An Introduction To Growing Herbs On Your Deck

Herb gardens are lovely additions to any home – who does not like the idea of stepping outside and picking fresh herbs to include in your delicious meals?

An indoor herb garden is a great idea if you live in an apartment in the city, but if you are fortunate enough to have an Ecoscape Composite Deck (or any other deck for that matter), you will be able to create a mini herb garden in your own backyard.

For those of us without vast acres for planting herbs, potted herbs on the deck will suffice. But even a potted herb garden can be home to multiple herbs.

We have gathered all the information, tips and tricks needed to grow your own herbs in pots on your deck. Read on for some herb garden ideas to get you inspired to start planting your favourite food accompaniments!


Where To Begin?

If you do not have the space for raised beds, herbs planted in herb pots around or on the deck are a brilliant idea.

Starting a herb garden may be easier than you think. Most herbs do very well when grown from seeds, or you can purchase young plants from your local nursery and repot them into your herb planter.

It really is as easy as picking the herbs you want, preparing your seed trays, allowing the seedlings to grow, and replanting them into planters on your deck.

Different herbs grow during different seasons, so make sure to consult the nursery employees about the requirements of each of the herbs you wish to include in your herb garden.

Here is what you will need to begin your herb garden on your deck:

  • Your herb seeds of choice, or alternatively young herb seedlings
  • Seed trays or biodegradable pots
  • Compost and potting soil
  • Watering can
  • Small shovel or trowel
  • Small pots or planters
  • Liquid plant food
  • Scissors or trimming shears for when you need to prune


Tips For Growing Herbs On Your Deck

Now that you know where to begin, here are some tips and herb garden ideas to get you started with growing herbs on your deck.

Choose your herbs

Choosing herbs is the first step, and can also be the most fun. Make sure to not get carried away, and rather only choose herbs that you frequently use in your cooking.

Parsely, coriander, basil, chives, thyme, oregano, mint, rocket and rosemary are all good beginner herbs as they are most often found in popular dishes, or can be included in homemade pesto.

Just take note that some of these herbs tend to die during winters – such as mint, oregano and chives – but don’t worry, they will come back in the warmer months.

Choose the right planters

Whether you are planning a kitchen herb garden or want to grow the herbs on your deck, the containers you use will play a big role in your garden.

Container gardening is fun, and you can get creative with which herbs you plant where. You can plant one herb per pot, or combine several herbs in a large planter. Try to keep in mind how large the herb will become and choose a suitable container to match the size or height of the plant.

Containers tend to dry out faster than flowerbeds, especially in full sun, so instinctively you may want to go for a container without drainage. The trick to successful container gardening is actually choosing planters with good drainage, and frequently wetting the soil.

Decide on the location

Plenty of herbs do well in full sun, so make sure to find a sunny spot on your deck where you can place your planters. It will be convenient to have them right by the door for easy picking or decorate the edges of your deck with the planters if that is where the sun is.

Move your potted plants inside if you experience freezing winters, and place the pots on the windowsill or another place where there is plenty of natural light.

Understand what your herbs need

Broadly speaking there are two types of herbs: those that love sunshine and those that enjoy the shade.

Take a look at the sun and shade in your backyard, and decide based on that which herbs would do best in your herb garden.

Oregano, thyme, rosemary and sage love the sun, while parsley and sorrel prefer shady nooks. Do your research thoroughly, and then group sun-loving and partial shade-seeking herbs together.

Control fast-growing herbs

Some herbs grow faster than others and have the potential to overcrowd the other plants if they are all planted in the same pot.

Mint is great for herbal teas, but several mint varieties are very fast growers and can choke out other herbs growing in pots.

Either plant fast-growing herbs in a separate pot or cut back these herbs regularly to prevent them from overcrowding their planters.

Don’t overcrowd your herb garden

Speaking of overcrowding, don’t go over the top and plant too many herbs in a single pot. This will cause the soil to dry up quickly, and result in bolting. Bolting occurs in overcrowded pots and causes herbs to taste bad and eventually die.

Rather regularly sow and trim your herbs, and make sure each plant has adequate space.

Trim the herbs

Some herbs will need to be cut after producing flowers, such as chives and mint. Cut the flowers off as this will encourage more growth in the leaves. Woody herbs should also be trimmed to retain their shapes in the planters.


How To Make A DIY Herb Garden For Your Deck

A vertical planter is perfect for herbs to grow in, especially on a deck with limited space. You can easily make vertical planters from discarded pallets:

  • Take a pallet, and create troughs with each slat by using wood from a second pallet.
  • Line the through with a liner and use a drill or hammer and nails to create drainage holes in the bottom of the trough and liner.
  • Place the pallet upright against a wall and fill the troughs with soil.
  • Use wooden boards to write down the names of each herb, or write it directly on the pallet wood with a waterproof marker.



Which herbs can be planted together?

Ideally, you want to avoid planting mint with other herbs in your herb planter as mint varieties have the ability to overcrowd.

Plants that do well together are rosemary, lavender, oregano and sage.

The best idea is to grow herbs in the same container that enjoy the same conditions (sun versus shade), grow at the same pace, and have the same watering needs.

How deep must containers be to grow herbs?

Herp planters must be between 15 to 30 centimetres deep to give our culinary herbs enough space to grow.

What is the best way to grow herbs outdoors?

Different herbs have different requirements, but all herbs require soil that drains well and shelter from the wind. Place herbs that enjoy sunlight in sunny spots, while shade-loving herbs should be placed in the spotty shade. Give your herbs liquid food or organic fertiliser, and enjoy watching them grow.


Final Thoughts

Now you know how to transform your outdoor space into a herb oasis! Although we recommend starting out with the herbs you use the most while cooking, you can extend your herb garden to include some unusual herbs to make your garden unique.

Just make sure you provide your herbs with well-draining soil and the right amount of sunshine and soon you will have the best herbs in the neighbourhood.

Gary is the founder and CEO of Ecoscape UK. Gary graduated from Liverpool JM University in 2007 with a 2:1 in Economics. A passion for innovation, design and sustainability, Gary has put to market numerous wpc products/systems, some of which have UK and European registered designs. Outside of work Gary enjoys spending time with his family, the great outdoors and watching Manchester United.