Many good reasons exist to grow a vegetable garden--but few for making it boring. For some, the traditional straight rows are satisfying, but if you want to take things an extra step and get creative, plant in spirals, circles, triangles or any other shape that takes your fancy. It's your personal creation, a place for fun and play as well as pulling weeds and digging.
Playing with Shapes
"Doodle" and experiment with lines by hoeing a furrow or taking a garden hose and using it as your edge. For straight lines, use stakes and twine. Everything is temporary at this stage, so allow your imagination to roam.
When you have a pattern you're sure you want, decide which lines will be paths and which will be marked with stones or small shrubs. If your garden is very large, you can plant dwarf blueberries (or lavender, lingonberries or whatever you like) to mark the boundary between one area and another.
Playing with Color
Look for vegetables with colorful leaves, like red leaf lettuce, or stems, like swiss chard variety 'Bright Lights.' There are snap beans with purple pods and basil with purple leaves. Don't restrict yourself to vegetables, either. The gold and yellow flowers of calendula look lovely next to red fruited tomatoes, as do sunflowers. Edible-flowered nasturtiums can spill over the ground beneath broccoli. Again, use your imagination.
Using a Theme
Perhaps one bed could have all the ingredients for pizza: tomatoes, peppers, oregano and basil. Perhaps another could be a soup bed, with beans for drying, cabbages, carrots and broccoli. Salad beds are easily put together using three or four kinds of lettuce, parsley, green onions and any other kind of green you enjoy.
Mixing Your Veggies
Traditionally, each type of vegetable has its own space, but shade-tolerant lettuce grows well at the base of peas and beans and quick-sprouting radishes mix well with carrots, being harvested before the carrots grow large enough to compete for space. Use parsley in the shade of the tomatoes. The combinations are endless.
Art in the Garden
A few pints of paint will turn an old chair into a garden ornament, or a fence into a mural. A bronze rabbit among the lettuce could be a constant amusement and signs with favorite quotes could decorate the edges of a patch of potatoes. Or make a formal fountain the centerpiece of your garden.