13 Amazing Survival Garden Layout Plans [With Seeds and Plants to Grow]

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Been scavenging the internet for the best survival garden layout? Unsure of which plants and seeds to grow? 

Considering the fact that there are probably a thousand ways out there to design and set up a survival garden, it is okay to be confused. To help you in the process, we have gathered the best designs and all that you need to know to set up one easily.

Planning a survival garden can be a tedious task, especially when there are quite a few things to take care of. For instance, you have to decide whether you want the garden just for generating the maximum yield or would you like for it to be visually appealing too?

This article will list 13 garden layouts to fit varied crop preferences, goals, and available spaces.

But before that, let’s discuss the elementary process of setting up a survival layout.

Survival Gardening Starter Guide

Setting up a survival garden begins with planning the garden layout and includes multiple steps. Here are a few basic steps:

  • Selecting a Location

    This one might seem like an obvious step, but listen up. 

    If one is planning to straight-up convert a backyard to a garden, the land will need some preparation. You might need to plow the land, turn the soil, water, and add fertilizer. Also, you need to make sure that the planting area gets enough sunlight.

    Want to know more? Consider scrolling through the do’s and don’ts whenever you are planting an organic garden. 
  • Deciding What to Plant

    The type of plants one will grow depends on a few factors such as whether there is a family to feed, the kind of soil in the garden, the required amount of calories, and of course, one’s personal choices. 

    It is not the best idea to grow a vegetable that you know you won’t eat for sure.

    Howsoever, a few plants with high yields often grown in survival gardens include potatoes, beans, onions, turnips, radishes, squash, beets, peas, etc.
  • Types Of Seeds

    Open-pollinated or heirloom seeds are ideal for survival gardening because they can be saved after the planting season is over. Hybrid, treated, or greenhouse seeds would work just fine as well.
  • Planning the layout

    After deciding on the plants, you would want to design a layout. You can do that yourself, or read on to find some suitable layouts. However, you should plan the number of beds and rows your selected plants will require. This will increase efficiency. 

After planning, you need to rid the soil of weeds, add suitable fertilizer, and compost. You will also need to make sure that the soil is watered well. 

Looking for the best fertilizers for your garden? This guide is for you!

Now that you know how to get started with the setting-up process, let’s take a look at 13 multipurpose and efficient garden layout designs:

1. 4 ft. by 8 ft. Raised Bed Layout

4 ft. by 8 ft. Raised Bed Layout

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Vegetable survival gardens are meant to provide a much-needed supplementation to diets that are heavy on pantry staples. This one, in particular, has been designed to grow leaf lettuce plants, carrots, spinach, kale, beets, etc. However, you can modify the layout and adjust it to what plants you wish to grow.

This survival garden can be constructed on a 4’ by 8’ area and can be expected to generate more than 120 pounds of food in the harvesting season.

Pro Tip: Make sure to mix and match a number of vegetables. Learn how companion planting works and watch your garden thrive!

2. 54 Square Foot Medicinal Survival Garden Plan

54 Square Foot Medicinal Survival Garden Plan

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Medicinal survival gardens are becoming increasingly popular these days. This is because they allow the plantation of herbs with medicinal properties, which come in handy when one doesn’t really want to rely on expensive pharmaceuticals. 

A feature of this layout is that you get the liberty to choose whether you want to set it up as a raised bed or in the traditional row form. To help you decide, raised beds are suitable for smaller yards and rows can accommodate all types of plants.

While choosing the medicinal plants, you can either go with the combination shown above in the layout, or you could create your own with a mix of plants with antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, wound care, and dermatological properties.

3. Victory Survival Garden Layout

Victory Survival Garden Layout

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This layout emphasizes survival crops that provide calories in sufficient amounts. This design is ideal for amateur gardeners who can’t decide on the right crops to plant and would like a simpler plan that is easy to take care of.

To recreate this plan, you should follow the basic combination of root veggies (carrots, beets), some fruits (preferably, berries), etc. You could also grow some plants of sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, Siberian kale, parsnips, and a few herbs.

Make sure to get rid of weeds regularly to prevent any competition for resources with the survival plants.

Need a homemade solution to weeds? Check out our Simple Homemade Organic Weed Killer Recipe.

4. Off-Grid Survival Garden Idea

Off-Grid Survival Garden Idea

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This “Off-grid” survival grid is called so because it makes use of a unique approach to survival gardening. Plants are grown in symbiotic relationships – which mean that they grow mutually by benefitting each other. This is achieved by companion planting. 

In this layout, the plants are basically planted in “guilds”, rather than rows. Guilds can be described as concentric circles having different plants that are so planted to have a symbiotic relationship. This is a more natural way of growing a survival garden.

Guilds can be thought of as mini-ecosystems that are planted around a central tree. Then, shade-loving plants (shrubs) are grown. Around the shrubs, the herbs are planted. Lastly, a ground cover is planted around the herbs. The vine layer too naturally grows on the tree.

This one needs to be planted once in a lifetime, and will not require weeding, fertilizer, or pesticides. What’s the best part? It can provide food for up to 30 years.

5. Container Gardens

Container Gardens

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Well, this isn’t exactly a layout but doesn’t growing almost 50 plants in an area of 4 sq. feet sound impossible? With this garden tower, it isn’t! For people running low on space, a container garden would work like a charm. 

This garden tower is 43” tall and weighs 36 lbs. without soil, making it ideal for use outdoors and indoors. Serving a dual purpose, the tower can be used for composting as well. Add vegetable scraps, leaves, and biodegradable material in the center tube and pour water occasionally too.

