Then mark on position of any permanent structures including trees and hedges.
Decide if these are to remain where they are, or if you wish to move or even remove them altogether.
Ensure that any structures/trees that you plan to remove, are not listed buildings, and / or that the trees do not have TPO's (Tree Preservation Orders) on them.
Once these items have been dealt with, it is now time to plan your layout;
Firstly; indicate the prevailing wind direction, and what areas get full sunshine and for how long?.
Next; plan where you are going to to locate permanent structures such as:
- A Greenhouse / Tunnel.
- Garden shed.
- Fruit cage etc.
Follow this by marking out where you wish to make permanent plantings such as flower and vegetable beds, fruit trees etc. i.e. items that once set will not require moving in later years.
Consider the following when locating any of the above;
The Compost heap:
It is quite a common practice for the plot holder to tuck this valuable asset away in a corner of the plot because it is a bit unsightly.
Consider these points;
- Will you be able to get a tractor/trailer to it if receiving a load of farmyard manure?
- Will you have to cart the compost uphill rather than downhill when transferring the compost onto the beds?
- Similarly will you have to walk to the other end of the plot to deposit compostable material from the beds or the kitchen?
OK these are minor points, but in the long term they are worth considering when drawing up the initial plan i.e. it will avoid the need to re-arrange the location later.
When making the compost heap structure, make it in a manner that allows you to remove at least one side of it for access.
The Cold frame:
Ideally set your frame where it is sheltered from the North and with the glass sloping to the south.
There are many types of manufactured cold frames on the market some of which are quite expensive.
To economize, you could make a functional frame from salvaged window frames/sashes.
Greenhouse / Tunnel:
If practical, locate these where they benefit from maximum light, for example site the gable ends North and South.
This will allow the maximum ingress of sunlight through the long sides of the structure as the sun moves from east to west over the course of the day!.
If you do, the trees and bushes will have to be well supported against the ravages of the prevailing wind.
An alternative location is to locate the fruit bushes as dividers to split the plot into three/ four parts for crop rotation purposes.
Planting a row of Jerusalem artichokes will also make a functional edible windbreak and or a divisional demarcation line.
As with the greenhouse / tunnel location, the beds are ideally best situated to run north to south. In this way, both sides of each bed are exposed to maximum sunlight.
To site them east to west can result in taller plants shading smaller plants.
If the above is impractical and you have to locate your beds in an East to West manner you could consider forming the plant rows across the bed rather than length ways, meaning; these will effectively be running north to south.