7 best vegetable garden layout ideas on soil, sun orientations, spacing, varieties, plans & design secrets to create productive & beautiful kitchen gardens.
Before this blog took over, I worked as a garden designer for over 10 years. My favorite gardens always had an edible garden in them!
I found that the best vegetable garden layout & designs invariably have a lot of things in common. They are all well planned, easily accessible, very productive, inviting, and beautiful .
Today I am super excited to share with you 7 secrets to create great vegetable garden layout & designs and practical tips you can implement in your own garden right away!
* Some resources in article are affiliate links. Full disclosure here .
1. Start with sun and shade when creating vegetable garden layout and designs
Most vegetables grow best in full sun. Not all open areas in a garden will be sunny. A tall tree or building can cast several hundred feet of shade when the sun is lower in the year from late fall through early spring. ( Via Pine House Gardens )
Always choose the most sunny location you can for a kitchen garden, where plants can get at least 5-6 hours of direct sun per day, especially between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Usually the south, south west, or south east side of a house is great for a veggie garden on northern hemisphere. ( Via NW Bloom )
What direction should vegetable garden rows run? Typically the garden gets more sun exposure when rows are running north south direction.
Sometimes we can not do so, such as in this sloped garden. A good alternative is to plant shorter plants such as cabbage, onion, or zucchini on the south side of a garden bed, and taller plants such as pole bean, fava bean, tomato etc on the north side so the taller plants won’t shade the shorter plants.
2. Well designed beds and paths in vegetable garden layout
A well designed vegetable garden layout needs to have good circulation paths. A main path should be at least 30 inch wide for ease of circulation. You can have narrower paths or stepping stones through garden bed as well. ( Via Magnolia )
Garden beds should be less than 4′ wide to easily reach any plants in the center without stepping onto the soil.
If you want more edible garden beds ideas, check out this reader favorite article on how to build 28 easy and productive raised beds!
3. How to space vegetables in a garden
When you are designing what to plant in your vegetable garden, it’s important to know how far to space vegetables in a garden bed.
You can find the spacing requirements of different plants on a seed packet, or use this spacing chart above. This is for intensive plantings with good soil in small space or raised beds. Increase the spacing by x1.5 or x2 if you have a bigger garden area.
Another popular edible garden design is the square foot garden. Square foot gardening system is the practice of dividing the growing area into 1 foot square sections for better planning of an intensive vegetable garden. ( Via Almanac )
We also have a free printable gardening calendar you can download here, which will help you plan which vegetables to plant each month in your climate zone.
4. Learn from beautiful kitchen garden designs
There are so many beautifully designed kitchen gardens and potagers throughout history to draw inspirations from. The majestic vegetable garden above was designed by George Washington at Mt Vernon.
We can use these timeless garden layout designs in our own gardens. Keep in mind that garden beds do not have to be rectangles and squares. You can use curved shapes in your garden designs like in this garden above.
5. Use trellis & structures in a vegetable garden layout
Another garden structure to consider is garden fencing, which can keep out deer and rabbits, and act as a trellis for climbing plants like beans and cucumbers.
This simple and attractive raised bed garden is by Homefront Farmers.
Trellises are functional garden structures that make a garden more productive. They can also be really beautiful in an edible garden. Check out these 24 best DIY garden trellis ideas and tutorials here!
6. Front yard vegetable garden layout and design
Once upon a time, the idea of a front yard vegetable garden seemed ridiculous. Now as urban farms and beautiful edible gardens are popping up everywhere, we are no longer limited to only the backyard for vegetable gardening.
This front yard vegetable garden is so beautifully designed and absolutely inspiring!
7. Biodiversity and companion planting
When planning your garden, it’s a good idea to incorporate companion planting. It is a system of which plants go together and how to create more beneficial relationships among plants to increase productivity and to repel pests naturally.
By planting certain vegetables, herbs and flowers together, you can allow them to help one another to grow a healthier and more beautiful and abundant garden. ( Via Helen Philips )
Stay tuned for more in our vegetable gardening series!
Happy gardening friends! See you soon! 🙂