8 Backyard Garden Ideas: Grow Vegetables, Fruits, Raised Beds and More

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | February 14, 2024

Man relaxing in his backyard garden after learning how to start a gardening in your backyard, types of gardens for growing vegetables, flowers and more.

Having a backyard garden is not just a trend, it’s an excellent way to beautify your living space, grow delicious and nutritious fruits and veggies, and reduce your household emissions.

You can grow vegetables, fruits, flowers, and trees, and the best part about gardening in your backyard is that you don’t need a giant space to have a real impact.

But first things first, understanding backyard gardening for beginners means learning a few tips and ideas that can help make garden planning easier.

This guide includes seven types of backyard garden ideas that you can use to grow seasonal flowers and vegetables, fruit trees, or ornamental plants, along with the types of plants that flourish in them.

Starting Small: How To Start a Backyard Garden

As tempting as it may be, you don’t have to go big on your first try when you’re learning how to start a backyard garden.

What expert gardeners will tell you is that they started small and gradually increased the size of their gardens as they got more skills.

Having a massive garden space could easily cause you to burn out and even quit altogether,4 deeming gardening too overwhelming.

Graphics of types of backyard gardening showing Landscape gardening, Vertical gardening, Container gardening, and Straw Bale gardening images in circle frames.

A tiny space is still going to be rewarding, and the success that you get will be a massive boost.

The best part is that you won’t really have to put in too much effort in the care and maintenance, and you can expand from there.

8 Types of Backyard Gardening: Backyard Garden Ideas

There are so many ways that you can set up your backyard garden, and it will mostly depend on how much space you have and the type of plants you want to grow.

1. Landscape Gardening

A very common method where the garden is designed purely for ornamental purposes, hence the focus on decorative trees and flowers.

Landscape gardening can also incorporate fruit trees and fruit-bearing bushes, which can provide food wildlife, and your household.

If you’re planning to landscape garden your entire backyard, choose a system that you can incorporate over a series of multiple growing seasons.

2. Container Gardening

If you have a tiny space for gardening or fear that the soil is not right in your area, then you can grow your plants in garden planters or containers.

Container gardening comes in many forms and can be tailored to grow plants indoors, year-round if needed.

Planning home gardening using containers just takes a little effort to make sure that you have all the space your plants will need.

3. Vertical Gardening

In a bid to save more space, you can plant vertically. Vertical gardens are designed vertically and can be created using a variety of plants.

Trellises, frames, and even strings or other plants can be used to establish the props needed for growing plants vertically.

The vertical method can be an excellent solution for a backyard flower garden or for growing vegetables.

4. Straw Bale Gardening

With straw bale gardening, plants are nestled inside twined straw bales, conditioned to become growing media.

The process is both attractive and effective as a raised garden bed and can make building a garden fun.

5. No-Till Gardening

No-till gardening is an ingenious system that uses mulching layers to establish a healthy medium for plants to flourish.

The soil is maintained and established by adding more and more layers to the section, and avoiding any tampering, even turning it.

6. Organic Gardening

There are absolutely no chemicals that go into the gardening process at any stage.

For instance, gardeners rely on backyard composting to provide nutrients. The No-till garden is a great example of organic gardening.

7. Greenhouse Gardening

In this case, farming is done in greenhouses in order to regulate conditions like temperature and humidity.5

Greenhouses allow you to grow plants that may not survive in your outdoor growing zone.

8. Raised Gardening: Building a Garden on a Platform

One brilliant idea, especially for beginners, is using a raised garden bed instead of planting in-ground. There are so many benefits to this,6 in fact.

For one, by raising your plants, you are able to protect them from weeds, pests, and diseases. So that means that you will not really spend a lot of time taking control measures.

One more thing, by raising the garden, you will be sure that the soil will stay warmer, so the growing season lasts a little longer.

Garden Planning: Requirements

Planning is the first step for any gardener because, if not, things may not work out the way you want.

Before anything else, you have to determine whether the soil you will use for planting is the right kind, fertile, well-draining, and with particular requirements based on your plant choices.

