Followers / Seguidores

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Raised Gardens Complete Post!

This is an overall post on the various raised garden beds we constructed, how we made them, materials used, etcetera, etcetera. Despite the heat with some days being over 100 F 80-100% humidity and even higher heat indexes, we were able to hold our heads high and proclaim,


If you would like to tackle and construct your own, hopefully my post(s) on raised garden beds will help you out and be a guide. There is a lot on information on the Internet in regards to making raised gardens and I certainly had to refer to it since I had never done this before. Pinterest is loaded with all sorts of links about raised gardens. 


**Here is a good place to start looking on Pinterest: 

**My previous progress blog posts I made on June 5, 7, 9, 15 and 7, 2014 are linked here:


Raised garden beds have always appealed to me as they tend to be neat and attractive and different from the traditional "in-ground" garden. Besides, if you have clay underground as we have, gardening can be a challenge. These raised beds give the plants a better chance at growing and growing well in much better dirt because of the vertical aspect.

So, let's get started!


Wednesday, June 4th, 2014:
Preliminary "preparing the area" work!

The small area that I planned on using as the spot for the raised garden beds was formerly a pond area. After we bought the property, I didn't like maintaining this and I would always find poor little baby birds which had fallen from their nests in the small trees and shrubs above the pond, meet a watery death as they had drowned in the pond below. I felt so bad about this!

Add to this conundrum was the fact that there was a fountain for this pond. The underwater pump would always be clogged with leaves and such. The pond by itself probably would have been fine without all the small trees and shrubs planted around it. It just didn't work well. I don't know what the former owners were thinking when they installed this!

My oldest son, John is pictured cutting the grass and the future garden area is in the right side of the picture. The pond and pond works and most of the large flat sandstones are already pulled up and are elsewhere. I have plans for those large sandstones as pathways. This is what it has looked like for a while now; one of the ugly parts of the yard which needs improvement.

My youngest son, Patrick is here helping me to clear the area and my hubby, John and myself went to the store for a few supplies. We are probably going to get a load of dirt brought in soon.

So, that area has been cleared of the pond works, small trees, shrubs and large decorative pieces of rock and such several years ago. We have tried to grow several things there such as watermelons and blueberry bushes, but only one blueberry bush survived. It is still planted in this area and had blueberries a few days ago. We tried to grow another persimmon tree but it died there too; too much underground clay is the reason, I guess (rolls eyes).

Patrick also cleared out the stubborn stump which was on one side in the former pond works area and removed the rest of the dead weeds. So, me with my digging fork and Patrick, with the shovel, had loosened up the soil a few inches down. The digging fork is great and to me, better than a shovel for something like this. It is basically a big shovel, except this has four huge tines (not a pitchfork...that is for hay).

And, there was that awful black fabric which needed to be pulled up and which is supposed to prevent weeds from growing.....yeah right! Give me a break! 

We put some weed killer down to get rid of a lot of unwanted vegetation and still have to work on that small tree which keeps growing back.

We decided to recycle some lumber for this project instead of buying new wood. My youngest son had built a skateboard half-pipe a few years ago and it was starting to fall into a state of disrepair with some rotting boards.

I finished taking apart the rest of the boards you see here after work this afternoon.

All done!!

The wood is stacked up for the next couple of gardens, plus the wood which I have leaning against the shed. Next step is to measure, mark, cut and put these together.

He has been wanting to take the half-pipe apart and toss it but we got the idea to use the lumber from this for these garden beds. We removed the screws from the half-pipe and we are re-using these as well. So far, the only cost is for the load of garden soil which we will have delivered from a local nursery.

Oh, and that cordless power drill is a God-send! I love those rechargeable power tools with the separate detachable battery packs!


Friday, June 6, 2014:
Raised Garden #1:

Today, Patrick and I rolled up our sleeves, measured, marked, measured again (remember the "measure twice, cut once" rule). We prepared lumber for one 4' x 4' garden using an 8-foot 4" x 4" length for the posts as part of the inside of one the gardens at the corners, and six 8-foot 2" x 6" lengths for the wood around the sides.

**Note:  I have a complete materials list at the bottom of this page.**

The 4" x 4" post measured 8 feet and we cut it into four 24-inch (60.96 cm) lengths. 

The 2" x 6" lengths measured 8 feet and were cut in half to measure 4 feet each (121.92 cm).

We stacked these narrow end to narrow end, 3 high to form the sides of the garden. 

Because our posts are 24 inches, we can add another board length around to make the garden a little taller if we want later but right now, 3 of the smaller boards together on the sides of the garden came out to about 16 inches / 40.64 centimeters.

We hustled and got one garden completed. I think this will look a lot better and it dresses up that corner of the yard. We intend to line the insides of the "sides" of the garden with some plastic to stave off wood rotting from the garden (see note about the sides liner below).

And we are going to place newspapers (about 5 layers) on the bottom of the garden to prevent unwanted grass growth, weeds, etcetera. I never want to use that horrible black plastic-like fabric again! Yuck!

You can see the one lone surviving blueberry bush in the front of the photo below and the persistent annoying small tree which keeps wanting to sprout up.

My goal right now is to make at least two more of these 4' x 4' gardens and expand from there.


