Vegetable Garden Layout
Vegetable garden layout ideas
In this vegetable garden layout guide you'll find quite a few different ideas for getting creative in your yard and planning a garden to suit your own personal style. Although the traditional way is for the vegetables to be set out in long rows, your garden need not follow these traditions. I have chosen, like many other home gardeners, to use raised vegetable garden beds where the vegetables can be planted in blocks rather than rows. But you don't even need to be limited to these two options. There are many more creative layouts, as the vegetable garden layout plans featured on this page will show.
Don't feel as though you have to have a dedicated vegetable garden either. If your yard is small (or even if it isn't), you could plant vegetables in your flower bed or flowers in your vegetable bed. Alternatively you may chooses to grow your vegetables in pots.
One way to layout your kitchen garden is a potager garden, which is a beautiful ornamental vegetable garden where vegetables, herbs and flowers are chosen according to their aesthetic value as well as their edible value and are mixed together in one or more vegetable garden beds.
Take a look at these vegetable garden layout examples and see if you get any ideas for your own vegetable garden plans this Spring.
The vegetable garden layout diagrams pictured below were all produced using this online vegetable garden layout tool.
Planting in rows
The traditional way is to plant the vegetables in rows, each row growing a different type of vegetable. Each row usually runs from north to south to take full advantage of the morning and afternoon sun. The seeds are sown in single rows using string and stakes to keep the rows straight. Enough space needs to be left between the rows to allow room to walk and to comfortably gather your produce. If your ground is not level, and you want to plant in rows, the rows should run across the slope rather than up and down, to prevent the soil from being washed away when the garden is watered.
Planting your vegetables in rows makes it easier to distinguish between vegetable and weed seedlings. Watering is also made easier since a soaker hose or a trench of water can be run alongside each row, allowing the water to easily reach the base of each plant. Because a row garden is reasonably open, there is good circulation of air thus restricting fungus and mildew which could grow after rainfall or a dewy night in a more closely planted garden. Because of the layout of this style of garden, a lot of space is taken up with the paths between rows which means there is less space for planting your vegetables. So this layout would not be the first choice for the smaller yard. Also constantly walking on these paths will compact the soil there, making it more difficult to rearrange your vegetable beds at a later date. In this traditional row layout, there may possibly be more pest attacks because vegetables of the same variety are planted in a row, allowing the pest to move easily from one plant to the next.
Vegetable Garden Layout Raised Beds
Although it is not strictly a particular layout, the raised garden bed (an example of which is square foot gardening) is included here because it is often planted in blocks rather than rows. Vegetables are normally planted closer together than in the row vegetable garden layout making this is an ideal choice if you only have space for a small vegetable garden. These beds need to be narrow enough so that you do not need to tread on your beds to plant, weed, water or harvest your veggies. A good width would be 3 to 4 feet, (.9 - 1.2 metres) if you can get at the bed from both sides. You can build raised beds out of recycled wood, bricks, concrete blocks, stones, an old bathtub, or just pile up the soil on top of the ground. A good depth would be about 8-12 inches (20-30 cm).
A raised bed will enable the soil to warm quicker so you can plant earlier in the season. It will also improve drainage. Even if you have very poor soil or even a concrete slab (make sure you have a soil depth of 12 inches or 30cm for this situation), a raised bed will allow you transform a barren patch into a bountiful harvest. A raised bed also alleviates the problem of tree roots competing with your veggies for nutrients and water but make sure that any tree will not cast too much shade on the garden beds.
The French kitchen garden
A vegetable garden need not be hidden away out of sight. Another type of vegetable garden is the potager style, a beautiful French kitchen garden, where flowers are mixed in among your herbs, fruit trees and vegetables The potager garden is traditionally made up of a symmetrical or repeating pattern of small rectangular, square or triangular plots separated by brick or stone paths (though of course, in your own garden, you could choose to use hexagons with gravel paths or even irregular blob-shaped plots with mulched paths.) The whole garden is usually bordered by a clipped hedge. You could use something useful, such as a hedge of rosemary plants. Planting in the beds tends to be in groups or patterns.
These plantings can be delightful to behold as many ornamental vegetables are colourful and attractive, from the frilly red or green leaves of lettuces to the brilliantly coloured stems of the rainbow swiss chard to the blue-green leaves of kale. This style of garden lends itself to companion planting which can help to repel pests naturally. For example, planting French marigolds next to tomatoes can reduce the number of nematodes in the soil which can stunt the tomato's growth, and the scent of the marigold could deter whitefly. You will need to research companion planting since some combinations will actually be detrimental (e.g. don't plant peas next to onions or garlic).
