Our Potential Vegetable Garden Locations

posted by Andrea | 07/15/2013

dream garden

As many of you know, Dave and I are doing a lot of yard work this summer — however, we STILL haven’t had a chance to work on our vegetable garden (no, the photo above is not in our yard — but wouldn’t that be awesome!)

Part of the reason is because we know (from past gardening experience) how much work a vegetable garden can be, and we also already have a lot on our plate this summer.

However, the main reason is because we don’t know exactly where we want to put our garden. So the vegetables need to wait until next year — in the mean time, we’re enjoying fresh produce from my parent’s garden, local farms, and the grocery store.

We’re currently deciding between 2 different locations, and tossing a bunch of other design ideas around. Of course, I’ve been scouring magazines, websites, Pinterest, etc. for more ideas — and I thought I’d share some of them with you in case you had anything else to add.

If all goes as planned, we HOPE to “break ground” later this fall so our garden is ready for seeds early next spring.


LOCATION #1 = The front yard.

I realize that the front yard isn’t exactly a “normal” location for a vegetable garden… but due to the layout of our property and the direction our house faces, the front yard actually does make sense.

Our side and back yard is about 80% shade — which is awesome for playing outside on hot summer days, but not so awesome for growing vegetables. The front yard, on the other hand, is south-facing and literally has 100% sun all day long. This makes growing grass somewhat of a challenge so we figured it might be a good idea to remove some of the grass and replace it with a large vegetable garden.

option #1

A few more of the pros and cons: 


  • full sun all day long
  • we already have irrigation in place for watering
  • unlimited space — seriously, our front yard is HUGE and we could grow anything we wanted
  • it could potentially be an awesome focal point for our yard and look super “farmy” to have a big garden out front (think white picket fence, metal windmill, and a scarecrow!)
  • it’s currently ready to go and all we’d have to do would be rototill up the grass and bring in some fresh soil
  • it would alleviate the need to water so much grass all summer long as part of the front yard would be a garden


  • front yard veggie gardens aren’t “normal”
  • although we do already have irrigation in place, we would still need to rearrange a few zones and sprinklers to make it work for a garden
  • it would most likely be quite a bit more expensive because we would want to put a nice white picket fence around the garden to make it look “pretty”
  • it could potentially take away from all the other landscaping we’re doing in the front yard, especially in the off seasons when it would mainly be an empty garden plot
  • it would break up our nice big front yard — a.k.a. our future soccer or football or wiffleball field!
  • it would not be in super close proximity to our house, our garage (where all our tools are), or our kitchen
  • it would be more challenging to work in the garden with Nora around because we would be so close to the road
  • it would be really easy for anyone to take produce out of our garden since it’s right out in by the sidewalk and away from our house (not that I think this would happen; however, it is something Dave and I have mentioned before)
  • if we change our minds, it would be a huge pain to remove


LOCATION #2 = Along the side of our driveway.

Again, I know this definitely isn’t a traditional spot for a vegetable garden, but since our side yard and back yard are too shady, we have limited options.

The side of our driveway is a very long, narrow strip of land (about 10-15 ft wide and 300 ft. long). We’re currently thinking about making part of that strip into a raised-bed vegetable garden… but again, we haven’t totally thought through everything yet.

We would have to do a decent amount of demolition to make this space suitable for a veggie garden, but we were planning to do most of the demolition at some point anyway — just not necessarily this fall.

option #2

A few more of the pros and cons:


  • it wouldn’t be as “out in the open” as the front of our yard (we wouldn’t do it right next to the road — probably back at least 150 feet)
  • it would get much more sun than if we had a garden in our side yard or our back yard
  • it would be right next to our house (right outside our kitchen) and our garage for easy access
  • we could start small and easily add more raised beds as we went along
  • we wouldn’t need it to look super pretty because it would be mostly hidden from the road
  • this portion of our yard is on a separate zone for sprinklers so watering would be super easy
  • it would be relatively easy to remove the garden if we changed our minds down the road
  • it would be easy to work in the garden while Nora plays in the driveway with chalk, on her scooter, in her car, etc.


  • it could potentially make parking along the side of the driveway more difficult
  • it wouldn’t get as much sun as the front yard (full sun from 12-7pm)
  • we would have to remove several large trees and a whole bunch of brush/ground cover before we could even start “building” the garden, and we aren’t positive we want to take on that project this year
  • if we chose this location, we would need to build raised beds — which is another project and it could be pricy depending on how many we want to build
  • the space is more confined so we would have less freedom or room for expansion


Here’s a (not totally to scale) drawing of our property to give you a little bit more of an idea about the 2 options we’re deciding between. Keep in mind that the area by the driveway is actually a lot larger than it looks. This drawing cut our property off early so we have more useable space over there.

garden options

When we first started discussing our vegetable garden options, Dave and I were both much more interested in putting the garden in the front yard, but after tossing a few more ideas around, we’re starting to lean a bit more towards trying the side of the driveway… but of course, nothing has been decided yet.

Sometimes I feel like we might be over-thinking it, but as I mentioned in this post, when it comes to yard work, we are notorious for doing something, changing our minds 3 months later, doing it again, and then still doing it again a year down the road. We’re sick of this… so we’re trying to put extra thought and effort into all our gardening plans in an effort to avoid doing double and triple the work for the same outcome 🙂

Can you blame us?