Other than its compact size, you should probably get this because it can rotate for easy access to plants and harvesting. It stays pretty moist too. Also, this is just a really convenient alternative!

6. Medicinal/Survival/Healing Garden 

Medicinal/Survival/Healing Garden

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This layout includes a survival garden with added advantages of plants with medicinal and healing properties. Its design and type make it suitable for backyards. 

Pay attention to the fact that the plan arranges the herbs and medicinal plants in the middle and the lavender plants are lined up at one edge of the land area.

Most of the plants included in the plan are planted indoors in February and harvested during October or mid-November.

7. Backyard Survival Garden Layout

Backyard Survival Garden Layout

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Survival gardens like the one above rely on not going too overboard with the plants. This is more appropriate for backyards or gardens that have plenty of space available. 

If you plan to grow plants of your choice using this layout, remember to include hybrid vegetables. Also, avoid exotic varieties because they are much more difficult to grow. 

Something worth noting is that corn should be planted in the northern end of the garden to prevent it from shading other plants. Whereas, permanent veggies like asparagus should be planted on either side of the garden.

8. 4 ft. by 4 ft. Raised Bed Layout

4 ft. by 4 ft. Raised Bed Layout

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With a potential yield of about 45 pounds over a growing season, this survival garden layout will work best as an emergency vegetable garden. Being a space-saving design, you can find it a place in your backyard conveniently.

It is suggested to grow loads of leafy vegetables, root vegetables, beans, cucumbers, etc. These will grow effortlessly in a small space and give you all the calories required.

Remember: Because such designs are cost-effective and compact, enough care is not taken to optimize the plant combinations for companion planting or crop rotation.

Been looking for inspiration to build a raised garden bed? This list of 15 beautiful raised garden bed plans got you covered!

9. Permaculture Food Forest

Permaculture Food Forest

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When trees grow in nature without any human intervention, they seem to flourish. They find their own ways around extreme climates, growing conditions, and limited resources. This is termed “Permaculture”. 

Eco-systems like these thrive on their own and do not require any external weeding, fertilizers, or pesticides. Hence, given you have a large enough space, setting up a food forest can be worthwhile.

There are many benefits of propagating a food forest as a survival garden. However, keep in mind that a food forest might take years to grow, and sometimes, it’s just not possible to design or control nature.

10. Emergency Garden Container Growing

Emergency Garden Container Growing

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Emergency container growing can be done even in the smallest of spots – the balcony, the kitchen or literally any space that gets at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight every day. 

You don’t even need to get conventional pots. Repurposed containers, buckets, hanging pots, etc. would work just fine too. Fill them up with potting mix – or mix garden soil with one part compost, one part vermiculite, perlite, or sand.

Since we are talking of container gardening, remember that vegetables or plants that tend to have a complicated root system should not be preferred. Instead, plants like salad greens, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, radishes, beans, etc. grow well.

Pro Tip: While using containers, you have the liberty to arrange them any way you want. Yet, vertical arrangements are known to perform the best. Also, don’t forget that containers dry out quickly, so they need to be watered frequently.

11. Multi-Bed Survival Garden

Multi-Bed Survival Garden

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Don’t want to deal with companion planting? Here is the plan for you! This layout simplifies which plants should go together, helping you make your crop combinations easily. This design will also produce enough food to feed a whole family.

Having multiple raised garden beds, this layout is best suited to gardeners who have enough land to spare. This design also allows you to grow many plant species at the same time because there is no room for competition for resources.

To maximize the crop yield, clip the herbs, harvest the beans, and pick the cucumbers. This is because picking ripe vegetables on the vine or plant triggers much more production. Otherwise, if the ripe vegetables are not harvested, the plant will start to go dormant, start to seed and eventually die.

12. Keyhole Survival Garden

Keyhole Survival Garden

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Keyhole gardening has long been carried out in parts of South Africa to combat harsh climatic conditions and tough relief features. To enable farming in the first place, keyhole gardening was started as a sustainable gardening technique. 

In simpler words, a keyhole garden is a raised bed planter. It has a circular shaped dome with a composting bin at the center. Several other materials such as cardboard, newspapers, and other recyclable materials are used. Keyhole gardens are also known to have superior water retention properties, thus reducing the need for frequent watering.

Find the detailed steps for construction in the accompanying guide.

Pro Tip: After about a couple of months, the soil level in the keyhole garden might drop due to the decomposition of the bottom layers. Hence, make sure to throw in additional soil to the topmost layer when this happens.

13. Backyard Homestead Layout

Backyard Homestead Layout
Image: reading-everyday.com

A homestead, in layman’s language, can be referred to as a larger form of a typical vegetable garden, and one smaller than a food forest. It usually includes entities like fruit trees, perennial plants like berries, livestock, and much more.

However, the point of a homestead is to provide enough for the survival of the people living there. Therefore, building a homestead also counts as a survival gardening plan. The only difference is the scale of the involved projects.

The process of building a homestead is initiated with extensive and thoughtful planning. One needs to plan everything – from the basic layout to the accommodation of household utilities. Planning also includes deciding on the homestead activities, which usually are gardening, livestock farming, butchering, cheese making, woodworking, etc. 

Learn more about homestead buildings here.


Survival Gardening is indeed difficult. However, when the times are uncertain, many realize the importance of self-sufficiency. 

Survival gardening is not all about the generation of a fixed amount of calories from a piece of land. It is about sustainability and organicity as well.

A survivalist learns crucial gardening and life skills. On one hand, he learns how to maximize yield from a crop. On the other, he learns patience, humility, gratitude, and self-reliance.

Hence, being aware of such survival gardening layout possibilities is the key. We hope that through this article, you were able to find the perfect survival garden layout.

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