Leading landscaping expert and Adbri Masonry brand ambassador Jason Hodges lists out a step-by-step plan to create an edible garden right at home.

Australia’s leading masonry manufacturer Adbri Masonry along with Jason Hodges had earlier identified the growth of edible gardens as a key outdoor landscaping trend for 2014, going into the summer of 2015.

Adbri Masonry Marketing Manager Karl Wood attributed the trend to increasing urbanisation and decreasing amounts of personal space, encouraging homeowners to make the most of their outdoors to improve their health and wellbeing. The ‘Outdoor Room’ is expected to become one of the most valued rooms in the house in 2014/15.

Jason describes the Outdoor Room as the healthiest room in the house where the family can grow organic fruits, vegetables and herbs, and share them with family and friends while enjoying the fresh air and sunlight.

Jason advises homeowners to begin their organic adventure with raised garden beds. When planning their new edible garden, it would help to list out the objectives, specifically what they expect from their garden such as herbs, vegetables or fruits.

Adbri Masonry and Jason Hodge’s StepByStep instructions for an edible garden

Step 1: Mark out the shape of the garden patch, keeping in mind how much space and depth will be required to plant the chosen items. Once the shape is defined, use marking paint to mark a line on the ground around the shape.

TIP: Ensure sufficient space is provided to work and walk around each garden patch.

Step 2: Excavate a trench approximately 50-100mm wider than the block and approximately 200mm in depth around the shape of the marked garden patch. Remove turf and debris from the area to avoid them growing back.

TIP: Place the turf in green bins but the soil can be saved for reuse in the soil mix for the raised garden patch.

Step 3: Bring in roadbase and spread it throughout the footing of the veggie patch to a depth of approximately 50mm. Compact the roadbase flat using a plate compactor.

TIP: Use rebase, a recycled roadbase for the footing as it is not only better for the environment but can save on costs too.

Step 4: Prepare a sand and cement screed mix of 4:1 and spread the mix over the roadbase using a timber float to a thickness of approximately 30mm. Get the sand and cement mix level using a spirit level.

TIP: Getting the level in the base is important and worth spending some time on.

Step 5: To lay the first course of blocks, start at one end and place blocks onto the screeded sand and cement mix, gently tapping the blocks into position using a rubber mallet, and getting the level correct with the spirit level. Continue laying blocks around the trench until the first course of blocks is completed.

Step 6: Continue laying blocks by simply stacking them on top of one another, using a small hand broom to sweep dirt and debris off the top of the course below to ensure the blocks are being laid on a nice flat surface. Lay the blocks to the desired height, noting the maximum unreinforced heights specified for the retaining wall.

Step 7: The next step involves the installation of the capping units to get a clean and flush garden wall; using a suitable landscape grade outdoor adhesive (such as landscape liquid nails), put 4 ‘blobs’ of adhesive on the top of each block on the top course and firmly place the capping unit on top of the glue. Repeat until all capping units are firmly secured to the top of the wall blocks.

Step 8: Use a wheelbarrow to bring in the soil, mulches and potting mix. Spread the soil evenly throughout the new veggie patch until half way up the top of the capping unit.

TIP: Consider using organic soils to keep it healthy for the family.

Step 9: Once the garden bed is prepared, begin the planting process; consider layering the plants, starting with taller fruit trees in the centre and working out towards veggies and herbs, which can be easily accessed all year around.

Step 10: Hose down the blocks and water the newly planted garden patch.