Design a Potager Garden

Bring beauty, utility, and productivity to your landscape by creating a personalized kitchen garden.


A potager garden, also known as a “kitchen garden,” is historically a French style of gardening that incorporates herbs, fruits, and vegetables with flowers and ornamentals to create a functional, aesthetically pleasing space. Traditionally, these gardens are located right outside the home and intended to be enjoyed on a daily basis. Walk-throughs allow you to enjoy the garden’s beauty, while also providing quick and easy access to its bounty of food. You can step outside your door and pick fresh vegetables for the evening meal, as well as cut a bouquet of flowers for the table. Because there are no set rules for this type of garden, potagers come in all shapes and sizes, and vary drastically from the freestyle flow of a cottage garden, to the geometric rigidity of a knot garden, and everything in between.

With a growing interest in knowing where our food comes from, the “grow food not lawns” movement is taking hold. Gardeners in urban and country homes alike are choosing gardens over grass. Why waste prime gardening real estate on grass, when you could create an edible landscape? I asked myself just that when I bought my house. Right out my back door was a south-facing lawn, an ideal spot for a garden, yet I was wasting it on grass. I decided it was a misuse of perfect garden space and could better serve as a potager filled with flowers, herbs, and a variety of vegetables to enjoy throughout the growing season.

The author's backyard before planting a potager garden.

Getting Started

Because there’s no right or wrong way to create a potager garden, this style of gardening is very forgiving for any landscape or budget. Whether the area is flat or hilly, square or irregular, rocky or smooth, the design is adaptable. And if you want to minimize expenses, you can forage what you need to create walkways, bed borders, and other design features.

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