Sample potager layouts - click on the small pictures to see a larger versionClick thumbnail to view full-size
Four Square Garden Layout
The four square garden is based on a very simple layout. The garden is usually divided into four square or rectangular garden beds with two perpendicular paths (like a plus sign +) running between them. These paths could be composed of paving stones, packed earth, gravel, wood shavings or even lawn. At the intersection of the two paths, there could be a focal point such as a statue or a pond. In 12th century England, this garden was generally in the front yard, with the entrance to the garden being a white picket gate, although it could be an arbor or trellis covered with a flowering vine. Typically the garden was surrounded by a protective enclosure such as a rock wall, fence or hedge. Of course, you must be careful to avoid shading your vegetables growing inside though!
Formal Asymmetrical Garden Layout
A formal assymetrical garden layout is ideal if you don't want to be too rigid but you do prefer a sense of order. You can do this by experimenting with different geometric shapes (for the paths or the garden beds) next to each other or overlapping, strong lines or repetition of elements to get the desired effect. Using curving lines, modern materails or casual furniture will make this style seem less rigid.
Adding a formal clipped hedge as the border of the garden, pond, or individual beds will add to the structured feel of the garden. Or you could grow your own topiary using a potted boxwood or bay tree and trimming it to fit a frame.
Cottage Vegetable Garden - An informal vegetable garden layout
A cottage garden is an informal, sprawling garden containing a mixture of flowers, vegetables, herbs and maybe a fruit tree or two. In the garden layout shown here, there is a heavier emphasis on the vegetables. I have grouped the plants together to give them more visual impact than scattering them individually throughout the garden. I have included meandering paths, a sundial, two dwarf apple trees, a few fruit bushes, a picket fence - you can only see the gate ;-) and a seat situated to enjoy a view of the garden pond.
Kids' Vegetable Garden Layout
Educational and fun!
A child's garden is very educational and a great incentive to get your children helping in the garden and also to eat vegetables which they have grown themselves. If your children are old enough, get them involved in choosing which vegetables to grow and in creating their own vegetable garden plans.
The plan shown on the right consists of a tepee made from 5 long sticks, fastened together at the top. Sugar snap peas, which are fun to pick and eat right there, are then planted around the base and allowed to climb up the tepee on strings which have been strung between the sticks (leaving one section free for the doorway so the child can crawl inside). Mulch inside the tepee.
See some vegetable garden layout plans and ideas for children.
More Ideas and Information for Kids' Vegetable Gardens
Kids' Vegetable GardensFind out about planning, planting, and maintaining a child's vegetable garden even if you don't have a lot of room. Get more ideas of fun elements to include in the garden and which plants to grow.
Pizza garden layout - A novelty vegetable garden plan
Are you a gardener who loves cooking? What about pizzas? Do you love pasta sauces? For the freshest, best tasting Italian tomato sauces you could grow your own ingredients. And if you want something a little special, you could always try this novelty vegetable garden plan.
Shaped like a pizza, this vegetable garden includes basil, oregano, garlic, marjoram, onions and tomatoes (for the sauce) and peppers (for the pizza topping). Or simply blend all these ingredients together and add Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper for a yummy pasta sauce. And all from your own pizza garden. :-)
Winter vegetable garden layout
In this winter vegetable garden, I have chosen the following vegetables:
- cabbage (an early and late variety)
- corn salad (or lamb's lettuce)
- perpetual spinach
- swiss chard
In the garden planning software I used here, I was able to enter my frost dates and the program showed me the planting and harvesting times for my selected vegetables.
If you live in the northern hemisphere, position your winter vegetable garden on the south side of a wall if possible. In the southern hemisphere place the garden on the north side of the wall. This will enable the garden to still receive the winter sun, while protecting it from the colder winds. A brick, concrete or stone wall is also a thermal mass which will store the sun's heat during the day and radiate it at night, keeping the area close to the wall warmer.
Choose your vegetable garden layout
Don't feel as though you need to stay strictly in the guidelines for each layout. Be creative. Find your own style. Choose what suits your situation the best. Be prepared to use different shapes like the circular garden on the right. Take a little time to decide which vegetables to grow. Be prepared to add herbs and flowers to your vegetable garden or herbs and vegetables to your flower garden! And don't be afraid to try a mixture of vegetable garden layouts - for example a potager style garden in raised beds.
One of the easiest ways to design your vegetable garden layout is by using software on the computer to just drag and drop the veggies like I did for all of the above vegetable garden plans. In the same piece of software, you also get access to a planting list of all the vegetables you have placed in your vegetable garden plan showing sowing and harvesting dates. This works for both the northern and southern hemispheres.
Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager Handbook
Read how to adapt the French potager kitchen garden design to American needs and conditions today.
Vegetable Garden Pictures
Traditional Vegetable Garden Pictures - Click on the vegetable garden photos for a larger view
Potager Vegetable Garden Pictures - Click on the vegetable garden pictures for a larger view
Cottage Vegetable Gardens
Pizza Garden Pictures - Click on the vegetable garden pictures for a larger view
Children's Vegetable Garden Photos
Favorite Vegetable Garden Layout Designs
What is your favorite vegetable garden layout?
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