4x4 Square Foot Garden Plan


Refer to your seed list and begin arranging the crops in the garden map. Use square foot garden spacing or the recommended space between plants indicated on the back of your seed package to estimate how many plants you can grow in an area. Step 3: Start with High Value Crops. Start plotting your garden with the crops you consider important.

If you use row planting in your raised garden, you’re missing out! You could be growing a lot more, without any extra effort.

Written by Laura BartholomewDirector – Square Foot Gardening Foundation Is it time to think beyond your own backyard? This past year has had many of us thinking differently about so many things, for instance; where our food comes from, and how our children are being educated, balancing work and family time, how essential workers go. Square-foot gardening typically starts with a 4x4-foot raised garden bed filled with amended soil then subdivided into 1-foot squares with markers like lattice strips. You then plant the appropriate number of plants in each square. (This is determined by plant size.).

Do not worry though, ambitious gardener. There’s a better way and we’re here to show you the plant spacing ‘light’.

4x4 Square Foot Garden Plan

Below we’ll give you a quick tutorial on plant spacing needs for different vegetables. We’ll explain how plant spacing works best when growing in a raised garden, how you can effortlessly partition your garden into equal growing sections, and even give you a plant spacing chart you can share with friends, put on your own website, or just use for yourself so you can grow a garden so great, the Jones’s will have to keep up with you!

Already understand plant spacing and just want to reference our spacing chart? Scroll to the bottom of this page.

Need a planting spacing grid? Check out our Garden Grid™ watering system here.

Here’s what you should be doing: Plant by area, not by rows.

Row spacing is meant to giving you a walking path between plants, you shouldn’t be walking in a Raised Garden. When you grow a garden in a raised garden bed, the purpose of the bed is to condense your growing area to a point that you can reach all plants, without having to step into the growing area. That’s why great raised gardens always have one dimension of 4ft or less. (i.e. 4×8 raised garden , 3×6 raised garden). The reason for this dimension is that an average person’s arm can reach at least 2ft. So when you see a gardener with a raised bed that’s 4ft wide, you’ll know that savvy grower can always reach the middle of their growing area!

Since you don’t need to walk in your garden, your soil never gets compressed, your plants don’t get squished, and your favorite pair of sneakers stay nice and clean.

It’s a win, win … win!

So what do we mean ‘plant by area’?

Planting by area means taking a square section of garden, and dividing the length and width of that section by the plant spacing needs.
If you look on the back of a seed packet you’ll see two types of measurement:

  1. Seed/Plant Spacing
  2. Row Spacing

Now, we normally do not condone being wasteful, but we want you to take that row spacing number, and throw it away! You won’t need it. What you will need is the seed spacing/plant spacing number. You will use the seed spacing/plant spacing number to divide up planting sections to know how many seeds to sow.

Let’s get started: First you need to make planting sections

Typically about 1 square foot sections are preferred. We say “about 1 square foot” because the thickness of a garden bed board will make the growing area of your garden just under an increment of 1 foot; but not to worry, your plants will never know the difference.

To make plant spacing easier, many gardeners will make a plant spacing grid.

Sample Square Foot Garden Plans

  • 1st they’ll measure their garden bed.
  • Then go out and buy materials such as wood or string and screws.
  • Then cut everything to length.
  • Then attach the pieces to the frame of their garden bed to make a grid.

If you don’t want to go through all of that hassle…we created a pre-assembled, tool-free, plant spacing guide & garden irrigation system in one. It’s called The Garden Grid™ – check it out here!

Next, let’s figure out how many seeds to plant:

We have our simple plant spacing chart below if you want to jump ahead and begin planting now, but if you want to know how we got the plant spacing measurements, stick right here!We’re going to do a little math. Don’t panic! We promise it’s really, really easy.

  • Step 1: Locate the seed spacing number from the back of your seed packet. (We’ll use 3 inch seed spacing for this example)
  • Step 2: Divide the width of your planting section (about 12 inches) by the 3 inch seed spacing.
    • Answer: 12 inches across / 3 inch seed spacing = 4 plants across
  • Step 3: Repeat step two but for the length of your planting section. (Also about 12 inches).
    • Answer: 12 inches across / 3 inch seed spacing = 4 plants across
  • Step 4: Multiply your two answers together
    • Answer: 4 plants across X 4 plants across = 16 plants!
  • Step 5: Start planting! With 3 inch seed/plant spacing needs, you can grow 16 plants in a 1 square foot area.
  • Step 6: Keep planting! You now have the plant spacing formula for the rest of your garden!

For a little garden inspiration, try out this salad garden layout we made based on our 4×4 Garden Grid™ watering system. Tap here for our full salad garden,salsa garden, or stir-fry garden blog posts.

4x4 square foot garden plan companion plants

The Garden In Minutes® Plant Spacing Chart

Find what you can grow the most of, or find your favorite plants, but most importantly – get out & start growing!

