16+ Small Vegetable Garden Ideas for Apartments & Small Backyards

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.

Looking for small backyard vegetable garden ideas? These garden ideas for small spaces are sure to grow (pun intended!) your creativity.

There has never been a better time to invest in a small backyard vegetable garden!

I don’t know about you, but after seeing produce prices go wild in the last year, I am even MORE interested in growing my own vegetables in my backyard!

Picturing putting together a salad using vegetables from my own garden is a dream come true!  And the added bonus of seeing vegetables grow and thrive?! Even better!

These are the memories we deserve to be making, and the perfect backyard vegetable garden can make it happen!

We’ve rounded up the best backyard vegetable garden  inspiration no matter what your space (apartment, small backyard, side yard, concrete patio or deck, etc.)

Get inspired to make some special memories, and grow your self-sufficiency, in your own small backyard vegetable garden!

This post is all about small backyard vegetable garden ideas.

Small Vegetable Garden Ideas
Last (but never least), I had to share this small backyard garden idea that is giving me Secret Garden vibes!  Kudos to gardener @.melslittlegarden!! The use of space is genius here, and I recommend analyzing this image in smaller sections to get all the good tips and hints!

The use of an outdoor metal shelf really is genius!!

Photo credit: @.melslittlegarden

How to Choose the Right Type of Backyard Vegetable Garden Ideas for You

Before we get into the cute small backyard vegetable garden inspo pics, we’ll need to cover the different types of small vegetable gardens and which one may be best for your and your outdoor space.

Apartment Vegetable Garden Tips

If you’re looking for vegetable garden ideas for your apartment balcony or patio, I have tips for you!

Container gardens, self-watering planters, or window boxes can all be great options depending on your space! Another great tip for small areas is to add vertical space, with trellises for climbing plants, like cucumbers or sugar snap peas!

Overall, you just need to be mindful of how much SUN your apartment patio or balcony gets.  You may want to keep a sun journal to see how many hours of sun your space gets.  Depending on that amount, you can then decide on your vegetables (some veggie plants need full sun for at least 6 hours, and some prefer the shade.)

Best Finds for Small Vegetable Gardens in an Apartment

Small Vegetable Garden Ideas
  1. Large Terracotta Planter
  2. 20-Gallon Grow Bags (these are perfect small-space containers for tomatoes, etc.)
  3. Apartment Window Boxes
  4. Self-Watering Planter – Square Foot Garden on Wheels
  5. Raised Garden Bed Planter with Trellis (perfect for big tomato varieties!)
  6. Hydroponic Growing System – Vertical Tower
  7. Gardening Clippers
  8. Coast of Maine Organic Raised Bed Mix
  9. Coast of Maine Compost

Small Backyard Vegetable Garden Tips

Living in a metropolitan city (I’m in Boston, Massachusetts), I am OBSESSED with urban gardening or urban farming.  Having a small backyard doesn’t mean you can’t garden, but you do need to be strategic with your space.

Anyone in nearly any space can easily begin their vegetable gardening journey in containers. There are all types of containers for gardening: pots, self-watering planters, window boxes, all the way to bigger raised bed gardens. With a little creativity, nearly any vessel can grow vegetables. Learn more about how to DIY a container garden for any space.

However, If you’re lucky enough to have a yard that gets good sunlight, I would recommend adding raised bed gardens. 

Raised bed gardens are great for urban/suburban growers because they go on top of the soil in your yard, but are filled with healthy soil and compost (I recommend Coast of Maine Organic Raised Bed Mix and Coast of Maine Compost.) City soil may be pretty poor, if not contaminated with runoff from roads, lead, etc. Raised bed gardening in the city ensures the healthiest plants and builds your soil from the top-down!

Coast of Maine Quoddy Blend (1 cu ft) Organic and Natural Compost Blend with Lobster and Crab - Improves and Revitilizes Soil
Coast of Maine Castine Blend Organic and Natural Raised Bed Mix, 1 cu ft, RTU for Growing Vegetables, Herbs and Flowers

There are some raised beds that are completely off the ground, but we’re not talking about that here if you have some soil to work with! Placing your raised bed directly on top of the soil also allows worms and beneficial insects to make their way into your garden.