Here is where soil testers come in to help.

Graphic of types of backyard gardening showing No-Till gardening, Organic gardening, Greenhouse gardening, and Raised gardening (building a garden on a platform) images in circle frames.

Apart from that, you will also go ahead and gather the gardening tools that you need. You just cannot skimp on gardening supplies because they make a whole lot of difference.

Always insist on good quality when it comes to the seeds or seedlings and even the pieces of equipment. You will need gloves, a watering can or hose, and tools like hoes, trowels, weeders, pruners, spades, and anything else depending on your method of planting.

When Is the Best Time To Start a Backyard Garden?

Wondering when to start gardening for the best results? Well, it all depends on your region’s frost dates.

When it comes to planting outdoors, you will have to wait until the air is warmer and friendlier, especially for delicate plants like flowers and vegetables.

However, you can start indoors a few weeks before the last frost date and transfer your plants outdoors when the conditions are more favorable.

Is There a Best Location for Home Gardening?

What is the best spot for your home garden? You may ask.

There is absolutely no compromise when it comes to the location of your backyard garden because unless you get that right, everything else will be a challenge. The location will depend on the type of plants you plan to grow.

So, the idea is to find a spot that is well-lit, that is, if you are planting vegetables, fruits, or flowers because they thrive under the full sun.

So if you plan veggies, you will have to observe your backyard to make sure that it gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight or an indoor area that you can use with containers.1

How Do You Decide What To Plant in Your Backyard Garden?

With so many planting options available, it can be a little overwhelming to pick just one. However, you can easily make a shortlist to help you decide.

You can narrow down to the plants that are easy to care for, those you love, and veggies, fruits, or herbs that you use the most in your home. This way, it will be easier to settle for a few options.

Choosing the Best Plants for Your Backyard Garden

One of the many benefits of gardening is that you are able to choose the perfect plants. Of course, you are going to be guided by the gardening zones and other factors like climate and the type of soil, but this is the best part.

So, what are some of the best plant ideas for your backyard garden? The following table has some of the most common.

Backyard Garden TypePopular VegetablesPopular Fruits and Flowers
LandscapeSmall seasonal tomato plants or sunflowersOrnamental trees, shrubs, and flowers.
ContainerBell pepper plant and tomato plants do well in containersAny type and style of flower that works well indoors
VerticalCucumbers, beans, peas, and other climbing plantsGrapes, wild grapes, types of climbing vines
Straw BalePotatoes and other root veggies, such as carrotsChrysanthemums, and other seasonal flowers
No Till GardenLettuce, onions, figs, etc.Small bushes, flowering shrubs
Organic GardenAll types of vegetablesAll types of fruits and flowers
GreenhouseAll types of vegetablesAll types of fruits and flowers
Raised BedAll types of fruits and flowersAll types of fruits and flowers

Caring for Your Backyard Vegetable Garden

The best part about having a backyard vegetable garden is the fact that you don’t have to struggle so much when it comes to care and maintenance. Just plant in the right spot and your plants should grow healthy and happy.

However, you can water it a couple of times a week, depending on the plant and the weather. If you want to make work even easier, you can set up a garden watering system.

Food is also important, and you could amend the soil with a liquid fertilizer maybe twice a month. Pruning or regularly harvesting leafy greens will also go a long way to improve the rate of growth.

Companion Growing Vegetables

If you are a proud owner of a backyard vegetable garden, then you may have to consider companion planting. Not only will your garden look really great, but it is a chance to pair up your plants for the mutual benefit of each other.

What you will be aiming for is planting nitrogen fixers like beans and peas, pollinator plants like vibrant and fragrant flowers, and pest repellents like strong scented herbs.3

All these make perfect companion plants, especially for your leafy greens.

Styling Your Backyard Flower Garden

If you are a lover of all things flowers, then this will be the best chance to experiment with your personal preferences and style.

Eye-level shot of flowering plants in containers on wooden plant stands.

