Local Kubernetes

Garden works great with local Kubernetes "clusters". Below you'll find requirements, installation and usage instructions for some common flavors of local Kubernetes setups, such as Minikube, Docker for Desktop and MicroK8s.


Garden is committed to supporting the latest six stable versions of Kubernetes (i.e. if the latest stable version is v1.17.x, Garden supports v1.12.x and newer).

The officially supported variants of local Kubernetes are the latest stable versions of

Other distributions may also work, but are not routinely tested or explicitly supported. Please don't hesitate to file issues, PRs or requests for your distribution of choice!

For any variant that runs in a VM on your machine (such as Docker Desktop and Minikube), we recommend tuning the size of the VM (in terms of CPU and RAM) to your needs, which will vary by the weight of the project(s) you're running.


Docker Desktop

Docker Desktop is our recommended option for local Kubernetes on Mac and Windows.

Please refer to their installation guide for how to download and install it (which is a pretty simple process).

Note: If you have an older version installed, you may need to update it in order to enable Kubernetes support.

Once installed, open Docker Desktop's preferences, go to the Kubernetes section, tick Enable Kubernetes and save.


Garden can be used with MicroK8s on supported Linux platforms.

To install it, please follow their instructions.

Once installed, you need to add the microk8s configuration to your ~/.kube/config so that Garden knows how to access your cluster. We recommend exporting the config like this:

microk8s config > $HOME/.kube/microk8s.config

And then adding this to your .bashrc/.zshrc:

export KUBECONFIG=$HOME/.kube/microk8s.config:${KUBECONFIG:-$HOME/.kube/config}

You also need to ensure microk8s commands can be run by the user that's running Garden, so that Garden can get its status and enable required extensions if necessary. To do this, add your user to the microk8s group:

sudo usermod -a -G microk8s $USER # or replace $USER with the desired user, if it's not the current user

Note that in-cluster building is currently not supported with microk8s clusters.


For Minikube installation instructions, please see the official guide.

You may also want to install a driver to run the Minikube VM. Please follow the instructions here and note the name of the driver you use. The driver you choose will likely vary depending on your OS/platform. We recommend hyperkit for macOS and kvm2 on most Linux distributions.

Once Minikube and the appropriate driver for your OS are installed, you can start Minikube by running:

minikube start --vm-driver=<your vm driver> # e.g. hyperkit on macOS


For kind installation instructions, see the official docs.

To use kind with Garden you may need to start your cluster with extra port mappings to allow ingress controllers to run (see their docs for more info):

cat <<EOF | kind create cluster --config=-
kind: Cluster
apiVersion: kind.x-k8s.io/v1alpha4
- role: control-plane
- |
kind: InitConfiguration
node-labels: "ingress-ready=true"
authorization-mode: "AlwaysAllow"
- containerPort: 80
hostPort: 80
protocol: TCP
- containerPort: 443
hostPort: 443
protocol: TCP

Alternatively, if you don't need an ingress controller, you can set setupIngressController: null in your local-kubernetes provider configuration and start the cluster without the above customization.

Note that in-cluster building is currently not supported with kind clusters.


The local-kubernetes plugin attempts to automatically detect which flavor of local Kubernetes is installed, and set the appropriate context for connecting to the local Kubernetes instance. In most cases you should not have to update your garden.yml, since it uses the local-kubernetes plugin by default, but you can configure it explicitly in your project-levelgarden.yml as follows:

kind: Project
- name: local
- name: local-kubernetes
environments: [local]
context: minikube

If you happen to have installed both Minikube and a version of Docker for Mac with Kubernetes support enabled, garden will choose whichever one is configured as the current context in your kubectl configuration. If neither is set as the current context, the first available context is used.

(If you're not yet familiar with Garden configuration files, see: Configuration files)