Local Kubernetes

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


Docker for Desktop

Docker for 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 for Mac'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.kubectl config view --raw > $HOME/.kube/microk8s.config

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

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


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


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
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)