Backyard Garden Area
One of the hard parts about grieving baby Layne is that we are all of a sudden free from all of the ‘plans’ that we had this summer that would have come with having a newborn. Those empty spaces in our schedules now serve as reminders of our loss. I wanted some sort of summer project that would be therapeutic for me to work on (while keeping me busy.) Rob and I have wanted to have a garden for a long time, so we decided that this would be the summer for it!
When we built our house, there was about a third of the back yard that the builder didn’t lay sod. I’ve hated it from the day we moved in because our dogs loved it. (You’d hate wiping muddy paws that much too, I promise.) We tried putting seed down last spring, but it died soon after our lawn got treated for the start of summer. We tried putting down seed again this spring and, while it came in, it came in super patchy before I ended up going into the hospital with Layne. After coming home from the hospital, we decided that we wanted to work towards turning that back part of the yard into a huge garden area with raised beds, a weeping willow tree for Layne, and a sitting area. While we may not all get it completely done this summer, we’ve been super excited to get started.
Why raised beds vs. a regular garden?
We decided to do raised garden beds rather than a regular garden in the ground because of how much red clay there is in our yard. When the builder cleared the forest that was on our lot, he had to grade down far enough to remove all of the tree roots that had been there for years. When he did that, we were left with only dense clay and no nutrient top soil. Raised garden beds seemed to be the best option if we wanted to really have a great, healthy garden.
DIY Raised Garden Beds
I should probably preface this entire blog post by saying that we are not gardening professionals of any kind. I mean, we all remember my epic fail of my goal at becoming a plant lady last summer. My gardening experience is limited to the summers when I was really little living in Iowa and gardening with my Uncle. We’d grow vegetables and enter them into the fair. I do have a box of ribbons apparently still in the attic at my parents’ house. However, none of that gardening knowledge really followed me into adulthood. I guess you could say I was in it for the candy bars back then.
I feel kind of silly writing this “tutorial” because of how easy these raised garden beds were. But, I’ve had so many people comment wanting to know some specifics so they can try to build their own. So today on the blog I want to take the guess work out for you and show you how we did it. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll save you a trip (or five) to Home Depot. You’re welcome!
- (9) 1″ x 12″ x 6′ Pine Boards – makes 3 of the 3′ x 6′ raised garden beds
- Wood Stakes – at least 2 per raised garden bed (Rob ripped extra 2 x 4 ‘s through the table saw to make his own.)
- (24) L – Brackets – 8 per raised garden bed
- Landscape Fabric
- (18) Raised Garden Bed Soil – 5 or 6 bags per raised bed
- (5) Compost – about 1.5 bags per raised bed
We were able to construct our raised garden beds for about the cost of the soil and fabric because we had the wood leftover from a previous project in the fall and the L-brackets were already in Rob’s workshop. Not to mention, we were also fortunate enough to get some of our friend’s extra seedlings from their farm’s greenhouse. We decided to do three raised garden beds. We planted vegetables in the outside beds. Meanwhile, we planted flowers in the middle to attract bees and butterflies.
Raised Garden Bed Tutorial
We decided to make our raised garden beds 3′ W x 6′ L x 1′ H. As we were building them, we decided that 3′ by 6′ really was the perfect size for raised beds. While is doesn’t seem big, it allows you to easily lean in and work from either side. We screwed the boards together, and we attached 2 of the L – brackets on each of the corners. We place one about halfway up on the inside and another towards the bottom on the outside to keep the boards from being pushed outward at the corners by the pressure of the soil.
Meanwhile, we placed our raised garden beds about 4 ft apart from one another to have plenty of room to work and to place a walk way. Once they were each placed where we wanted them, we lined each bed with the weed fabric at the bottom. We bought the roll of weed fabric that was 3′ wide, so it fit perfectly. Rob then drove stakes into the ground and screwed the outside of the beds into each stake. (Easy peasy!)
After you get the raised beds constructed and line the bottom with weed fabric, you’re ready to fill them up with soil! After doing my Pinterest blog research prior to this project, I read that it was important to mix in compost with your raised garden soil. We did an 80 – 20 mix. 80% of the bed was filled with raised garden soil, and 20% was filled with compost. Each of our raised beds took about 6 bags of raised garden soil and 1.5 bags of compost.
We decided to construct three raised beds for now until we see how well everything goes this summer with them, but we are already wishing we would have done a couple more. Not only were they pretty easy to build, but everything we’ve planted in there thus far has done extremely well. It has only been a couple weeks, and we already have some baby veggies coming in!
Well, friends, I hope our raised garden beds (and this super easy tutorial) makes you just as excited as we are to get outside this summer and play in the dirt. I can’t wait to continue working on this area of our yard as we transform it into real #gardengoals status. Are you working on your garden this summer? Are you building raised beds? Let us know what you’re looking forward to growing in a comment below. Let’s be plant ladies together!