If you've picked a part of your plot for some grow-your-own-action, then these kitchen garden ideas are for you. And as you'll see, as much as veg plots are functional spaces, they can look truly beautiful too.
You don't have to have acres of space to create a flourishing veg patch, either. As Claire Ransom, the founder of Lazy Flora says, 'Kitchen gardening is something all of us can do to make our food fresher and cities greener.' They can be set up in the tiniest amount of garden space, even on balconies, with the help of planters, pots and boxes, she adds.
So whether you have a sprawling space ready for raised beds and an elegant greenhouse, are looking for chic planters to bring some freshly-grown crops to your courtyard, or are looking for an ingenious composting system, then we've got the inspiration you need. Just keep scrolling to see some of our very favorite kitchen garden ideas, and get ready to take your meals up a notch when harvest time comes around.
1. Keep it green with grass pathways
If you have the space, try planting just one type of vegetable in each of your raised garden beds. That way, it'll be easy to know what's what, and the effect is orderly and structural.
To soften this more formal approach, opt for grass pathways between the beds. It will add to all the lush green tones in the height of summer, giving your space a soothing vibe. A small tree overhead won't go amiss either.
2. Give a greenhouse pride of place
For avid gardeners, a greenhouse takes up an important role in the plot all year round. A safe, sheltered space for starting off seedlings, potting on, and sheltering crops from the winter weather, they're ever so handy and can look stylish too.
So when it comes to your kitchen garden ideas, giving your greenhouse ideas pride of place is a good move. That way, your greenhouse will be just where you need it when you're busy tending to your crops, preventing the need to trudge back and forth across your lawn to get your trays of seeds.
These striking obelisks make an impact too – they add a pleasing sense of symmetry and their emerald hue looks lovely against the verdant surroundings.
3. Make it a part of your patio
Not everyone has the space for a sprawling veg patch at the bottom of their plot, but there's other ways to integrate kitchen garden ideas. For more modern, urban, or smaller spaces, a portion of patio can be used to create a functional yet stylish set-up.
Positioning your crops near the house and outdoor seating space means they'll be quick and easy to access for midweek meal cooking. And for something a bit different, we love these woven willow beds – they offer a lovely laid-back vibe.
4. Opt for raised planters for small spaces
Don't want to bother with a set of raised beds? After all, they're not always the best approach if you want to bring kitchen garden ideas into a courtyard or very small space.
Instead, try opting for a raised planter such as this. It's totally chic and will look great planted up with a few of your favorite veggies. Plus, it makes access for maintenance easy – no back-breaking weeding here!
It's also a great choice for beginners who want to try their hand at growing crops before they fully commit to digging up their garden. If you change your mind, simply fill with flowers instead.
Looking for more small vegetable garden ideas? Take a look at our feature.
5. Try growing fruit trees in containers
If you're opting for the container route, then you don't have to limit yourself to the likes of lettuce, herbs, and tomatoes (as delicious as they are). With a set-up like this, you can create your own mini orchard in your plot. And who doesn't like the thought of home-grown apples for a pie?
This design can be combined with a matching trellis to help support your fruit trees. What's more, it's self-watering for easy-peasy maintenance. It's a great pick for decking, small patios, or even balcony garden ideas.
6. Get an easy-care compost system
Making your own compost is a great way to save on costs and make the most of your old potato peelings, banana skins and old coffee grounds (and our guide on how to compost is full of useful tips). There's lots of different compost bins you can add to your garden – you could even build your own – but if you want to be really savvy, try an easy-care system like this.
'The Subpod Grow Bundle is a garden, worm farm and compost system rolled into one,' explains Peter Critch, Co-founder of Subpod. 'You can compost your scraps and feed your garden at the same time – the ultimate hands-off set up a hobby gardener.'
'It's odorless, vermin-proof, doubles as extra seating in barbecue areas, and is safe to have right outside your kitchen window,' he continues. It's the perfect addition to a kitchen garden space.
7. Use a stepladder to showcase your herb garden
Herbs are a great starter-crop for budding kitchen garden enthusiasts. They're super simple to grow, they add a ton of flavor to dishes, and they look lovely, too. Of course there's the likes of dill and parsley, but keep an eye out for more unusual varieties. Chocolate mint makes a great addition to desserts, whilst Thai basil adds a lovely hint of aniseed to Asian dishes.
If you want to bring some into your kitchen garden ideas, then consider planting them in terracotta pots. Stack them up on an upcycled stepladder for an attractive focal point that makes the most of the vertical space in your plot. The result will be a low-maintenance herb garden with a Mediterranean feel.
You can find out more tips on how to create a herb garden in our guide.
