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Vegetable Garden Design: How To Design Vegetable Gardens

Vegetable Garden Design: How To Design Vegetable Gardens


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Outside of common belief, there are actually many ways to design a vegetable garden. With the proper design and maintenance, you no longer need to hide your vegetable garden away from view. In fact, a well-designed vegetable garden can be quite attractive as well as functional.

Tips to Help Design a Vegetable Garden

For people who have plenty of time and space, the traditional garden plot is acceptable. These garden designs can be created strictly with long rows or broken down into smaller ones. While traditional designs don’t always look like it, most can be a chore when it comes to the upkeep. To lessen some of the labor, however, mulch generously around crops as well as in between the rows to discourage weeds from eventually overtaking the garden.

Adding Paths

Are you limited on space or just looking for something a little less demanding? Designing a garden in smaller plots with paths woven in between allows for easier reach and maintenance. Paths offer you the benefit of maneuvering around all sides of the garden without the worry of packing down the soil. This layout also will make harvesting your vegetables easier and gives your garden additional interest by taking away the wild and unkempt appearance of the traditional plots of rows.

Designing For Crop Rotation

Design your garden each year so that crop rotation is implemented to prevent diseases from appearing throughout seasons. To accomplish crop rotation, avoid growing the same vegetable in the same location more than once every three years. To encourage ongoing succession within the garden, try to group crops with similar planting and harvest dates. For even more beauty and extended blooms, mix in flowers and herbs.

Making The Vegetable Garden Look Pretty

Fill in empty areas of flower borders or beds with vegetables. For example, cherry tomatoes and ornamental peppers work well with flowers. Flowers also encourage pollinating insects, which are beneficial to most vegetables and can be used as screens to surround the garden. Some crops can even be grown simply as ornamentals alongside your flowers. For instance, rhubarb has lovely cream-colored flower stalks that fit in nicely with many plants. Once asparagus crops have faded, their feathery foliage looks quite nice in a flower border.

Adding unique features into the vegetable garden layout plan also can add more interest. You might try incorporating a bench, garden globe, or various garden ornaments to serve as interesting focal points. Within my own garden, I transformed an old mailbox into a haven for birds. Use a trellis or even a ladder as support for vine-growing plants, beans, and tomatoes. Depending on your particular design, water features, such as fountains, can offer additional beauty as well.

Companion Planting in the Vegetable Garden

Another benefit to growing vegetables with flowers is companion planting. This type of planting is ideal for reducing pest and disease problems within the garden. Plants with strong odors, such as marigolds or garlic, help deter insects. A good example of companion planting might include placing petunias with beans to repel bean beetles or marigolds with tomatoes to help fend off snails.

Consider Raised Beds

Designing vegetable gardens for smaller landscapes can also include the use of raised beds or containers as well. Raised beds are similar in most aspects to the smaller plots with the exception of the raised beds being elevated from the ground. These beds are usually ideal for root crops because of the looser soil with which raised beds tend to hold. Raised beds can adapt to nearly any location or shape, and they allow for better drainage.

Using Containers for Vegetables

Containers can fit into nearly any type of landscape as well and offer the freedom of changing the positioning at any point. They can accommodate vegetables of a larger size with ease while taking up hardly any space at all. This type of gardening is a perfect way for would-be gardeners without any other means of gardening to still enjoy a bountiful harvest of freshly grown vegetables.


A great aspect of this garden planning resource is that it already has the spacing requirements for your crops. It offers an extensive list of flowers, vegetables and fruit, including bushes and trees. If you prefer a digital garden planning app, this one is great if you have the time to learn how to use it.


What are the pros and cons of growing a vegetable garden?

  1. The environment – By growing your own produce, produce does not need to be grown far away, shipped to your local market, and picked up by you. This lessens the energy required to get the food to you, and is therefore better for the environment.
  2. For your health – This advantage is twofold. Not only are the veggies that you grow better for you than processed foods you may buy at the supermarket, but the physical labor you are putting in while tending to the garden is exercise.
  3. Saving money – In the long run, if your garden is successful you can save money. Seeds are cheaper than a trip to the supermarket, and if you harvest the seeds from your crops, you can keep a self sufficient cycle going which will only save more money over time.
  4. Reduce waste – If you make a compost heap, you will not only be helping your garden flourish, but also reducing the waste that you are producing.
  1. Pests and wildlife – If you are not prepared for the onslaught of nature, it can take you by surprise. There are a plethora of insects and pests that are ready to make your garden their all-you-can-eat buffet. There are ways to get rid of such pests, but this can be quite frustrating for the unprepared gardener.
  2. Time investment – A vegetable garden is not a set-it and forget it project. You need to actively tend to your vegetables on a regular basis to make sure things are going smoothly. This upkeep can be quite the time investment. This effort may be off-putting to many.
  3. It is a skill – Gardening isn’t always simple, and it is a skill that will need to be honed. Like any skill requiring practice, you will make missteps along the way. These stumbling blocks can be frustrating. Also, some crops are significantly more troublesome than others, so you may need to gain basic knowledge and skills before tackling the more difficult crops.
  4. You can’t grow everything – Depending on your location and the space you have, you may be limited in the things you can grow. You should look into what grows best in your area and which tools are required. There are sure to be vegetables that are just not suited for your climate.
  5. Loss and inconsistency – You should never count your chickens before they hatch, just as you should never count your rhubarb before they ripen. Home gardening can be inconsistent, and it is almost inevitable that you will lose crops at some point in your gardening career. This can be frustrating, but always remember that the best laid plans may go awry.

