Trimble SketchUp (formerly Google SketchUp) is a free software tool, which is great for garden planning. I have some things on my kitchen garden plot, that cannot easily be moved, like old fruit trees, a large concrete bed and a concrete composting tube. If it hadn’t been for these locked objects it would be really simple to create a layout, but with SketchUp you can quickly try out different ideas on how to work around the objects to get the most room for garden beds. For each object you put onto the screen you input the actual 1:1 dimensions, like for instance the base size of your plot and the actual size of each bed. Then you can start filling in beds until you run out of space.
This is how my layout is going to be in 2013:
There are 12 beds, preferably raised beds, a concrete bed, and different fruit trees and bushes. Each bed is 1.00 m wide (3.3 ft).
SketchUp has a cool feature where you can read out every length you need, for example the length of each bed:
I want each bed to be as long as possible to get the largest area for growing as possible but here I’m limited by trees. You can use the Dimensions tool on every length in your layout that you could have an interest in knowing.
I have measured the lengths of all the 12 beds and now I’m ready to create a sowing and crop rotation plan.
The software program is available here: Trimble SketchUp