Divided Vegetable Garden With Nine Boxes
wooden vegetable garden boxes
(Image credit: HildaWeges)

Traditionally, vegetable gardens have taken the form of those all too familiar plots of rows found in large, open fields or nestled away in the backyard. While this vegetable garden layout design was once considered quite popular; times have changed. Large plots often require more attention, and some people don't have the option of growing vegetables in large plots anymore. Keep reading for a few vegetable garden layout ideas.

Better Vegetable Garden Layouts

Many of us actually require something taking up less space and less time and we are looking for the best way to layout a vegetable garden. There is an alternative to the big vegetable garden layouts, which can be just as effective with an additional bonus-- a layout designed for small areas. Small vegetable garden layouts, which fit the busy person's lifestyle as well as accommodate those who have limited room for a traditional garden, come in the form of small beds. These not only save on space but can be helpful to the plants themselves by allowing them to grow closer together, which essentially provides the soil with shade and results in more moisture for the crops and less weed growth for the gardener to deal with.

How to Layout a Vegetable Garden

For an optimal vegetable garden layout design, beds shouldn't be more than 3 or 4 feet (1 m.) in width since your main objective is easy maintenance. Smaller beds allow you to maneuver around the area while watering, weeding, or harvesting. Use paths with your vegetable garden layout design. Dividing beds with pathways will lessen the chances of harming crops by trampling the plants and surrounding soil. Placing plastic or some type of garden sheeting over the paths will also keep weeds out and adding some type of mulching material or gravel will improve the appearance. You should mulch around crops as well to help them retain moisture.

Vegetable Garden Layout Ideas for Planting

When arranging the garden bed, plant the early crops in such a way that allows other crops to follow once these varieties have faded out. For instance, rather than wait for these earlier crops to die out completely, go ahead and plant the later crops in between beforehand. This technique will help keep the garden alive with continual growth while adding to its appearance. Keep the taller plants, such as corn, towards the back of your beds, or consider placing them in the center with other crops working downward in size. Instead of flat beds, you might consider raised ones that are edged with wood or stone.

Alternative Vegetable Garden Layout Ideas

You don't necessarily have to limit yourself to beds for a unique vegetable garden layout design. Browse through books, catalogs, or public gardens for new and interesting vegetable garden layouts. Family, friends, and neighbors are also a great source of vegetable garden layout ideas, and many of them are more than willing to share their success secrets with others. There is also the option of growing your vegetable garden strictly in containers. These can be arranged in a number of ways including hanging plants from baskets on your porch. Containers can also be moved around with others added as needed. In fact, you could incorporate some containers into your beds for additional interest.

Nikki Tilley
Senior Editor

Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.