Vegetable gardens are ugly. This is a commonly held belief by a lot of people.
Or, at least, vegetable gardens aren’t as pretty as perennial gardens. They should be hidden in your backyard and you should save your front yard for growing trees, shrubs, flowers, and grass.
Do you know what I say to that? BORING!
My house sits on a very visible corner of my neighborhood and my vegetable garden wraps around the front and side of my house.
Every single person who walks, bikes, or drives by my house instantly knows that a vegetable gardener lives here.
And, my garden shows that growing vegetables can be gorgeous and tasty. Instead of something to be embarrassed about, my vegetable garden is front and center in my landscape. In fact, in my yard, trees, shrubs and grass take a backseat to the riotous color and aliveness of my vegetable garden.
I’ll proudly admit right here, my vegetable garden is a gorgeous sight to behold.
What’s my secret?
I plant lots and lots of flowers in and around my vegetable garden.
This is one of the most simple things you can do to elevate your garden from a place where you just grow food to a garden that draws in and wows visitors and passersby on the street.
Tucking flowers throughout your garden will add colorful pops of beauty to draw the eye into and through the space, attract tons of beneficial insects like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, and impress your neighbors because they’ve never seen a vegetable garden looking so good!
One of my missions is to bust the misconception that vegetable gardens aren’t attractive.
I stongly believe that you can have a vegetable garden that produces a lot of food and is beautiful to look at.
In fact, you can even feature your vegetable garden as a focal point of your entire landscape just like I do.
In this article, I’m sharing my favorite vegetable and flower garden ideas to help you create a thrilling space that brings you vibrant color all season long.
This post contains affiliate links.
Vegetable and Flower Garden Ideas for Creating a Beautiful Design
There are lots of exciting ways to add flowers to your vegetable garden. Here are my top five! I’m currently using all of them in my garden, which leads to an explosion of color all season long.
I suggest reading through the options and then picking one that ignited a spark of creativity and energy when you read through it. That’s the one to start with!
Add spring bulbs to vegetable garden beds
Okay, now I’m going to backtrack on what I just said and admit that our vegetable gardens can be kind of boring in the spring.
The beginning of the season can be a pretty slow start and it takes a while for the plants to really start offering some color and life.
How do many of us gardeners treat ourselves to early spring color? We plant flowering bulbs in our landscapes.
I did that, too, several years ago. But, I planted them in my perennial gardens.
One year as I was admiring all of the tulips and daffodils popping up in those beds, I turned around and looked at my vegetable garden and thought, “It needs some color, too.”
And then I thought, “Wait! What if I plant bulbs in my vegetable garden, too?”
I’m telling you, this was a genius idea!
That fall I bought some flower bulbs from a local nursery and planted them in the corners of several of my vegetable beds. And the next spring I was rewarded with many weeks of unfurling daffodils and tulips.
It distracted me very well from the fact there wasn’t much else going on in my garden at that time of year.
In this article, I share a bit more about how to use bulbs and some of my favorite varieties I’ve planted over the years: The surprising cure for a boring spring vegetable garden.
This is something you can take action on in the spring. I mail order my bulbs from Brent and Becky’s (not sponsored) during the spring when it’s fresh in my mind where and what bulbs I need. They offer a discount for ordering early and will schedule your delivery for fall.
It’s a great way to trick yourself into plant bulbs if you tend to run out of energy by fall and never get around to purchasing any.
Plant a cut flower garden
If you’re feeling excited about incorporating more flowers into your garden this season, you could dedicate an entire area to a cut flower garden.
If you’ve ever had dreams of being a flower farmer, this would be a great way to test out your fantasy in your own yard on a small scale.
I have a post written in partnership with Floret Flower Farm, a well-known company in the Pacific Northwest that’s helped popularize the local flower movement.
In it, we share recommended flowers to get your cut flower garden started and some additional resources specifically for growing these types of flowers: 7 Fabulous Cut Flowers to Grow in Your Garden
Mix veggies and flowers
Even if you’re intent on growing as much food as possible in your garden, there’s still plenty of room to tuck in some flowers with your vegetables. Just this idea will make a huge difference in the attractiveness of your plantings.
