Gardening main

No shovel? No problem! Create a no-dig garden

A no-dig garden consists of layers of organic material that are stacked up to form a rich, raised garden area.

August 13, 2020
Gardening main

Leave the shovel in the shed! Here's how to have a no-dig garden

Vegetable seedlings, flowering annuals, herbs, bulbs and strawberries all thrive in a no-dig garden and it's great for areas with poor soil conditions, such as the sandy soil we have here in Perth.

Pick a spot that gets plenty of sunlight and that's flat. You can construct it over lawn, existing garden beds or even concrete.

You will need:

  • Newspaper (don’t use glossy printed paper or office paper as they contain toxic inks and bleaches
  • Lucerne
  • Manure & compost
  • Straw
  • If building on concrete, you’ll also need dry small sticks and branches or old dry leaves.

Mark out your garden bed and prepare the ground

  • Soil/garden bed – no preparation needed
  • Concrete – cover with a layer of dry small sticks and branches, old dry leaves about 7-10cm thick
  • Grass – sprinkle lime, blood & bone fertiliser and sprinkle in.

Start layering – after each layer, water in well

  1. Newspaper – 5 mm thick and overlap the edges to prevent weeds
  2. Lucerne – 10cm thick
  3. Manure & compost – 5cm thick
  4. Straw – 10cm thick
  5. Manure & compost – 5cm thick
  6. Straw – 7-10cm thick


  • Make holes in the top layer of straw approximately 10-15cm wide and deep
  • Fill with compost
  • Plant seeds, seedlings or plants
  • Using a watering can or hose, water in well
  • Now you’ve finished just step back and admire your newly constructed no-dig garden bed!

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