10 Allotment Design Tips for Beginners & Experts

10 Allotment Design Tips for Beginners & Experts

Fruit trees, raised beds, fruit cages and crop rotation. As an allotment owner, these are all elements you need to think about when planning your allotment design. While a vegetable garden is a great way to grow your own fruit and veg, it does take some planning to ensure you get the best yield for your effort.

Allotment planting and design might seem a little overwhelming at first. Still, with the right allotment site and a bit of vision, you can turn any space into a gardening paradise where you can grow your own food, spend time relaxing and enjoy the perks of being an allotment holder!


How To Design Your Allotment Layout

Whether you want to grow soft fruit or root veg, we've gathered our gardening experts once again to share their advice for the best allotment layout and design tips. And, the great news is that if you need any gardening or allotment supplies, we have everything you need right here in our WM James online gardening shop.


Allotment Layout & Planting Tips

Allotment design is all about making sure you focus on a few essentials so that your garden has the best opportunity to thrive. With the basics in place, you can be a little more flexible with what you add to your allotment layout. So, let's start by looking at five allotment layout essentials.


1. Think About the Sun & Shade

Hopefully, if you are renting your allotment space, then you will receive one with a good amount of sun. If you have the luxury to create your own allotment wherever you want to, then you can choose a sunny spot. However, this is not always the case, you might end up with a shadier spot, and if you do, you need to choose fruits and vegetables that can thrive in these conditions.


2. Creating Grass Paths

When thinking of the layout of your allotment, you need to plan the space well. Grass paths help you avoid walking over the beds and compromising the beds. Traditionally, these paths would be on either side of the bed. Consider your beds and your spatial needs when planning the location of the paths.


3. Companion Planting

Companion planting is a technique used in gardening. It is where two or more plants are planted close to each other. It has several purported benefits, including pest control and increased yields. To put it simply, they can help each other to grow. So when planning your planting efforts bear that in mind. 


4. Perennial Plants

Perennials are a form of plant that recur year after year. Depending on the plant, it may be every green, or it may go dormant in the winter months, coming back to life in the spring. Some perennials can have significant life plans like shrubs and trees. At the same time, others will need replacing every few years. Perennials are hardier and tend to survive better in a hostile environment.


5. Disposing Of Garden Waste

Most people either rent space on an allotment or build one in their garden. Either way, it will create waste; however, most of the waste can be classed as garden waste and go in the appropriately coloured bin to be picked up by the council. Garden waste can also be composted, and in doing so, it can become useful for your plants again and minimise the amount of waste you create.



Allotment Design Extras

With the basics in place, your allotment will be in good shape, and you can start thinking about the specific plants, fruit and vegetables you'll be planting in your new allotment. We always recommend drawing up a plan of your new allotment layout and planning out plants before you start digging.

Some plants can't be grown in the same bed and soil and so are best grown alone in containers or a raised bed. For example, you might choose to plant tomatoes, broad beans and strawberries in their own grow bags or pots to prevent damage and disease from spreading through your crops.


1. Planting Fruit Bushes & Fruit Trees

After choosing your fruit tree, you need to wait for the right time to plant it; generally, this will be sometime between December and March, depending on the fruit tree or bush, the weather, and the soil conditions. You also need to find the right place for them too. To do so, you need to think about the amount of sunlight in the area, how exposed it is, whether there is enough space and finally, if the soil in that area would be hospitable for the fruit tree.


2. Incorporating Other Plants

You can use companion planting techniques to incorporate other plants into your allotment. When planning your plants think about your level of skill; if you are a novice, you might want to try growing vegetables that are considered beginner-friendly. You should also think about the amount of room you have because this can limit your options.


3. Weed Control

When it comes to controlling weeds catching them early is advised. You can pull them out by hand as they occur or hoe them out. If your allotment becomes overrun, weed control can become more complicated. You can use chemical weed killers, but they may also affect your plants. You could also try covering the ground with an opaque sheet; this takes a while, but it kills the weeds, and chemicals do not compromise your plot.


4. Crop Rotation

Most growers use crop rotation. Perennial vegetables do not need to be rotated. Annual crops need to be rotated, however. They can be grown wherever convenient, although you should avoid growing them too often in the same place. Plan your rotation before the season starts to mark out the plots you want to use. 


5. Equipment & Tools

There are several essential gardening tools that are considered necessary for your allotment that includes:

  • Trowel 
  • Spade
  • Fork
  • Rake
  • Gardening gloves
  • Watering can/hose 

In addition to the necessities, there are some other items that you might want to consider.

Finally, you should consider investing in some form of storage to keep all of your tools onsite, secure and safe from the weather.


Final Allotment Design Tips

Designing an allotment is really a personal process. It is all about striking a balance between function and form. When planning, do your research and think about your time commitments and skill level.