What is a Keyhole Garden?

A keyhole garden is a unique and innovative gardening technique that originated in Africa. It is a circular raised bed garden with a composting basket located at its center. The garden is designed in the shape of a keyhole, hence the name. This type of garden is gaining popularity worldwide due to its numerous benefits and sustainable features.

How does a Keyhole Garden work?

A keyhole garden works by utilizing a combination of organic waste, kitchen scraps, and greywater to create a self-sustaining ecosystem. The composting basket at the center of the garden acts as a composting system, breaking down the organic matter and providing nutrients to the surrounding plants. The circular shape of the garden allows for easy access to all areas, eliminating the need for excessive bending or reaching.

Benefits of a Keyhole Garden

There are several benefits to implementing a keyhole garden in your backyard or community. Firstly, keyhole gardens require minimal water compared to traditional gardens. The composting system in the center retains moisture and provides a constant source of nutrients, reducing the need for frequent watering. Additionally, the raised bed design of the garden helps to prevent soil erosion and allows for better drainage.

Another benefit of keyhole gardens is their ability to maximize space. The circular shape of the garden allows for efficient use of land, making it ideal for small yards or urban environments. Keyhole gardens can also be easily customized to fit individual needs and preferences, allowing for a diverse range of plants to be grown in a compact space.

How to Build a Keyhole Garden

Building a keyhole garden is a relatively simple process that can be done using readily available materials. The first step is to mark out the desired location for the garden and clear away any debris or vegetation. Next, a circular raised bed is constructed using bricks, stones, or other suitable materials. The diameter of the bed can vary depending on available space and personal preference.

Once the raised bed is in place, a composting basket is built at the center. This can be done using wire mesh or chicken wire, creating a cylindrical structure that will hold the composting materials. The basket should be tall enough to reach the top of the raised bed, allowing for easy access and maintenance.

What to Plant in a Keyhole Garden

A keyhole garden offers a versatile growing space that can accommodate a wide variety of plants. It is important to consider the specific needs and requirements of each plant when planning the garden. Some popular options for keyhole gardens include vegetables, herbs, flowers, and even small fruit trees.

When selecting plants, it is beneficial to choose those that have similar water and sunlight requirements. This will help to ensure that all plants in the garden thrive and receive the necessary resources. Additionally, companion planting techniques can be used to maximize space and promote natural pest control.

Maintenance and Care

Maintaining a keyhole garden is relatively low-maintenance compared to traditional gardens. The composting basket at the center of the garden should be regularly replenished with organic waste and kitchen scraps. This will ensure a constant supply of nutrients for the surrounding plants.

Watering requirements will vary depending on the specific plants in the garden and the climate. It is important to monitor soil moisture levels and adjust watering accordingly. Mulching can also be used to help retain moisture and suppress weed growth.


In conclusion, a keyhole garden is a sustainable and efficient gardening technique that offers numerous benefits. From its water-saving capabilities to its space-maximizing design, a keyhole garden is a great option for both experienced gardeners and beginners. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create your own keyhole garden and enjoy the rewards of fresh, homegrown produce.