Lasagna Gardening: The Lazy Gardener’s Secret

I can’t tell you how many back breaking days  I’ve spent  pulling up grass, tilling by hand, and guessing on the right soil every time I created a new garden bed. When I discovered lasagna gardening, I realized how much time it would save, how easy it was to expand my garden, and how much less it cost to create an unbelievable rich, organic soil base.

I’ve never looked back…

Recently, I’ve created two new planting beds in my backyard garden. It’s a great opportunity to show you step by step how it’s built and the materials you need to create your own lasagna gardening bed.

Supplies to build two raised garden beds:

  • (3) pieces of untreated lumber sized 2 in. X 12 in. X 16 ft
  • (16) 3 inch screws
  • plenty of plain cardboard or enough newspaper to make a thick layer (don’t use the color inserts)

Step 1 Creating Your Garden Beds:

First, we’ll start with the bed itself. I usually go to my local big box home improvement store for the lumber. They cut it to the size I want at no extra charge. For two raised beds sized 4 ft X 8 ft, I buy three pieces of untreated lumber sized 2 in. X 12 in. X 16 ft. I have two of the boards cut in half, so you will have four pieces measuring 2 in X 12 in. X 8 ft. The third board is cut in to four pieces measuring 2 in. X 12 in. X 4 ft.

For each bed use 3 inch screws to fit two 4 ft. pieces with two 8 ft. pieces forming a rectangle.

Raised garden bed sized 4ft. X 8ft.
Raised garden bed sized 4ft. X 8ft. lined with heavy cardboard in the bottom to stop weeds.

Step 2 Protection From Weeds:

The next step is an easy way to make a garden bed as “weedless” as possible. As you can see in the photo above, I covered the bottom of the bed completely with overlapping cardboard. You can also use a heavy layer of newspaper, but no color sales inserts. Then wet it thoroughly.

Checklist for Making Your Lasagna Garden Bed

  • peat moss (approximately 6 bags/3 cubic ft each compressed)
  • compost (homemade or 4-6 large bags)
  • straw
  • shredded leaves
  • wood ashes

You can also include:

  • Cow or chicken manure
  • vegetable scraps from your kitchen
  • coffee grounds
  • seaweed/kelp
  • grass clippings
  • hay
  • sawdust
  • shredded newspaper (no color inserts)



Step 3 The Lasagna Gardening Layering Process:

The “brown” or carbon layers make up the bulk of your lasagna garden bed. It’s the straw, shredded dead leaves, sawdust, and shredded newspaper.

You can’t really screw this up unless you skimp on the brown ingredients.

The “green” or nitrogen layers are peat moss, compost, manure, grass clippings, vegetable scraps, seaweed, coffee grounds, and hay.

Just alternate the green and brown layers, but remember the brown layers should be about 3-5 inches deep and the green layers 1-2 inches deep. (Twice as much brown to green materials)

It’s also important to note: Heavily water each layer as it goes down.

I usually finish the bed with a layer of peat and a thin layer of wood ash. My bed is 12 inches deep and I like to mound it up higher than that to about 14-16 inches.

The exact ingredients in your lasagna bed will vary depending on what you have available. My goal is to  purchase as little as possible by creating my own compost,  mulched leaves, and other organic matter.

Here’s a handy cheat sheet…

How To Build A Lasagna Garden
How To Build A Lasagna Garden

Step 4: When is it time to plant?

If you’re in a hurry – Honestly, you could begin right away…I would leave off the top layer of wood ash and add a 1-2 inch top layer of garden soil.

If you plan 2 months ahead – Create the beds 6 weeks in advance of planting, cover them with black plastic and let them “cook”. Weight the plastic down with rocks.

If you plan 3-6 months ahead – Create the beds in the fall and let them sit with some mulched leaves on top for 3 or more months

Cooking Your Lasagna Bed
Cooking Your Lasagna Bed

Step 5: Maintaining Your Lasagna Garden Beds

Twice a year before I change seedlings I add a layer of compost with shredded leaves or straw on top.

That’s it!

  • Don’t till it
  • Don’t stir it up
  • Rarely requires weeding
  • Saves time and money
  • A beautiful, organic home for your veggies!

I’ve created a garden planner PDF with the information you need to easily create your own delicious year round garden. My free planner includes finding your planting zone, first and last frost dates for your specific location, a planting time table for over 30 vegetables and herbs, and a garden planner you can print.

Just enter your first name and email below to receive your free copy.

Happy Gardening!

~ Haynes