For people who are starting their FIRST EVER small backyard vegetable garden, (congrats!) I recommend that you be sure to find seeds that are made for your climate using a simple Google search. While the seed displays at big box home improvement stores are tempting, I’ve found better success in buying seeds that come from plants raised in my zone.

Don’t freak out or get overwhelmed!  You can find these seeds with a simple google search! For folks in my zone (Zone 6B), I highly recommend seeds from:

Best Finds for Small Backyard Vegetable Gardens 

Small Vegetable Garden Ideas
  1. Cedar Raised Bed Garden Kit 3’x6’x11″
  2. Square Cedar Raised Bed Garden Kit 4’x’4’x12”
  3. Vegetable Gardeners Toolkit (with garden apron!)
  4. Gardening Clippers
  5. Hori Hori Gardening Knife
  6. Knee Mat
  7. Tomato Cage (provides support for growing tomatoes)
  8. Garden Stakes (for “crawlers” like beans, some cucumber varieties, etc.)
  9. Coast of Maine Organic Compost (best store-bought compost)
  10. Coast of Maine Organic Raised Bed Mix (best raised bed soil mix)

In my experience, the Coast of Maine products are really excellent! I use those personally in my small vegetable garden.

Small Patio Vegetable Garden Tips (Decks, Patios, etc)!

If you have a small patio or deck, you may be very tempted to set up a garden – and for good reason!

If you’re in this kind of space, I think you could easily add in raised beds (or even large self-watering planters, depending on deck size), or go with containers (large pots).

Overall, I would encourage you to think VERTICALLY!  Trellises and arbors can really add so much ambience and fun to your outdoor space, and growing vertically can give you more produce.  I personally think that having your garden in your backyard living area is a great idea, as you can spot issues or more easily harvest things as you hang out in the space!

Best Finds for Small Vegetable Gardens on a Backyard Patio (or Deck!)

Alright, now that I’ve shared my tips and warnings based on your small backyard vegetable garden space, let’s get to the INSPO!

Vertical Gardening & Air Gardening for Small Backyard Vegetable Garden

I’ll admit it, I raised my eyebrows when I saw companies start offering air gardening tools and full on vertical gardens (that look like they were used on Star Trek)!

But a number of people are very successful with their hydroponic gardens, vertical gardens and air gardens!  I personally think that these gardens can be EXCELLENT for people in apartments!

Here, we have an inspiring photo from @.AireVePots, showing a vertical air garden in s a small space.

Small Vegetable Garden Ideas
Photo credit: @.AireVePots

Next, we have this vertical garden from @.seekthemeec on Instagram!  This bad boy looks like it would take up at least half of an apartment patio or balcony, but I think it would be worth it!

Small Vegetable Garden Ideas
Photo Credit: @.seekthemeec

Small Apartment Vegetable Garden Ideas

Window boxes can be super helpful when gardening in an apartment that’s above the ground floorl, provided they fit over your balcony railing!  Here, @.17m2garden from Lyon, France, shows us a beautiful apartment patio garden!

Small Vegetable Garden Ideas
How gorgeous is this apartment balcony garden? From @.17m2garden

Another idea for a small garden on an apartment balcony comes to us from @.fortheloveoffoliage!  You can see how they used an outdoor shelving unit, and what looks like a console table or entry table to tetris together this beautiful space!

Upcycling Materials for Small Backyard Vegetable Garden

As a self-proclaimed sustainability NERD, I love when I see people repurposing items for the garden!  AS a gardener, I really try to invest heavily in building up the soil nutrients (mulch, compost, etc.) and be a bit more cheap on other materials if possible, lol!

In this photo, our friends at @.beleeftuin took off the hinges off a sideboard and put planters inside! This is a great gardening idea to reuse found materials, and I love that you can put things on top.  This is a great idea for plants that need partial shade, or even could work for more windy areas.

Small Vegetable Garden Ideas
Love to see creative upcycling in a small backyard garden! Photo from @.beleeftuin

Similar to the previous idea, @.my_concrete_garden has come up with an ingenious repurposing for flower baskets, growing snow peas (that have trailing vines) from a pot up high, so the snow peas can “climb down”!  Love this genius hack!

