How to Incorporate a Vegetable Patch into Your Garden Design

Sustainable Garden Design: Veg Plot dos & don'ts | Gardens by Keltie & Clark

Spring is around the corner, so it’s the ideal time to start thinking about planning a vegetable patch in your garden. But before you plough straight in, there are a number of things you need to consider to ensure your vegetable patch is the success you want it to be. Take a look at our top tips on how to plot a vegetable patch in your garden and you and your veg patch will be thriving in no time…


The Dos and Don’ts of Incorporating a Vegetable Patch into Your Garden Design

Plot a veg patch in your garden with our sustainable garden design dos and don'ts


1. Don’t just dump your patch at the back of the garden

This is a mistake we see all too often. Rather than make the vegetable patch a main focus, many people think they can just shove it at the back of the garden, out of sight. Well, we can tell you now, that isn’t going to work! For a start, many seedlings need light and warmth to grow and thrive, so if your vegetable patch is in some dark, dank corner of the garden, you’re already in a losing battle. And if your plants don’t want to be there, we can pretty much guarantee you won’t want to be there either! 


2. Do make sure it’s a really nice place to be

When we help clients plot a vegetable patch in their garden, we always advise them to make it a place they actually want to be. So it’s about sustainable garden design, but it’s also about outdoor living design. That means making the garden design as welcoming as possible. So, design a nice pathway that takes you to the growing area, and then make the space as enticing as you can. Create a seating area where you can sit and read your seed packets, or enjoy the flowers that you grow. Keep the borders tidy and the paths mud-free so you can nip out without having to think about finding boots or clearing up any mess afterwards. Design your vegetable patch to be a sanctuary where you’ll be happy to spend time pottering and working.

Do ensure you have a great spot for your sustainable garden design veg plot patch in your garden


3. Don’t overestimate your commitment

Part of our process as garden designers is to dig around to understand how clients are going to use their outdoor space and how we can help them to do so. So, when it comes to a vegetable patch, be honest about how much time and effort you will realistically be able to commit to growing plants. This will help to shape the scale and design of the vegetable patch. There’s no point creating numerous beds and crop rotation systems if you’re realistically not going to be able to put the hours in. Much better to design a plot that works for you and that you won’t feel overwhelmed by.


4. Do plot out your garden design on paper first

Once you’ve established how much commitment you can give to your vegetable patch, you can then start to plot out what it might look like. When we design gardens with vegetable patches for clients, we encourage them to think vertically as well as laterally. So, if you are tight on space, consider plants that grow upwards, such as runner beans, tomatoes, and raspberries, but plant them on the north side so they don’t overshadow other crops. We usually recommend that beds be no more than 1.2m wide so you can access them from all sides.

Plan your sustainable garden design before hand


5. Don’t just plant your favourite ingredients

Of course, you need to grow plants that you actually want to eat, but be mindful that some crops are trickier to grow than others. Courgettes, potatoes, strawberries, beans, radish, and beetroot are some great veg crops for beginners, as are salad leaves and herbs. You might also consider growing flowers for cutting, such as sweet peas, sunflowers, and gladioli. And look at successional growing to give you a greater variety of crops throughout the growing season.


6. Do think about sustainable garden design

Having a vegetable patch in the garden plays a big part in sustainable garden design. It is one of the best ways to attract bees and other pollinators to the garden, especially if you are growing and cutting flowers. Companion planting is a sustainable way to prevent pests from infiltrating your crops and also looks attractive. Planting a row of marigolds alongside your tomatoes, for example, can help to deter whitefly, while the strong scent of fresh mint is thought to confuse flea beetles, which lay their eggs in brassicas.

Do think about the sustainability of your garden

7. Don’t take on more than you can manage 

There’s no getting away from it, bending down for hours at a time will take its toll on the body. In order for your vegetable patch to be a success, you need a garden design that takes into account any physical limitations. So, if back issues are a concern, consider raised beds. If digging large areas will be a challenge, use more containers. And if you’d rather not spend hours weeding on your knees, look at covering the soil in bark to create mulch that will help to deter weeds. Consider easy vegetables to get you start like salad crops, courgettes, rhubarb and herbs. Once you have success it all becomes more fun and you will start to find time to do more.


8. Do make it easy to access everything you need

In order to make your vegetable patch a success, ensure that everything you need is easily accessible. Our job as garden designers is to create a space that is going to transform your life for the better, not make it more difficult! That means making sure all the niggly logistical things that might be a barrier to your enjoyment of your outdoor space are taken care of. So, when we design vegetable gardens, we make sure there are nearby spaces to store gardening tools and compost as well as areas for convenient waste disposal. We build in easy access to water feeds, whether that’s a water butt or a tap. And we create pleasant areas for potting up seeds as well as places where you can pause and contemplate your harvest.

part of a sustainable garden design is ease of access to everything you need.

Need help incorporating a vegetable patch into your garden design?

At Gardens by Keltie & Clark, our garden designers have a great deal of experience in sustainable garden design. We have designed gardens that have included vegetable patches of all shapes and sizes to suit our clients’ needs and tastes. Talk to us about the best way to design a vegetable patch in your garden, and we’ll make sure we create a space that you’ll want to nurture—for this growing season and plenty after!



More Projects