There are a number of costs that may be associated with building your own vegetable garden. You can build any number of accessory or structure to help with your vegetable garden. If you choose to build raised garden beds or greenhouses, your costs may increase a great deal.

Without any additional features, a basic vegetable garden needs soil, fertilizer, and seeds.

If you do not have usable soil in your yard, you can find rich soil at around 40 lbs at garden stores for between $3 to $10. If you are unsure about your soil, you may want to get it tested. A soil test will run about $12.

Depending on your area, you may be able to find fertilizer easily. If you are close enough to a farm or someone who has more than they need you may be able to get fertilizer for free, or at minimum the cost to go pick it up yourself. If you are not fortunate enough to find fertilizer for free you may be looking at spending around $20 per truckload. (Source: Spark People)

It is also smart to start your own compost heap. With a bit of wire or fence, and a little of your time, you can reduce your garbage output and help your garden grow. This can supplement your need for manure.

As far as seeds are concerned, you can usually find a packet of seeds for only a few dollars. If you are able to harvest your seeds from the crops you grow to then replant, you can end up saving a great deal of money.

Here is a vegetable garden that uses a number of small raised garden beds to organize vegetables. Some vegetables need different care, so keeping them organized is always a good idea.

Here is a simple raised garden bed with an irrigation system in place. These kinds of accessories can be helpful with the labor involved in drawing vegetables, but can add to the cost of building your garden.

This carden consists of two square raised garden beds. These are great for yards with a bit of space. Source: Zillow Digs™

Here are some raised garden beds, with a rustic appeal and some irrigation systems. Raised garden beds are useful for keeping crops organized and can reduce bending over, which can make the work a bit easier.

Here is a lovely vegetable garden with a seat for resting after a long day tending to the crops. You can sit here and enjoy the fruits and vegetables of your labor.

Here is an elevated planter that is great for a small vegetable garden. If you have a number of small vegetable plants, and are growing for personal use, this is ideal, as it is mobile, simple and the height makes it easier to manage. Source: Zillow Digs™

Here is a nice vegetable garden with thin and manageable strips of planting area separated by wood chips. Wood chips make great footpaths between planting areas. They keep a rustic and national appeal to your garden.

Here is a pretty and well designed garden area. The white raised garden boxes match well with the rest of the yard’s design. A vegetable garden does not need to stand out from the rest of your yard. There are plenty of ways to make them blend with your designs.

This is an expansive vegetable garden, in a large yard. If you have the space, there is no need to get fancy with raised garden beds, greenhouses, or paths. If you can manage with a simple plot of dirt and the seeds, then that is all you really need for a successful and beneficial vegetable garden.

Here is a small plot off of the path that was converted into a fantastic small vegetable garden. There is no need to have a massive space to grow a few veggies. You can make do with even a small patch. With a bit of soil and proper planning it can be a stunning vegetable garden in no time.

This garden area is fenced in, and it even has its own little table and chairs. The seating and secluded nature of the area, this vegetable garden is transformed into a sanctuary for the lucky green thumb to escape to. Source: Zillow Digs™

Here is a single box with a variable mix of vegetables, organized by dividers. When you are growing vegetables for a small group, do may not need to have many plants to get the vegetables you need. One or two of each plant may be able to yield what you want.

This vegetable garden has raised garden beds at different levels. The multiple levels of this garden allows for a great deal of organization, as well as a fantastic visual appeal. Source: Zillow Digs™

Hanging planters from railings is a way to have a small personal garden in an urban area. In the picture above, there is a lovely small vegetable and flower garden hanging above the city. It is not impossible to grow your own produce, even if it seems like you have no space. There are always creative ways.

This vegetable garden is arranged into a number of long and rustic raised garden beds. By being longer and thinner, rather than wider, this garden bed allows access to more sides of the crops.

Here is a simple and clever solution for growing small vegetable plants. A hanging garden like this is perfect for those with less space in the yard for raised garden beds, and greenhouses. Source: Zillow Digs™

A greenhouse is a great tool in a vegetable garden if you have the room for one. These can extend your growing season, and keep your crops safe from pests and insects.


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