The alternative to traditional vegetable beds are usually said to be raised beds. They are a little higher up off the ground to make weeding, planting and then harvesting a bit easier. However practical they are, they are not the most exciting design feature though. I love the idea of using old wheelbarrows for planting lettuce and herbs, if it is semi-functional you can even move it round the garden or nearer the kitchen as you please! It keeps the plants that bit further away from the slugs and either situating it on gravel itself, as seen in the photo, or putting copper tape round the top can keep your plants well protected ensuring you are the only one who enjoys the fruits (and lettuces!) of your labour.
This can of course be done with flowering plants too and moved around the garden – especially useful if you plant half-hardy or tender perennials and then you can simply wheel it into the greenhouse/garage to over-winter.