Compared to the beauty of flower gardens, vegetable gardens get a bad rep. Vegetable gardens provide so many benefits, from the delicious veggies they produce that will cut your grocery costs, to the control you have in selecting seeds, and even the health benefits of reducing stress and providing fresh air. The problem is, traditional veggie gardens are not aesthetically pleasing, but you can have the best of both worlds. Here are 4 steps to a functional and aesthetically pleasing veggie garden:
- Garden Structure and Layout
- Plant Selection: Think Color and Growing Season
- The Fun Part: Plant Layout
- Aesthetic Bonus Points
Structure and Layout Planning for Creating your Aesthetically Pleasing and Functional Vegetable Garden
- The first and most important part of starting your vegetable garden is determining where it will be, the dimensions, and entrance points. Consider vertical gardening when space is limited. How will you define the border of your veggie garden? Shrubs and fences are both aesthetically pleasing options that can serve as wind barriers and deterrents for large pests such as deer and rabbits.
- Within your outer garden boundary, define the plant bed borders. Four feet is about as wide as these plant beds should be in order to reach all plants for care and harvesting. Plant borders can be wood, rock, and even individual planters. Tip: Make sure planters are large enough and deep enough for the size of your mature plants to save yourself from having to re-pot midseason. Defined borders for your veggie garden will not only keep it looking well-kept and clean but also prevents soil washout and protects the plants’ roots.
- Consider paths that provide easy access to all plants. Harvesting vegetables shouldn’t require you to step over and disrupt the surrounding plants. Aesthetic bonus points for laying rock or mulch along your veggie garden paths. Check out our Pinterest board on veggie garden designs for inspiration.
Drawing out your veggie garden layout first will help account for all aspects of the layout to maximize function and aesthetics. Next, it’s time to select plants.
Plant Selection: Think Color and Growing Season
When planning the types of plants to include in your vegetable garden, consider companion plants and plants that are in season at different times.
- Companion planting is planting plants in close proximity that are beneficial to each other. Companion plants can offer shade, beautiful pops of color for added veggie garden aesthetics, pest control, and even healthier soil. Here is a list of plants that encourage useful bugs and deter unwanted pests.
- Select plants that are in season at different times. Seasonal plant selection not only increases the yield of your vegetable garden but also keeps it looking beautiful for a longer period of time each year. Once you’ve determined the types of plants for your garden, it’s time to consider their layout.
Here is a PDF list of edible plants that grow in Colorado along with some useful tips:
Consider clusters of same plants vs rows. Either arrangement can be both functional and beautiful so think about ease of access for care and harvesting to determine which works best for your vegetable garden.
Place your taller plants on the outside, furthest from the path, so they do not obstruct access to any of the smaller plants. This also provides useful shade to low-lying plants while being aesthetically pleasing.
Hedges can also provide shade in case you have a limited variety of tall plants.
Always take into account mature plant size. This allows spacing that is close enough to reap the benefits of companion planting but not so close that certain plants start to overtake others. Now for the fun part, aesthetic bonuses!
If you’ve already got a beautiful veggie garden, why not add some items that help you enjoy it even more? Water features, birdhouses, lighting, and benches can all increase the value you receive. A veggie garden shouldn’t just be useful for providing you food. Follow these steps to achieve functionality with aesthetics to enjoy the fruits (veggies) of your labor. Happy planting!
Need help designing your garden? Our team of gardening experts specialize in garden design and plant health care. Contact us to start your dream vegetable garden.