Keyhole garden design holds the key to saving water

In 2013, we wrote about one of our favorite gardening concepts: hugelkultur, in which large chunks of rotting wood buried deep underneath a garden’s soil will save water and, eventually, turn into compost.

We found this example of a keyhole garden over at

Well, we have a new favorite: the keyhole garden. A recent Rodale story does a great job of explaining the concept in detail, but here’s the gist:

You create a circular, raised bed that’s about 6 feet wide about and as high as your waist, but you leave a slot up the middle – the result looks like an old-fashioned keyhole in a door or, if you don’t remember those, makes the garden look a bit like Pac-Man.

The height means you don’t have to bend over to work; the compact circular design and center slot lets you reach everything easily; and at the very middle, also accessible via the slot, is a core that holds compost and filters water – including gray water – to the rest of your garden.

With spring around the corner and temperatures soaring (for this time of year), there’s no better time to get outside and start prepping for the growing season. With its combination of built-in composter and water-saving features, this garden design is definitely on our to-do list.