(Image: ArtTower8)

You will also be guided by your backyard garden’s layout and size, but all in all, you want to go for flower combinations that complement each other and of course, the ones that are easy to care for. Here are a few ideas.

ColorsTypes of Flowers
Purple flowersCatmint, Balloon flower, Bellflower, Clematis, Iris
Blue flowersHydrangea, Lily of the Nile, Cornflower, Lobelia, Salvia
White flowerDaisy flower, Orchid, Magnolia, Iceberg Rose, Sweet Alyssum
Yellow flowersDaffodil flower, Marigold flower, Tulip, Dahlia, Impatiens
Pink flowerPeony flower, Coral Bells, Chrysanthemum, Astilbe, Lupine

Being Prepared for the Challenges of Backyard Gardening

You have to know that gardening is all fun and rewarding, but it is not without its challenges, and if you want to be an expert, you should learn how to deal with them as you notice them.

Low Soil Quality

If your plants are not really growing as they should, then it could be that the soil is poor, so you may have to seek alternatives like container planting and soil amending using slow-release fertilizer.7

Pest, Weed, and Disease Attacks

The number one nemesis of any gardener because these attacks could end the life of your plants as you know it. This is why you should know how to detect something that is wrong and take the necessary precautions, checking for abnormalities in the parts of the plant every single day.

Unwanted plants will compete for the little resources, which will definitely affect your plants, so know how to spot and get rid of them immediately.2

Limited Space

If you fear that there is not that much room in your backyard for your plants, you can always find effective alternatives like vertical gardening and even use containers.

Do you have a backyard space that is bare and are wondering what you could possibly do to make it look better? Why don’t you try gardening?

Having a backyard garden fills up the empty space and makes for great landscaping, and it helps that you can also plant your own food, so it saves you money in the process.

The gardening ideas above should answer your most pressing questions about starting and maintaining a backyard garden, and it is only a matter of time before you will be an expert having fun growing your favorite plants.

Frequently Asked Questions About Backyard Garden

What Should You Do After Harvesting Your Plants?

Experts always advocate for succession planting, once you have harvested your plants, you would want to repurpose the space and plant something else, not let the land go to waste because that could take a toll on the next season’s planting. Your best bet is fast-growing options that will serve as cover crops until you are ready to plant again.


1Beck, A. (2023, April 9). 10 Easy Steps to Create Gardens in Your Yard for the First Time. Better Homes & Gardens. Retrieved October 1, 2023, from <https://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/garden-care/ten-steps-to-beginning-a-garden/>

2ECO gardener. (2023, August 7). 8 Common Gardening Challenges and How to Solve Them. ECOgardener. Retrieved October 1, 2023, from <https://ecogardener.com/blogs/news/8-gardening-challenges-and-how-to-solve-them>

3Guetebier, A. (2022, April 5). How to Create a Backyard Garden. Angie’s List. Retrieved October 1, 2023, from <https://www.angi.com/articles/tips-creating-backyard-vegetable-garden.htm>

4Shelly. (2023). How to Start a Vegetable Garden from Scratch, Beginner Backyard Gardening. Frugal Family Home. Retrieved October 1, 2023, from <https://frugalfamilyhome.com/home/gardening/how-to-start-a-vegetable-garden-from-scratch>

5Schalau, J. (2020, December 2). Backyard Gardener – Thinking About a Greenhouse? – December 2, 2020. cals.arizona.edu. Retrieved October 3, 2023, from <https://cales.arizona.edu/yavapai/anr/hort/byg/archive/greenhouse2020.html>

6ASK UNH EXTENSION. (2019, March 26). What are the benefits of raised beds and how can I construct one myself? UNH Extension. Retrieved October 3, 2023, from <https://extension.unh.edu/blog/2019/03/what-are-benefits-raised-beds-how-can-i-construct-one-myself>

7University of California. (2023). Container Gardening Basics – UC Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County. UC Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County. Retrieved October 3, 2023, from <https://mgsantaclara.ucanr.edu/garden-help/container-gardening/>

8Photo by ArtTower. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/photos/still-life-garden-backyard-shovel-52785/>