Create an Artistic Vegetable Garden to Feed Your Body & Soul



Like most gardeners, I’m a highly visual person. I need to have beauty around me. It comforts me, inspires me, and lifts my spirits when I’m having a sad or stressful day. It’s what I feed on to survive.

In my home I surround myself with others’ artwork. I love bright colors, vegetable garden art (of course!), clean lines, and inspiring messages.

Outside my home I surround myself with my own artwork – my garden. I love to grow my own food, that’s a big part of the reason I have a vegetable garden. But, I also love the deep beauty and joy that having a garden brings to my life.

My garden is right outside my living room window and when I wake up in the morning I peek through the curtains to get a breakfast dose of visual garden candy. It’s difficult to put into words the internal spiritual lift I get when I catch a glimpse of my garden. It’s like my heart pauses for a little back flip of joy, and then continues along its merry way to continue on in its work.

My daily inspiration is found within that garden. Just a few minutes tying up tomato branches, deadheading flowers, or harvesting a brightly colored vegetable is enough to center and ground me.

Over my years of gardening I’ve discovered that the vegetable garden doesn’t have to be simply a place to grow food to feed your body. You can also intentionally design a garden that grows plenty of beauty to feed your soul.


When planning your next garden, here are some tips to incorporate more artistic touches:

pottery piece in garden

1. Tastefully sprinkle some garden art throughout your yard. Not the tchotchkes available from any garden center or big box store. Think local artists and art fairs instead. Invest in a few quality pieces instead of lots of little things that crowd the garden. I love this clay totem I bought a few years ago at an art fair in a park near my house. I move it around to a different location each year.


2. Mix in flowers for added color. The vegetable garden has a lot of green, which is a great color, but it can make the garden seem a bit one dimensional. Sprinkle plantings of annual flowers like zinnias, rudbeckia, and salvia in with your vegetables to add vibrant pops of color that will draw you into your garden. Another idea is to create a perennial flower bed that borders your garden or frames the entrance.


3. Contrast plant shape and form. In the ornamental garden design world plant shape and form are the building blocks of garden design. Combining them in interesting ways is what differentiates an average landscape from an extraordinary one. You can steal this technique for your vegetable garden. For example, one year I planted celery, which has a mounding shape and a feathery leaf, next to leeks, which are more grassy and upright. The visual contrast between them adds some interest that catches your eye. Take a step back and look at the vegetables you’re planting through this lens – how can you combine them to accentuate their different characteristics?



Dancer eggplant positively glows in the garden.

4. Plant for color as well as taste. Don’t just plant the regular garden variety (pun intended!) vegetables year after year – red tomatoes, green bush beans, white potatoes. There’s so much more out there! If you love eggplant, skip the dark purple globe kind found in the grocery store. It’s so boring. Instead try the neon purple of Dancer, the bright orange of Turkish, or the white of Casper. Search out unique and fun varieties of your favorite vegetables and experiment! (Read more about some of my favorites here.)

Focusing on the details of your vegetable garden is what will help you elevate from ordinary to extraordinary! Don’t settle for a hum drum garden this season, strive to make it more fun, colorful and unique. Then watch how it adds a deeper sense of satisfaction and joyfulness to your life.

Want to read more about designing a colorful garden? Check out these posts:

Design a Decorative Vegetable Garden with a Rainbow of Colorful Plants

Tips for Growing a Colorful Vegetable Garden

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