23 Creative Ways to Design Your Vegetable Garden (2024)



Make Your Vegetable Garden Stand Out Beautifully


Marie Iannotti

23 Creative Ways to Design Your Vegetable Garden (1)

Marie Iannotti

Marie Iannotti is a life-long gardener and a veteran Master Gardener with nearly three decades of experience. She's also an author of three gardening books, a plant photographer, public speaker, and a former Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator. Marie's garden writing has been featured in newspapers and magazines nationwide and she has been interviewed for Martha Stewart Radio, National Public Radio, and numerous articles.

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Updated on 08/02/23

Reviewed by

Kathleen Miller

23 Creative Ways to Design Your Vegetable Garden (2)

Reviewed byKathleen Miller

Kathleen Miller is a highly-regarded Master Gardener and horticulturist with over 30 years of experience in organic gardening, farming, and landscape design. She founded Gaia's Farm and Gardens,aworking sustainable permaculture farm, and writes for Gaia Grows, a local newspaper column.

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23 Creative Ways to Design Your Vegetable Garden (3)

When you want both form and function, there are incredible vegetable garden ideas that are just as stunning as ornamental flower gardens. You'll get all the benefits of harvesting your own fresh food at home, picking your own herbs, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, carrots, lettuce, and cucumbers, while also enjoy the satisfaction of looking out on a gorgeous garden layout you've planted yourself.

While we often think of raised bed vegetable gardens, there are many ways to design and lay out a vegetable garden, including container gardens, hanging vegetable gardens, greenhouses, and more. Ideally, these aesthetically pleasing gardens are built in a place with full sun and easy access to a water source, but you can choose vegetables that will adapt to the sun exposure in your yard, as well as the type of garden you decide to plant.

Whether you have a small apartment vegetable garden on a patio or a sprawling yard and acres to maintain your garden, here are 23 vegetable garden ideas to get you inspired.

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    Plant Attractive Varieties

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    Some vegetables, like rainbow Swiss chard, are too beautiful to be confined to the vegetable garden. Show them off by making them focal points in your garden.

    This rainbow Swiss chard was recently planted in these strawberry pots, where they will fill out the space. New leaves will fill in where old leaves are harvested, keeping the plants fresh looking and lush.

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    Use Hanging Planters

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    There is no gardening rule that says hanging baskets have to be flowers. Most vegetables will work in hanging planters, too. You may even get a better yield, due in part to the heat that is being reflected back off the wall.

    You can use any type of container you like, from old buckets to recycled soda bottles, and even expensive ceramic bowls. Just remember that the containers will get heavy when they are full of wet soil and fruiting plants. This gardener has hung baskets attached to strong horizontal boards along a wall.

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    Interplant With Flowers

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    Many vegetables make attractive bedding plants alongside flowers, especially if they are quick growers and frequently harvested, like lettuce and other salad greens.A shady spot under a tree is the perfect spot to interplant with flowers. Or you could try a row of carrots on the edge around a sunny border.

    Rabbits and other wildlife may find your vegetable bed tempting, but if you interplant with companion flowers that have a strong scent or toss in a few onion plants, these will act as a deterrent.

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  • 04 of 23

    Try Vertical Gardening

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    Many gardeners know that old, discarded pallets make great compost bins. They also make great vertical gardens. Staple some landscape fabric to the inside of the front of your pallet and the outside of the rear. Fill the whole thing with good potting soil. Then turn the pallet on its side and make slits where you want to insert your plants. If you are going to hang your pallet garden, make sure you have sturdy hooks, because all that soil and wood will make it heavy.

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  • 05 of 23

    Build Portable Raised Beds

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    Asimple crate is all you need to plant a salad garden that will feed you for weeks.This is a variation on a raised bed garden, but since it's self-contained, it's portable. It may be too heavy to lift when full, but if you put wheels on it, you could move it to wherever the sun decides to shine.

    You can squeeze a lot into one small garden. Vegetables that are harvested frequently, such as lettuce, carrots, and onions, will be thinned out as you harvest them, so there will not be overcrowding.

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  • 06 of 23

    Plant a Garden on Shelves

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    If you have shelves, you can have a garden. You do not need to buy special hangers or spend the weekend digging out a spot in the yard—all you need is a set of shelves and some containers.

    Place your collection on your deck or patiojust outside your kitchen, and you will find yourself harvesting far more often than if you had to walk out to the garden. You can even bring some of the containers indoors when the weather turns cold. Do notforget to include some herbs, too.

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    Plant in Raised Garden Beds

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    A lot of times raised beds are only a few inches off the ground. While that does provide benefits to the plants, like improved drainage and warming the soil earlier in spring, you can give the gardener another benefit if you raise the bed even higher: less bending.

    Lifting the planting beds to waist height, like the three weathered troughs running through this colorful garden, means very little bending and far fewer wildlife problems that would otherwise need additional fencing.

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  • 08 of 23

    Grow in Greenhouses

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    Gardening in agreenhouse will not only provide fresh vegetables year-round, but you can also pull up a chair and literally watch the plants grow.

