Chaos Gardening Is the Carefree Approach to Gardening Anyone Can Try

What is chaos gardening?

Chaos gardening is exactly what it sounds like—a haphazard and laid-back approach to gardening in which rules and meticulous garden planning are thrown out the window. Simply gather up any leftover seed packets you have (or buy some new ones), and throw the seeds around in the garden to see what takes. The result is a natural-looking garden that teems with life and plenty of variety. Plus, if you find the process of planning a garden and sowing seeds stressful, chaos gardening saves you lots of time and effort.

This laissez-faire approach to seeding a garden can be used with any type of plant, including flowers, fruits, vegetables, and grasses, which sets it apart from similar trends such as meadowscaping. You can turn your entire yard into a wild and wonderful chaos garden or keep the chaos contained to a few beds. The trick is to let go of expectations and allow mother nature to do its thing. Inevitably, certain plants will thrive while others may not grow as well.

TikTok user Meg Grows Plants (@meggrowsplants) uses chaos gardening to grow carrots in her gardens every year, which she says results in a far more bountiful harvest than when she used to spend time carefully sowing them. “Chaos gardening, I also call it intuitive gardening or instinctive gardening, is just taking the stress out of gardening and putting the fun back in there, which is how gardening is supposed to be in my opinion,” she says.

Considerations for Chaos Gardening

While chaos gardening is all about letting go of the rules, a few things are still good to keep in mind.


Like most gardens, the best spot for a chaos garden is a spot that gets plenty of sunlight. That’s not to say you can’t make it work in a shady location, but you have to choose plants that survive in the shade. Since most vegetables and wildflowers require several hours of direct sunlight, a sunny spot is a great place to start. Decide how big you want your garden, whether you will keep it confined to beds or let it spread wild, and whether you will start it in the back yard or the front.

Soil Quality

The soil quality is also important to keep in mind since most seedlings need rich, well-draining soil to sprout and survive. If the soil in your yard is overly rocky or has a lot of clay, mix in some fresh garden soil before you begin seeding your chaos garden.

Plant Selection

The types of plants you choose for your chaos garden play a role in its longevity and the amount of maintenance it needs. Choosing native plants, for example, results in a long-lasting garden that is not only low-maintenance but also eco-friendly. If you opt for fruits and vegetables, you must reseed the garden and maintain the plants more frequently.


As you might expect, maintenance is minimal in chaos gardening. However, a small amount of maintenance is necessary to help your garden thrive, particularly if it's your first year. For example, the seeds need to be watered regularly after they are sown to help them sprout. After the seedlings begin growing, you may need to thin them slightly to prevent overcrowding, particularly since you never know exactly how many seeds will take at one time. After the garden is established and the plants begin naturally reseeding, you may find yourself doing less and less work as the years go on.

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