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Vegetable Garden Layout: 7 Best Design Secrets

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!

7 best vegetable garden layout ideas on soil, sun orientations, spacing, edible planting varieties, plans & design secrets to create productive & beautiful kitchen gardens.

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! For more, here are 52 Best landscaping ideas & designs for front & backyard garden, and our complete guide to vegetable gardening for beginners.

1. Start with sun and shade when creating vegetable garden layout and designs

* Some resources in article are affiliate links. Full disclosure here .

beautiful vegetable garden layout and designs in backyard


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 )

raised bed garden with vegetables and flowers


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.

raised bed vegetable garden on slope


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

well designed beds and paths in farmhouse 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.

diy garden path with mulch

Check out this detailed guide on easy 25 DIY garden paths with inexpensive materials.

raised bed garden plan for simple wood raised beds

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.

vegetable garden spacing chart

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.

square foot garden planning guide


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.

A set of beautiful and free printable planting calendar that you can customize
Free printable gardening calendar


4. Learn from beautiful kitchen garden designs

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.
beautiful edible garden designs


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.

raised bed garden with fence


This simple and attractive raised bed garden is by Homefront Farmers.

24 best DIY garden trellis ideas & designs: build easy cucumber trellis, bean teepee, beautiful vine pergola, plant screen, & vegetable garden structures!


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.

attractive Front yard vegetable garden layout and design


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.

companion planting with vegetables, herbs and flowers together


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 )

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