In the Goody Patch Some clever community garden design ideas from Adelaide's Goody Patch Community Garden

A commuity garden full of design ideas…

Looking for design ideas for your community garden?

Take a trip to Adelaide, South Australia, and make the short journey to the suburb of Goodwood. There, occupying part of a city park, you will find the Goody Patch Commuity Garden.

Adelaide's Mediterranean climate is conducive to a diversity of vegetables and fruit…
…citrus thrive
… so do figs
…and guava too…
Let's take a walk through Goody Patch and visit some of those good design ideas…

A welcoming entrance creates a good vibe


A sign tells the story of the garden, an effective way to let people know what goes on here and how it came to be. It lets vistors know how to contact the gardeners.


An entrance can be designed to make the garden inviting to visitors. It can be plain and functional or arty and funky.

The community garden entrance is where you say 'welcome'.

Signs can be simple or arty. This one is arty.

Community gardens are places where people come together to grow food, to meet neighbours and to learn together…

Shelter from hot sun… shelter from cold rain…

Shelter is a necessity in community gardens. Combining shelter with other functions like storage shed and nursery is multi-purpose design.

Shelter from rain and hot summer sun is a necessity in community gardens. The Goody Patch's combines shelter and storage shed and provides a place to socialise, plan and celebrate.
Attached to the shelter is the plant propagation area. A cloth awning protects plants and planters from summer's hot sun and winter's rains.
In the shelter of the propagation area, seedlings in planter boxes of await transplanting into the garden.

Layer different uses and activities.

Layering different activities in the community garden creates opportunities.

Arts and community gardens go together like tomatoes and snails…
Arts and community gardens go together like tomatoes and snails. Creating community garden art is the job of adults and children alike. Art adds visual interest and, as the pots on the vertical garden show, even functional things can be made all the more interesting with the addition of a little artistic imagination.

Design and build to reduce time spent in maintenance.

Build strong… maintain less…
It's a seat… it's a work table… it's. built for durability... it's an installation that serves multiple uses. Durable multifunction is a design characteristic at Goody Patch just as it is in most community gardens. The netting in the background protects crops from marauding birds.
Sturdy construction like this raised planter the edges of which serve as seats makes for a more manageable community garden and less maintenance over time. Here, vegetables grow in the mulched garden below a young fruit tree. Straw mulch is used in the garden and woodchip on the paths. Munch brings nutrients and retains moisture around plants as well as reducing the need to weed.
Mulch reduces weed growth… it retains soil moisture… protects soils from temperature extremes and heavy rain… and breaks down into organic matter absorbed by the plant roots as nutrients…

Providing information makes for effective garden management.

A simple sign tells all…
Signs let people know what garden beds are used for and what is planted there. They assist gardeners make best use of space and inform visitors of what is going on. The seat provides solitary seating for those who want to chill out amid the beauty of the edible greenery.

For children, community gardens are adventure playgrounds.

Plan for children's play… community gardens are family places…
Plan for children's play as community gardens are safe places for families. Climbing plants like beans can be planted around the teepee trellis to make a playspace for children. Even common stones can be turned into whimsical works of art.
Multiuse again… community gardens can have multiple user groups, like community and schools…

Plant diverse gardens.

Plant for diversity… have many different plants in the garden…
A diversity of plants not only produces a diversity of food, it attracts a diversity of insect and bird life. Diverse gardens establish the insect food webs that are important to integrated pest management in the community garden.
Gimme some water…
Irrigation, perhaps connected to a timer, is a way of knowing that your plants will receive water even when you are not in the garden. Here you see the black pipe delivering water to the drip or microspray irrigation system. The garden edges have been designed for sitting on.
Plant what you like to eat…

It is a good idea to plant the herbs and vegetables that gardeners commonly eat. These capsicum are tasty cooked or crispy raw.

Don't forget fruit. These guava will provide gardeners with sweet pickings while browsing. Bananas, pawpaw, tamarillo, babaco can be grown quickly and will provide fruity food while waiting for the slower-growing citrus to ripen.

Plant for the bees… they pollinate our fruit and veges and, if our garden has a hive, they produce sweet honey too…
Diverse planting that includes many flowering plants provide habitat for the bees that do the work of pollination in our community garden.
The back of beyond…


What to do with the garden's far reaches? The Goody Patch gardeners have built a small native plant garden complete with a bird bath. Include flowering plants and you make the bugs and bees happy too.

The entire garden including the native plant area is mulched with bark chip, other than the vegetable beds that are mulched with straw.

Created By
Russ Grayson
Photos & text © Russ Grayson —

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