    This greenhouse provides a view of the garden outside as well as the sheltered vegetables and flowers growing undercover. It is a great place to set up an office while you keep tabs on how everything is growing.

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  • 09 of 23

    Plant a Permaculture Garden

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    If you are drawn toward sustainability, look into creating a permaculture garden. This type of garden tries to duplicate the layering found in natural systems and forests. There are upper story trees, climbers, perennial vegetables, root crops,and self-sowers that intermingle, creating your own personal foraging garden.

    It takes some effort to create a working permaculture garden, but it will require much less maintenance than traditional vegetable gardens once it gets going.

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  • 10 of 23

    Design a Container Garden

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    You can grow just about any vegetable in containers. This can be a very creative and ornamental way to design a vegetable garden. Virtually any container will do, as long as it has good drainage.

    Containers can be moved aboutto take full advantage of the sun. You can plant one type of vegetable per container or mix things up. A downside is that the soil in containers tends to dry out quickly and you may need to water it every day.

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  • Companion Plant Different Varieties

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    When you're growing multiple vegetables within a garden, you'll want to keep in mind companion plants, meaning planting vegetables that grow well together. Companion planting involves growing plants that will have the same light and water requirements, and they'll mutually benefit each other as they grow.

    Examples include asparagus and petunias, eggplant and marigold, or winter squash and nasturtium.

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  • 12 of 23

    Grow On Your Fence

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    If you have a fence, then you have the perfect spot to plant vegetables or herbs without taking up ground space. Build a planter on your fence or hang boxes from your fence. This keeps plants out of the reach of rabbits and gives them more undisturbed access to sunlight.

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  • 13 of 23

    Try Small Backyard Solutions

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    A small backyard shouldn't prevent you from having a garden full of delicious vegetables to harvest. Try succession planting, where you plant vegetables strategically so that there is continuously something new ready to be harvested.

    Or try planting smaller, more compact varieties of vegetables to make the most of your small space.

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  • 14 of 23

    Install Window Boxes

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    When you need to utilize every square inch in a small space or if you want to add some greenery and color to you home, look to window boxes. These classic gardening vessels aren't just for flowers. You can use them on the bright side of your home for sun-loving veggies or plant herbs that you want easy access to right outside your kitchen window.

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  • 15 of 23

    Use Vegetables as Landscaping

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    Rather than interplanting ornamental flowers and vegetables, try planting all vegetables and other edible plants to maximize functional garden space. In this garden, lettuce serves as both the height and edging in the landscaping design. Marigolds are used to add color, but they're also one of the most popular edible flowers.

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  • 16 of 23

    Make a Balcony Garden

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    If you have a balcony, then you have room to design a vegetable garden. Combine a container garden with shade tolerant vegetables and you'll find that you can have a delicious array of veggies, even with your small space.

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    Build a Ladder Garden

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    Using a ladder to build a vertical garden helps make the most of your space. Grab an old ladder, a few pots, and plant a container garden that is as functional and space efficient as it is charming.

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    Plant a Traditional Garden

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    Planting vegetables in rows, sectioned off based on the type of plant, is the traditional way to grow a vegetable garden, and it's still a favorite of gardeners. It makes for a classic look, like something straight out of a cottage garden, and it's one of the most efficient ways to grow and harvest plants.

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    Trellis Your Plants

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    Growing vegetables on a trellis gives you more room to let vines and climbing plants spread. It also adds a timeless, charming look to your garden that is as pretty as it is practical. This is a particularly good idea in gardens where you're trying to save space and maximize vertical growing techniques.

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    Style a Plant Wall

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    A plant wall is stylish and functional way to grow a vegetable garden. From letting them climb along the wall to mounting small containers all over a sunny surface, planting a wall of vegetables lets you make the most of a petite patio or small backyard.

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    Use Unconventional Containers

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    You don't need to go out and buy all new terracotta pots or invest in raised bed planters just to have a vegetable garden. You can think outside the box with the planters that you use, including stainless steel tubs, burlap planting bags, stock tanks, and large tupperware containers.

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  • 22 of 23

    Try Patio Raised Beds

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    Even if you don't have a large yard with a dedicated garden space, you can still use raised beds to make gardening physically easier and keep your plants away from hungry rabbits and other small animals. Try raised beds both as decor and functional gardening vessels on a patio or porch.

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    Add Garden Borders and Paths

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    The round shape and vibrant colors of various lettuces and other leafy greens make them a wonderful option to use as practical garden borders and paths. Use them as edging around a garden bed.


  • What veggies grow well together?

    Try planting carrots with celery, cucumbers, onions, and peppers, or plant potatoes with beans, corn, and peas. Lettuce will grow well with chives, onions, and oregano, while carrots love leeks, onions, peas, and radishes.

  • What month should you start a vegetable garden?

    While there are vegetables that grow throughout the year, it's best to start a vegetable garden in March or April when the soil starts to warm up.

  • What is the best layout for a vegetable garden?