Personally, I like to reserve some room at the ends and corners of my beds for flowers.
For example, in April when I’m planting the seeds and plants of carrots, beets, onions, and lettuces, I won’t fill the entire bed up with the vegetables. Instead, I’ll leave a little space at one or both ends to plant flowers later when the weather warms up.
If you have a large garden, you don’t have to do this in every bed, but just make sure to leave room in areas scattered around the garden so you have a nice distribution of color throughout.
Using the ends of beds is easy because it won’t disrupt the planting of your vegetables.
In the areas you’ve reserved for flowers, plant some of your favorite annual flowers. I like annuals because once they get going, they tend to bloom for most of the season.
They’re also the perfect companion to vegetables since they have a very similar lifespan. They die back in fall and early winter with the cold weather and can be cleared out of your garden at the same time you’re cleaning out the vegetable plants.
I have added perennial flowers into my vegetable garden in the past, but I removed them because I found them difficult to work around.
An added benefit of planting ﬂowers among your vegetables is their blooms will attract beneficial insects and pollinators, which are an important part of a balanced organic garden.
If you start your own vegetable seedlings at home, think about ordering some ﬂower seeds and starting them alongside the vegetables.
Or, make a visit to a local nursery in spring and buy a ﬂat of colorful annual ﬂowers.
In this post, I share some of my top annual flowers for the vegetable garden and ideas for combining them into vibrant designs.
Plant a perennial garden as a border to your vegetable garden
As I mentioned above, I don’t tend to grow perennial flowers in my vegetable garden, but when designing my garden I did create a perennial border that serves as a buffer between my vegetable garden and the street.
One of the benefits to having a perennial garden near your vegetable garden is that the vegetable garden can “borrow” some of the color and interest from the perennials in times when the vegetable garden isn’t too exciting, like early spring and late fall.
Where I live in Madison, WI, the peak of the summer perennial flower garden is usually around mid-July. That’s when many of the garden tours take place.
In contrast, the peak of the vegetable garden occurs in mid-August. By planting these two gardens close to one another, you’ll have a long stretch of peak color and interest from the two gardens combined.
And they play so well together!
I have so many beautiful shots of my garden in late summer when the vegetables and flowers are really exploding in the vegetable garden, and the perennial garden is starting to put on its fall color.
It’s a stunning scene!
Think about your yard as a whole and where your vegetable garden is located. Can you add some perennials outside and around it?
Some ideas would be to add flowers outside the fence, at the entrance gate to the garden, or create a bordering perennial bed like I did.
If you’re wondering what to plant in your perennial garden, here’s a list of Gorgeous Summer Blooming Perennials.
Plant vining flowers on trellises
And lastly, don’t forget to grow some flowering vines in your garden!
Adding height to your plantings will allow you to grow more food (and flowers!) in the same space, and the vertical trellises add some fun decorative elements to your garden design.
There are plenty of options for trellises, but many of them can be expensive and not very well made. Personally, I like to build them myself out of livestock panels.
I recently added two more at the entrances to my garden for a total of four throughout my yard!
I show you exactly how to build one yourself and offer suggestions of what to grow on them here: How to Build An Easy & Beautiful Garden Trellis.
Additional Resources for Vegetable and Flower Garden Ideas
I read a lot of garden books throughout the year and I’m always on the hunt for books that celebrate the beauty of the vegetable garden. Some of these specifically showcase vegetable and flower garden ideas together.
Here are my recommendations for titles to help you on your journey to creating a more attractive vegetable garden this season. I’ve read them all cover to cover!
You can find lists of all of my book recommendations at Bookshop., which supports independent booksellers.
I also have an Amazon storefront featuring books, garden supplies, seeds, and tools.
This season, don’t settle for a boring and utilitarian vegetable garden. If you’re excited about the idea of adding more beauty to your design, start with adding some flowers and go from there! I promise you won’t be disappointed.
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