Small Vegetable Garden Ideas
How genius is this idea?! Growing snow peas in a hanging pot usually used flowers. Credit: @.my_concrete_garden

I’ve seen a number of plant stands in my time, and I love this use of a ladder! I think this could be a great place to harden off your vegetables, keeping them close to the house or apartment while looking cute and intentional. 

Small Vegetable Garden Ideas
Love to see a gardener using vertical space! Photo from @.athome_with_polly

Concrete blocks can be VERY useful in a garden, from edging beds to acting as a stand for container pots to supporting shelving! Here, @.misshoneypie shows us a pretty cool and scrappy way to grow plants in a small space!

Small Vegetable Garden Ideas
Photo credit: @.misshoneypie

Terracotta Pots – Small Backyard Vegetable Garden Idea

Next, let’s talk about how INCREDIBLE terracotta pots are for small backyard gardens! I love using terracotta pots for not only their aesthetic, but also because terracotta is a porous material that lets plant roots breathe. If you’ve grown plants in other kinds of containers, then you have likely experienced the challenges of root rot and drainage.  Terracotta can really combat that!

Here Erica Holland shows us an adorable herb garden in her small space! So cute!

Small Vegetable Garden Ideas
Photo Credit: Erica Holland

While terracotta is gorgeous, I’m also a fan of the DIY “two bucket” self-watering container system I’ve seen on TikTok to raise vegetables! Here, @.learngrowedseries shows a genius self-watering method for their broccoli plants!

Small Vegetable Garden Ideas
Using paint buckets for a DIY self-watering planter. Photo credit: @.learngrowedseries

Small Backyard Vegetable Garden Ideas

If you’re looking for room to grow more vegetables, have you considered… the side of your house?  Here @.arcsodium shows us a BEAUTIFUL side garden with lots of options. I love their use of trellis fencing on the right hand side of the photo, as sugar snap peas, melons, and other plants can climb up it! Genius!

Small Vegetable Garden Ideas
Small vegetable garden idea for backyard from @.arcsodium

Another great small backyard vegetable garden idea is to use containers, like our friends at @.snazzygarden did here!  This is a really great option if you have kids that like to play in the yard, as you can move pots as needed!  This also makes it easier to move plants if they’re getting too much sun, etc.

If you rent and have a yard, this is also a nice idea, as you can take the pots easily with you when/if you move!

Small Vegetable Garden Ideas
Small backyard vegetable garden idea for renters from @.snazzygarden

I am such a fan of the look of galvanized steel beds, and these can be great for small spaces (and save your back). When getting a galvanized steel garden bed, make sure the steel has been treated for your garden. Just welding or riveting together metal does not a good garden bed make (we need to watch out for nasty chemicals)!

We loved this photo from @.thekiwihome in  Dallas, Texas, showing their broccoli THRIVING in a raised garden bed made out of galvanized steel.

Small Vegetable Garden Ideas
I love to see broccoli THRIVING! Photo credit: @.thekiwihome

I couldn’t show just ONE vertical garden in this post, as these can be incredible space savers (and look pretty cool).  Here, @.jfrezon shows a pretty futuristic strawberry tower!

Small Vegetable Garden Ideas
Photo credit: @.jrfrezon

Small Vegetable Garden – Backyard Patio or Deck

What to Read Next —>

Did you enjoy my roundup of different ideas and tips for small vegetable garden ideas?  I love that!

Below, I’ve shared a few other posts of mine that I think you’d find helpful!

Hi, I’m Leslie, the founder of PunkMed

Hello gardening friend! I’m so glad that you stopped by my blog today.  I had a blast sharing 16 small vegetable garden ideas with you, from gardeners around the world.  If you’re into vegetable gardening, urban homesteading, or living a more sustainable life–stick around! Be sure to join my email list, or come hang out on Instagram

Also, there are a good number of resources on my blog, and I always love to hear from my readers (that’s you!) Feel free to send your gardening questions via email or my contact form, I’m always happy to help new and experienced vegetable gardeners!

Subscribe to get notified of the latest PunkMed updates.

I created PunkMed to write about my passions—health, sustainability, and the outdoors.


Up Next


Other Articles