    To maximize your garden's growth, plant vegetables in rows, with the shortest plants facing the south end of the garden, where they'll receive the most light. Taller plants can go in the back, towards the north.

23 Creative Ways to Design Your Vegetable Garden (2024)


23 Creative Ways to Design Your Vegetable Garden? ›

As a general rule, put tall veggies toward the back of the bed, mid-sized ones in the middle, and smaller plants in the front or as a border. Consider adding pollinator plants to attract beneficial insects that can not only help you get a better harvest, but will also prey on garden pests.

What is the best layout for a vegetable garden? ›

As a general rule, put tall veggies toward the back of the bed, mid-sized ones in the middle, and smaller plants in the front or as a border. Consider adding pollinator plants to attract beneficial insects that can not only help you get a better harvest, but will also prey on garden pests.

How do I make a garden layout plan? ›

How to design a garden
  1. Think about what you want. ...
  2. Choose a location for your garden. ...
  3. Determine the size and shape of your border. ...
  4. Mark and measure the garden. ...
  5. Look for plants adapted to your growing conditions. ...
  6. From the list of suitable plants, make selections according to the basic principles of flower garden design.

What veggies to plant next to each other? ›

Which Vegetables Grow Well Together?
VegetableCompanion PlantDon't Plant Together
OnionsBeets, carrots, Swiss chard, lettuce, peppersAll beans and peas
PeasBeans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, radish, turnipGarlic, onions
PotatoesBeans, corn, peasTomatoes
SquashCorn, melons, pumpkinsNone
11 more rows
Jun 26, 2021

What should you not plant next to tomatoes? ›

Companion Plants To Avoid Growing Near Tomatoes
  • Brassicas. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi can stunt the growth of your tomato plant because they out-compete them for the same nutrients. ...
  • Corn. ...
  • Fennel. ...
  • Dill. ...
  • Potatoes. ...
  • Eggplant. ...
  • Walnuts.
Feb 1, 2022

What is the prettiest vegetable? ›

But one piece of produce steals the show every single fall without ever breaking a sweat: Romanesco – the most beautiful vegetable in the world. Even if the name Romanesco doesn't ring any bells for you, you've likely noticed the striking vegetable before. It's pretty hard to miss, actually.

What should a vegetable garden look like? ›

Typically, you'll start with a four-by-four-foot raised garden bed that's subdivided into one-foot squares using a lattice. You'll then plant an appropriate number of vegetables in each square.

What is the most basic garden layout? ›

The traditional basic vegetable garden design has been straight and long rows running from north to south. Usually anything growing tall, like corn, beans or peas are planted on the north side of the vegetable garden to keep them from casting shade on the shorter crops.

What is the most common garden layout? ›

The most basic garden plan consists of a design with straight, long rows running north to south orientation. A north to south direction will ensure that the garden gets the best sun exposure and air circulation. A garden that runs east to west tends to get too shaded from the crops growing in the preceding row.

How do I add a structure to my garden? ›

Planting a beautiful specimen tree in a prominent spot is the first step to giving your garden backbone. Planting small trees in groups to form a corpse is another way to create a strong element. Identifying an existing tree in your garden and creating a planting design around its base will focus attention.

What 3 vegetables grow well together? ›

Companion Planting Chart
Type of VegetableFriends
CabbageBeets, celery, chard, lettuce, spinach, onions
CarrotsBeans, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers, tomatoes
CornClimbing beans, cucumber, marjoram, peas, pumpkins, squash, sunflowers, zucchini
OnionsCabbage, carrots, chard, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes
12 more rows

What not to plant together in a veggie garden? ›

Asparagus and onions: Onions can inhibit the growth of asparagus. Beans and onions: Onions can inhibit the growth of beans. Brassicas and nightshades: Brassicas, such as broccoli and cabbage, can stunt the growth of nightshades, such as tomatoes and peppers.

What grows well with tomatoes and peppers? ›

18 Tomato Companion Plants
  • Alyssum. This plant will be covered with white flowers that will provide a food source for parasitic wasps. ...
  • Marigolds. These flowers have been grown with tomatoes for years as gardeners believed that the marigolds deterred harmful insects. ...
  • Sunflowers. ...
  • Zinnias. ...
  • Basil. ...
  • Oregano. ...
  • Nasturtiums. ...
  • Calendula.

Should vegetable gardens be east or west facing? ›

Beware that west facing gardens often get the brunt of intense afternoon sun which can be deadly for certain plants. North and East facing gardens, as well as gardens that have structures that inhibit direct sunlight, tend to be more shady.

What is the best orientation for a garden? ›

What's the best direction for a garden to face? Most people are aware of the 'South facing' garden and how this is the holy grail for horticulturists. This is because south-facing gardens usually get full sun all day long. A south-facing garden gives you the widest possibility for both design and planting.

What direction is best for vegetable rows? ›

Many gardeners prefer to plant their rows in a north to south direction. This planting orientation maximizes the light reaching all the plants in the garden by minimizing shade cast by one row of plants onto the next.

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