Building a Lasagna Garden For An Easier Environment

What You'll Need
newspaper, cardboard, brown paper bags for bottom layer
"brown" compost: dried leaves, sawdust, mulch, straw, wood chips, twigs, peat moss or coir
"green" compost: grass clippings, coffee grounds, manure, seaweed
bone meal and wood ash (optional)
compost soil for the top layer
container for indoor gardening

A lasagna garden isn't a garden that grows tomatoes, spinach and Italian herbs. It's named after lasagna because the process of building is similar to that of making a lasagna. A lasagna garden is built by "sheet composting" or layering compost to create your garden bed. The process of lasagna gardening can be used full-scale for a large outdoor garden, or you can plant a small pot of herbs indoors using the same idea. Lasagna gardens require no tilling or digging, just layer and plant!


  • If planting in a container to keep indoors, make sure you place on a window sill that gets about 6 hours of sun. If outdoors, pick a space in full sun as well.
  • For best results, apply about 4 times as much brown compost as green compost.
  • You don't have to use all the ingredients listed, but make sure you use a large amount of peat moss or coir (or some other water absorbent material). Coir is the prepared fiber from a coconut husk. Some prefer coir because they believe extracting peat from bogs to make peat moss is hard on the environment.

Step 1: Getting Started

Stake out your area and apply the first layer, wet newspapers, cardboard or brown paper bags. This heavy layer serves to kill the grass and weeds, so you don't have to dig up anything before starting. If using newspaper, use about 10 layers and overlap.

Step 2: Start with Peat Moss 

Shovel a couple of inches or so of peat moss, or another water-absorbent material over the newspaper. Spread out so that it covers the newspaper.

Step 3: More Brown Compost

Next, apply several inches, about 4 to 8, of another brown compost material like straw. 

Step 4- Peat Moss, Green, Peat Moss, Brown

There is no true science to layering. but you do want quite a bit more brown than green. A good pattern is to lay peat moss, then a green compost material, then peat moss again, then another brown compost material, then peat moss, then green, etc. 

Step 5-Top It Off

Stop layering when your garden is 18 to 24 inches high. Sprinkle bone meal and wood ash for added potassium and phosphorous.

Step 5: Time to Bake

Although you can start planting in your lasagna garden immediately, allowing it to sit for several weeks and "bake" gives the layers time to break down and decompose. A good time to start your garden is in the fall when lots of dried leaves are available, and by spring, your lasagna garden will be cooked to perfection!

Step 6: Planting

Remember, no digging! Just scoop out a hole and drop in your plant, pushing the compost layers back around the stem. If planting seeds, cover the seeds with a thin layer of compost soil.

Lasagna gardening is fun, easy, and good for the earth! Happy gardening!