Keyhole Garden Beds

So I just discovered this concept from the following article: You should start a keyhole garden

I was wondering if any of you have tried something similar? it seems like an interesting concept with the following advantages (for those who don’t feel like reading the whole thing):

  1. Easy access to the entire garden space from one spot
  2. Easy fertilization (with proper soil makeup to allow distribution of compost “tea”)
  3. Reduced time to maintain the bed once established (not hauling away compost to another area)
  4. I think it is more esthetically pleasing than a standard raised bed (which I have 4 of)

Disadvantages I see:

  1. Inefficient use of space if you don’t have a large area to grow in
  2. Higher material cost vs standard raised beds (not a problem with “free” materials can be found)
  3. More time consuming initial construction

I have been considering this myself. I have not tried this yet, but I do have room in my food forest and may build one this year. One of my favorite youtube channels is “The Gardening Channel with James Prigioni”. This week he happened to do a video about just this topic. I hope you find it interesting.

It doesn’t take me too long to build a raised bed, but I think it would take me considerable time to build one of these.
Have a good day


I like the shape of the keyhole garden beds and kind of would arrange my fabric pots to make them.

If I was building my raised beds with cinderblocks or self pouring my own forms I would do 4 of them and make a neat little circle shape for my garden.

However in the utilitarian style of my cedar raised beds eventually being covered by a cold frame I decided it was too wasteful.

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if made with masonry blocks, i bet it would cost around $50. i bought 4 the other day and they came to $8. not as asetheticly pleasing as wood but like Max said, lumber would cost you a small fortune right now.


I just took down a masonry block retaining wall (replaced with sandstone from my jobsite) and have been trying to think of an idea for using it. This might be it, but probably at the office or my parents place. I don’t have anymore room left for raised beds.


I had an 8 footby 8 foot plot that I put a 16 inch step stone in the center to stand on.


I like the keyhole garden concept, but the design in that video wastes good lumber. It would have wasted less lumber to make a rectangle, and put some stepping stones in it.


That’s a great suggestion, especially in the current pricing environment. I think one of the main draws to that specific design, though, is to be able to use the compost material in the center to “water in” the nutrients it creates. I’m not an expert on anything garden related or soil science but it seems like an interesting concept.

Nil; That is the way I do things, Stepping spots wood stiff Plastic compressed dirt at stepping spot.

It compresses the soil under the stones, where nothing is growing. That problem can be solved by placing a cinder block, or gravel & sand under the stepping stones (non-compressible material). In the current design, nothing can grow in the thin air in the center of the garden, so what difference does it make if the soil there gets a little compressed? Is slightly compressed soil worse than no soil at all?

I am not saying you are wrong at all. I’m just looking at it from a hydrologic perspective where having an open spot would allow water to leak from that opening instead of staying in the bed. Maybe I’m not being clear…

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