I did find this really neat garden-planning program that I’m hoping will help us with the planning process. It not only helps you plan your garden space, it also helps you know what crops to plant together, how to rotate your crops on a yearly basis, how to naturally control common garden pests, and so much more. Plus, there’s an App for the iPad! The subscription costs $25 per year, but they do have a free 30-day trial that you can use once per email address.

What are your thoughts?

I realize you don’t have all the details so it might be difficult for you to fully understand our potential plans or offer any suggestions, but I’m curious to know what you would suggest — especially if you have a front yard, driveway, or other non-traditional vegetable garden!

top photo credit


Filed under: HomeLandscaping

Leave a comment


  1. Kelley


    So, this is probably way old and you’ve already decided by now, but here’s my 2 cents…and a Hello from a fellow Michigander and blogger! 🙂 I lean more towards the front yard…along the driveway would be a great place for some cold frame raised beds that you can garden out of all winter long…also, as far as it being bare in the winter…you could plant a winter cover crop, like clover or alfalfa, or winter crops, like kale, carrots, etc and have a 4 season garden like we plan to. The kids can still play in the back yard so that takes care of the play space problem, as far as safety, keep her in the fence in a carrier (like an ergo on your back) in a stroller, a swing, and teach her about the dangers. My other suggestion though is to make some portable, self watering grow beds (search Larry hall grow bags on youtube) and no we’re not affiliated, and then you can test each location and see what grows better where before you put anything permanent in…or, you can just keep the portable raised, self watering beds in. I also plan to do some edible landscaping with fruits, fruit tree’s, and decorative but edible greenery (lettuce, chard, carrots, kohlrabi, rhubarb, onions, kale, spinach, etc.) Hope that helps! I found your site because we are looking into purchasing an older farm house (our dream) and I was told you renovated yours affordably and to check your site out! Can’t wait to see what I can find (and pin! lol) 😀


  2. Jen


    Have you ever grow the pet TickleMe Plant that moves and closes its leaves when you Tickle it?
    See video http://www.ticklemeplant.com


  3. Andrew


    Option 2 – Why?
    Because that still leaves option 1 open to you if for whatever reason option 2 cannot or does not work and it looks like it needs a bit of a spruce up!
    The shade as you describe should not be too much of an issue.
    From an aesthetic point of view, the front view of your property will not be enhanced by adding a vegetable garden smack bang in the middle.

    Actually, you are very very fortunate to have this choice laid at your feet.

    Just my opinion…


  4. Mona


    I think you are making this much more difficult than it has to be. If you want the maximum output from your garden then regardless of what location it is or what view it might obstruct, you should place it in that location. I have both a container garden (on my front porch) and a traditional garden just to the side of the house, close to the driveway. Both obstruct views partially, but when I look out and see my vegetables growing, it is as beautiful a view as I can imagine.


  5. AshleyB


    Have you considered putting the garden to one side or the other of the front yard, rather than in the middle? And if you fence the garden in like you mentioned, you could take Nora inside the fence with you to eliminate the risk of the road. I live in a less-than-perfect neighborhood, and I’ve never had anyone come inside my fence. Wherever you choose, I wish you well! Gardening is so much fun, completely worth all the hard work that goes into it!


  6. Starla Kreider


    We have a small garden that is in the shade by 2:00 pm. Our things definitely don’t grow as well as if we had full sun. Someone did tell us that the morning sun is important for growing things well. So sun light is a sure thing to consider.

    The front year would work well, I’m sure. But it would be hard for me to give up that lovely space! In a few years little Nora and siblings =) will have a lovely time playing pitch n catch, throwing Frisbees, all kinds of running games etc.

    I’m sure you’ll make the decision that will work best for you.


  7. Heart and Haven


    I would also recommend the side of the driveway. Even with good planning, there are many times of the year that a garden doesn’t look “pretty” (ie. when just planting seed/starters, end of season when everything has been harvested, etc.) If there is good sun, access to water, and close proximity to house…I think the side of driveway sounds ideal. That way you can start off with a few raised beds and expand. Unless you really get more into gardening, canning, preserving….I would suggest only plant edible items in the front that serve double duty as being ornamental plants as well.

    This is my 4th year having a garden. I have two location: one at home (in our side yard, alongside the driveway…we have a postage-stamp sized yard, and this was the only location with enough sun), and a “remote garden” at my in-laws house in a raised 10×30 planter alongside their house. We also have fruit trees: 2 orange trees in backyard, pomegranate tree in our front/side yard. My in-laws have a fig tree, apple tree, nectarine and tangerine tree.


  8. DT


    Front yard. Border with flowers and you’ll have a showplace. Think roses climbng on a weathered Lincoln style fence. Sunflowers in the back. dahlias, cannas on the side. Or look toward perennials that don’t require replanting. I can see some small early flowering items in that border. forsythia, pussy willow, a little barberry for winter color and perhaps some pyracantha, and a circle of early blooming bulbs. Your yard is huge and it wouldn’t hurt to break it up with another feature.