmer's Almanac Garden Planner


Reader Comments

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Trying raised garden boxes

We planted a garden a few years ago and were devastated when the blight infected all of our beloved plants. We are going to try a small 4 x 4 raised garden box and going tmsimple with only tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and a few herbs. Any layout suggestions? I figure the cucumbers and tomatoes will go in the back on a trellis but that is my only plan

Sq ft garden 1st timer

So, I have worked diligently on preparing 3 raised garden beds. I have sweet potatoes growing in one and cant wait to see how I did. Im a little iffy on how I made the soil up, but we shall see! Anyways, bed #2 I feel very confident in the soil and want to do it the Sq Ft way. I have it planned out, the bed is 7' X 3' and here is what I was looking to plant:
back row: 4 sweet corn ea sq. = 28 bantam corn
middle: 8 bush bean ea sq, X2 sq = 16 Tendergreen beans
middle: 8 lima bean ea sq, X2 sq = 16 Henderson Limas
middle: 9 turnips ea sq, X3 sq = 18 Shogoin Turnips
front: 16 carrots ea sq, X3 sq = 48 Scarlet Nantes
front: 1 buttercrunch lettuce ea sq, X2 sq = 2 heads
front: 4 black seeded simpson lettuce, X1 sq = 4
front: 4 ruby leaf lettuce, X1 sq = 4
I was looking to just upload a pic of my drawing, but there it is..... So now the curve ball, I live in southwest florida..
Does this plan sound/look like it will work? I have one more bed im still filling and plan to plant spinach, kale, other veggies that may do better when it kinda cools down, down here.

Thank you!

dear first timer

The Editors's picture

This is an ambitious plan! We salute you! With the understanding that every garden, even for the most experieced among us, we think that a lot of it will work. One consideration: Corn is best pollinated in multiple rows, or blocks. You may not have adequate depth/number of rows to prouce ears. Your beans might be crowded in the space allowed. Crowded plants are not as prolific/heavy producers. The rest sounds feasible. And by “back” row, you mean the north end, correct? We wish you luck! Let us know how it goes.

I have planted a square foot

I have planted a square foot garden befor but this time my soil is not good, do I have to dig it all out and fill it in with better dirt ?
I live in Sask zone 2

dirty job

The Editors's picture

Consider that your soil is your groundwork, literally. So you want the dirt to be the best it can be—rich in compost, of suitabe pH (depending on the plants you plan to grow), not too sandy (or water and nutrients will run out), not too hard/clay-y (or it will not have the nutrients to support life—never mind that the roots might not break through it).

So…you know best what your current soil is, what grew there before, what you want to grow. You can amend the existing soil—add aged cow or horse manure and compost and mix it up. But consider that you might want to remove some of the existing “bad” soil to make room for this new stuff.

So, to your question: dig it ALL out?! Only you can really tell. Some, probably… Think of it this way: don’t set yourself up for the possibility that in six months you’ll wish you did something differently. Make it a great garden year from the ground up…now.

Best wishes! Let us know how it grows!


I live in Gimli Manitoba zone

I live in Gimli Manitoba zone 2b do you have information for my area?