As told by Architectural Digest. 

If you’re on the hunt for vegetable garden ideas, look no further. Sowing vegetable garden ideas is an easy DIY project—whether it’s an herb garden or an edible flower garden—and you don’t have to have a green thumb to be successful.

There are plenty of beginner-friendly projects that make it easy to nurture and harvest your favorite foods, like lettuce, tomatoes, or cucumbers, in a matter of months. Just think, if you plant tomato seeds in May, you could be eating delicious salad by late summer. “There is nothing in the world as fresh, crisp, and tasty as a vegetable plucked and devoured in the same minute,” says Allison Vallin Kostovick, gardener and founder of Finch + Folly Farm in New Gloucester, Maine.

Still, before you start digging up soil and thinking up other backyard updates, consider these quick tips for best results.

Beginner gardening tips

“When starting off, look for bush, baby, or dwarf varieties as these are petite and grow great in beds and containers,” Vallin Kostovick recommends. It’s also good to be mindful of the season and temperature in your area as veggies, like peas and lettuce, adapt to cooler temperatures and are better suited for early spring. If you start planting in early summer, focus on beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers, Vallin Kostovick says.

To keep critters from getting into your crops, plant garlic or onion bulbs around your vegetable bed. “The green stalks emit an odor and a taste that bunnies and squirrels stay away from,” explains David Angelov, CEO and founder of PlantParenthood in Swampscott, Massachusetts. Now that you know the basics, gather inspiration with these backyard vegetable garden ideas.

Small garden ideas

“For any new gardener, my best advice is to start small no matter what kind of garden you plant,” Vallin Kostovick says. This way, your garden will be more manageable as a first-timer and give you the opportunity to learn as you go. A small space in your backyard—about four-by-four feet or four-by-eight feet—is a perfect location for a raised bed and a great way to start growing all of your favorite veggies. If you’re planning to build your own beds, avoid pressure-treated woods, which are woods that have had water and preservatives forced into the lumber using high-pressure systems. “The chemicals seep into the soil and water that the plants drink,” Angelov warns.

1. A small single-variety garden

A small raised garden bed, about four-by-four feet, is the ideal size for four tomato plants. This should give the plants plenty of room to grow and allows you to add tomato cages to help the plants climb. Caring for a single-variety garden works great for a novice since you don’t have to worry about different sun and watering requirements.

2. Expanded raised-beds garden

When selecting your vegetable garden location, consider the landscape design the project could eventually become. As you get more comfortable with vegetable garden ideas, you can build more beds and expand the garden layout and types of vegetables each bed holds. With this layout, consider companion planting, which is the idea that you grow garden plants next to each other that benefit the other in some way. Follow the old adage of “what goes together well in the kitchen, grows together well in the garden,” Vallin Kostovick says. For example, plants like lettuce and tomato grow well next to each other because as the tomatoes grow taller, they provide necessary shade for the lettuce.

3. A slender garden

Get the most out of every square foot and use more vertical or horizontal space to create a slender garden along a fence, wall, or other tighter area of your backyard. These types of gardens are suited for climbing plants like cucumbers, zucchini, and squash.

Easy to grow garden ideas

“Most veggies need full sun to grow happy,” Angelov says. If you’re new to the plant and vegetable world, know that some crops—tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, for instance—will grow easier than others.

According to Vallin Kostovick, some other beginner-friendly produce include beans, lettuce, peas, carrots, radish, herbs, summer squash, zucchini, and beets. Planting a garden with any of these vegetable plants can be a simple and stress-free way to start growing your own food.

Themed garden ideas

Vallin Kostovick suggests growing a garden with a specific theme, and it’s one of our favorite gardening tips. To get you started on some potential options, consider these veggie garden ideas:

1. A salad garden

Plant things like lettuce, peas, carrots, radish, cucumbers, and bush cherry tomato.

2. A culinary herb garden

Basil, oregano, thyme, sage, parsley, dill, and rosemary are all great choices for beginners, Vallin Kostovick says. Mint is another easy-to-grow herb, but it’s best to keep it in a separate container, like a window-sill box, since it can spread really easily.

3. A salsa garden

Salsa fans can plant hot peppers, bush tomatoes, cilantro, and onions. You’ll be churning out jars of homegrown salsa in no time.

4. A sauce garden

“Plant a sauce garden to take your pasta game to the next level,” Vallin Kostovick says. For a tasty sauce, grow a combination of bush tomatoes, basil, onions, and oregano.

5. Edible flower garden

Edible flowers like calendula, borage, violas, and nasturtium can be the perfect way to combine aesthetics with utility. Vallin Kostovick explains these plants can “add instant whimsy to anything from ice cubes to salads to baked goods.” Bonus: Flowering plants and herbs attract pollinators needed for a bountiful vegetable garden.

6. Companion planting garden

Companion planting is the idea that you grow garden plants next to each other that benefit one another in some way. Though there are plenty of combinations that could work, like non-competing radishes and carrots, consider picking your produce based on what will thrive together.

Alternative bed ideas

When you’re thinking about your garden design, don’t forget about alternative planting vessels. “I personally love using galvanized tubs,” Vallin Kostovick says. “Wooden crates and whiskey barrels are a great alternative as well.” She mentions you could even grow your vegetable crops in an old wheelbarrow or sink.

In general, look for larger pots or vessels since small ones will dry out quickly. You’ll want to make sure there is good drainage, and you have to consider the depth of the container depending on the type of veggie you’re growing. For example, root vegetables like carrots will need cavernous pots, usually 12 to 14 inches deep, but something like lettuce only needs 6 to 12 inches.

1. Galvanized tubs

One of Vallin Kostovick’s favorite vessels, this farmhouse aesthetic backyard garden leans heavily on rustic roots.

2. Vertical garden

If you don’t have a lot of space, but still want a home garden, consider a vertical design. This herb garden uses hanging planter bags to maximize space. Two points for sustainability if you make a small vegetable garden like this one that recycles old water bottles to plant smaller leafy greens.