Vegetable TypePlant Spacing Per SquareVegetable TypePlant Spacing Per Square
Asian Greens4Parsley4
Beans (bush)4-9Peanuts1
Bok Choy (baby)9Peppers (Bell)1
Broccoli1Peppers (All Others)1
Brussel Sprout1Potatoes4
Cantaloupe2 squares per plantQuinoa4
French Sorrel4-9Swiss Chard4
Green Onions16Tomatoes1
Lettuce (leaf)6Watercress1
Lettuce (head)2 Watermelon2 squares per plant
Melons2 squares per plantYams4
Mint1-4Yellow Onion (large)2-4
Onions (bunching)9Zucchini1

So there you have it! Our all-in-one, everything your need to know, plant spacing chart and planting guide. Planting by area was inspired and made popular by the concept of square foot gardening, if you want to learn more about square foot gardening, check out our other article on just that! Also, if you’re still curious about setting up a planting guide with an integrated irrigation system, where you won’t need any tools, check out The Garden Grid™ on our How it Works page!

Our plant spacing chart is always growing. Have something you want added? Let us know in the comments below!

If you’ve always wanted to grow your own vegetable garden but have been turned off by the idea of spending countless hours stooped over endless rows of vegetables, square foot gardening may be the perfect solution for you. Not only does square foot gardening save space, it is also known to provide excellent produce yields matching amounts produced in row-style gardens of far greater size. But perhaps the most appealing aspect of square foot gardening is how little physical work is required compared to traditional gardening methods.

To start square foot gardening or to find a Garden Grid™ for your garden bed, explore our shop here.

Sounds great, but what exactly is square foot gardening?

The term ‘square foot gardening’ was coined by Mel Bartholomew in 1981 and refers to the practice of dividing a gardening space into equally sized sections – usually around 1 square foot. This method relies on structure to create small yet concentrated gardens that typically have high yields.

In our popular 4×4 Raised Garden Kit shown above, our 4×4 Garden Grid™ watering system evenly partitions the planting space into equally sized square planting sections and surrounds all plants with gentle water streams.

What are the advantages of square foot gardening?

The advantages of square foot gardening make it attractive for both novice gardeners and seasoned green thumbs alike. The gardening method uses raised garden beds that require minimal yard space, making it suitable for those with limited space and urbanites wishing to start a garden. If your HOA allows it, a raised garden bed can also provide edible landscaping in a front yard.

4x4 square foot garden plan for zone 5

A raised garden bed allows for gardening in places where the soil is of poor quality. A raised garden bed can bypass rocky and clay-type soils that drain poorly and don’t allow plants to establish strong root systems. With a raised garden bed, you are in full control of the soil your plants will grow in.

In addition to saving space, the dense planting arrangement can lead to the growth of organic mulch, making it very difficult for weeds to grow. Square foot gardeners also find planting and fertilizing to be easier as the soil is loose and manageable.

How does a Square Foot Gardening Grid help?

As veteran gardeners know well, and those yet to plant their first seed will soon find out, different plants and vegetables require varying amounts of space to thrive. While not an exact science, a degree of precision during planting time will pay dividends come harvest.

Traditionally, with square foot gardening a gardener will measure and stake out square foot planting sections by making a grid out of a variety of instruments such as string or thin wood slats. Using the square foot gardening grid sections a gardener plants by area instead of rows, (reference our related article noted above) to grow in a condensed space. Upon quick assembly, the Garden Grid™ watering system takes care of all the measuring for you, dividing your growing area into equal planting sections. What’s more, the Garden Grid™ serves as your primary garden irrigation system. A square foot gardening grid and garden irrigation system wrapped into one; it doesn’t get much easier than this.

Square foot gardening grid sections plus watering, a simple and quick solution for a square foot garden set up.

How much will I be able to grow?

Most gardeners will be surprised at the amount of produce that can be gleaned from even a small raised garden bed using the square foot gardening method. A 4×4 foot raised garden bed may yield enough vegetables for a small family to enjoy during the growing season, and freeze for later. Trellises can be used to maximize the amount of plants per square foot and ultimately increase the yield of your raised garden bed.

Ready to Start Your Own Square Foot Garden? Here are two popular plants to try out!

Square Foot Gardening Tomatoes

In square foot gardening, you can comfortably grow one tomato plant per grid square.

A delicious addition to any garden salad, tomatoes are one of our favorite plants to grow. Square foot gardening tomatoes have a surprisingly high yield; a single healthy plant can provide approximately 20 pounds of produce. The Brandywine and Early Girl varieties are excellent tomatoes for square foot gardening as they grow well vertically and require little square footage.

Square Foot Gardening Cucumbers

Using square foot gardening, you can comfortably grow two cucumber plants per square foot.

Square Foot Gardening Design Layout

Another great plant for square foot gardening is the cucumber. A healthy square foot gardening cucumber plant has a yield of approximately 5 pounds, and can also be grown vertically with support from a trellis. If you use the square foot gardening method in a 4×4 foot raised garden bed you can comfortably grow eight tomato plants and 16 cucumber plants at the same time!

This is just one of countless plant combinations you can grow in a raised garden bed. To understand more about how to space different plants with the square foot gardening method, check out our plant spacing guide.


4x4 Garden Ideas

Square foot gardening gives gardeners the opportunity to grow healthy, bountiful gardens, all the while using less space and requiring less time and effort than a traditional row garden.

If you want to begin square foot gardening, but not sure where to start, check out our How It Works page and learn about our tool-free Raised Garden Kits!

4x4 Vegetable Garden Plans

Are you starting a square foot garden? Or are you an experienced grower? Tell us about your favorite plants to grow or what you’re looking forward to growing below!