8. Embrace the benefits of companion planting
You may have heard of companion planting already – it's when you grow plants together that benefit one another. For example, many herbs can help to deter insects such as carrot root fly and onion fly due to their aromatic fragrance. So, they are well-suited for planting around vegetables.
Other plants can be grown as 'sacrificial crops', used to distract aphids and other pests away from cabbages and other leafy veg. Marigolds and nasturtiums are classic choices for this. Another example is when certain plants are grown around vegetables to attract pollinators. 'Flowers attract insects and many of these beneficial bugs attack and kill pests such as aphids,' explains Chris Bonnett from GardeningExpress.co.uk. 'They also help to pollinate fruit-bearing vegetables, such as peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash, so you have bigger harvests.'
As well as helping to make your veg-growing endeavours more successful, companion planting looks pretty too, especially if you like a more informal look. It's well-suited to cottage garden schemes.
9. Add an enchanting gate
Define kitchen garden spaces with the help of a gate – it's an easy way to zone your plot. Plus, if you have pets which love to dig, gates are a simple solution for keeping them out of your prized beds.
There are tons of options in terms of design, so go for a style that complements your garden's theme. This whimsical look above adds a rustic fairytale charm, but you could opt for something a little more pared-back for a contemporary look.
10. Go for pretty plant supports
Plant supports are ideal for helping clambering climbers flourish. This timeless design above looks gorgeous adorned with pretty sweet peas, but would be brilliant for climbing beans, too.
Opt for weather-proof materials for a long-lasting feature to see you through many summers (the one above is made from high-quality galvanized solid steel). Added to raised beds or borders, it's a great way to provide vertical visual interest. Plus, it saves you the job of building your own structure from beanpoles – which isn't always as simple as it sounds.
Discover more climbing plant support ideas in our feature.
11. Move your kitchen garden ideas onto your decking
Kitchen garden ideas can be used to elevate a decked space – providing a fresh flourish of greenery to the scene. Just take a look at these planters above – they're positively brimming with luscious (and very tasty-looking) salad leaves.
To recreate the look, you just need to invest in a few large containers, plant them up with your favorite veggies, then arrange them close to one other to build up a grow-your-own zone. You'll have your very own portable vegetable plot in no time.
Our guide on growing vegetables in pots is full of all the advice you need to get started.
12. Create an archway of climbing veg
This is another fabulous idea if you've been thinking about growing runner beans, broad beans, or peas this season. For once these crops get underway, they will climb vigorously, and can easily be trained over a small pergola or archway for a show-stopping feature in the center of your veg patch.
It's a great way to make your kitchen garden ideas even more enchanting, and will really draw the eye. You don't have to position it right in the middle of your space either. Instead, you could train just a couple of plants over a seating spot – the shaded canopy will provide a lovely retreat to relax and take in the view.
How do you make a simple kitchen garden?
Tempted to make your own kitchen garden? It's not as tricky as you might expect. Take a look at these useful tips to help you get started:
- 'Planning is crucial when it comes to growing veg, so aim to begin planting at the start of spring,' says Claire Ransom, Founder of Lazy Flora.
- 'It is also important to think about each plant's varying requirements,' Claire continues. 'Some will love to sit on a windowsill or outside in direct sunlight all day, whilst others will prefer a shady spot.' So, before you get planting, work out the sunny and shady spots in your plot and the most suitable plants to grow there.
- Once you've decided which plants you want to grow, the next step is to organise the space, as advises Chris Bonnett of GardeningExpress.co.uk. To make it look pretty, 'Switch up heights and varieties of plant to make best use of the space and so that it looks eye-catching, and use flowers to create decorative borders and boundaries around the patch,' he says.
- Raised beds are a great idea as make maintenance much easier. They're not too tricky to build yourself – our guide on how to build a raised garden bed will give you a hand.
- It's also worth knowing when to harvest vegetables for the best tasting crops – take a look at our advice.
What can I plant in a small kitchen garden?
You can find lots of best vegetables for raised beds in our guide. But, if you're on the lookout for smaller veg patch picks, Claire Ransom, Founder of Lazy Flora, shares her suggestions:
- 'Herbs are a great low-maintenance way to begin a small kitchen,' Claire says. 'They are quick to grow and some varieties, such as rosemary, sage and mint add delightful smells. A collection of different plants, like our fresh herb bundle, will cater to every taste and add a range of interesting shapes, colors and smells to the space.'
- 'Lots of fruit and veg, like beetroot, carrots, tomatoes, peas, and runner beans, will be happy living in pots,' she says.
- 'Potatoes are also pretty versatile and happy to be planted anywhere in sunlight when planted in a light, loose, well-drained soil,' Claire continues. 'They love being in porous fabric planters, like the one we offer in our potato growing kit.'
The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.
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