Saturday, June 7, 2014
Raised Garden #2 with Shelf!:

We got another raised garden finished today and the remainder of the wood cut up for another complete 4 x 4 raised garden.

We only need to put together the third garden without having to cut more lumber. I made up my mind that I also wanted to get all of that reused lumber measured and cut do we wouldn't have to deal with the circular saw, saw horses, tape measure, pen and straight edge again.

I also have everything cut for a fourth garden but I need to get another 8-foot piece of 4" X 4" lumber to be able to cut in 24" lengths, which will become two of the inside posts.

It was so hot out there that we were glad to be finished. We did all of this under our carport in the shade. That first garden we constructed was done in the sun last week. I thought we were going to bake or cook! Today it was about 95 degrees Fahrenheit with 70% humidity and it was still extremely hot! 

This second garden built today has a shelf built on the top of one side for other items such as digging tools, potted plants, etcetera.

  My two guys, John and Patrick, had this great idea of building a shelf onto one of these gardens so that tools, plants, etc could be placed on this as the gardens were tended.  It is terrific and is a nice compliment to the garden(s).

Pretty neat, huh? I do like this idea but I think we are going to stick with just one of them out of the three having this shelf for now.

In hindsight, I wish we had built shelves on a couple more of these smaller gardens.

This is my idea which is subject to change. After we get our load of dirt tomorrow, I intend to have these two gardens leveled and then we will fill them and plant. I already have my plants ready to transplant too.

I know exactly where to place the third garden after it is built.

As for the other three, they may end up being placed more in an oval shape rather than a circular shape...who knows? We are designing as we build! :)


Monday, June 9, 2014
Raised garden #3 completed!:

Patrick and I finished the third garden this afternoon. Construction went fairly quickly since we pre-cut the wood for this one last Saturday. 

The dirt is to be delivered tomorrow sometime. We just have to line the inside walls with plastic and the bottom of the beds with newspaper. 

Goal #1 is accomplished with the making of these three. I want to do more but I don't want to do this in the hot humid heat again. We'll wait till its cooler!


Saturday, June 14, 2014
Gardens #1, 2 and 3 filled and planted!

I am happy to say that the third raised garden bed is completed and all three of them are now filled with the load of top soil we had brought in. We have the lumber cut and ready to assemble for a 4th garden but we need just one more 8-foot length of 4" x 4" wood for a post. 

The dogs have certainly been confused as to what was going on but they are adapting like they always do. 

Here's a little something funny. I spotted a persimmon which had fallen off the tree (far from being full grown and ripe). It looked like it had a set of ears. 

We named this the Mike Wizowski persimmon from Monsters, Inc. The part where the stem was attached is Mike's single eye. Of course, the "ears" make it look like a Mike Wizowski Pikachu! LOL! 

All three gardens are constructed and all the dirt has been carted to the backyard and sits by the gardens in a pile. Now, it is time to fill these! 

We ordered 3 cubic yards and this was plenty of dirt to fill three 4' x 4' x 16" gardens. When we were shoveling the dirt into the first garden, we were a little concerned if we would have enough to fill all three. The calculations worked out that we would have enough, but how do you measure how much they are dropping off if it is in the back of a small dump truck? You just have to trust them to deliver the correct amount ordered. This local nursery has a very good reputation and I didn't doubt them too much.

Sidenote: had I known beforehand that the driver's/nursery's policy was to not drive off the street, I would have brought my own truck, filled the back, driven into the backyard and we would have just filled the gardens directly. This was hard, HARD work manually filling wheel barrow after wheel barrow, carting it off, dumping it next to the gardens, etcetera. This was the hardest part of the project! Anyway, we started hauling our own dirt after that (see below). 

But it turns out that we had plenty with a good bit to spare....possibly getting another 4' x 4' x 16" garden filled from this load. 

See the newspapers on the bottom? We placed anywhere from 5 to 7 layers to stave off the intrusion of weeds and newspaper has another benefit. It will decay after a few months and make the dirt richer. 

Can't get that from that awful black plastic fabric cloth! 

Needless to say, I haven't done a lot of shoveling like I used to and I had a few blisters develop on my hands. But, oh well....that comes from not taking the precaution of wearing gloves. I just kept working through the blistering and they were pretty much healed 2 or 3 days later. "Just shake it off; you'll grow another one!" is what I kept saying. And needless to say, my arms are a bit sore! 

Just taking a much-needed breather here! 

Started planting some bedding vegetable plants Saturday and Sunday (yesterday and today). We have eggplant, tomatoes, celery, yellow squash and zucchini squash. I want to construct another garden and plant the cantalope bedding plants. 

A fifth garden for green bean vines would be great! I can fashion some teepee-like structures for climbing. 

As physically demanding as this outdoor project was in the heat, it is a very good feeling to get this very involved physical project finished. My initial goal was to make three of these gardens but I would like to eventually have six built. 

A lot of credit goes to my youngest son Patrick, who helped me out with this project. He was home too, so I put him to work. 

Oldest son, Johnny was fighting a pretty bad staff infection so I could not have him help-he needed to heal. 

My husband was working full days but helped out when he could.

So, that 3 cubic yard pile was dumped in the neutral ground by the street. Patrick and I got out there and after many, many wheel barrow loads later, we had the entire pile in the backyard next to the gardens. I wanted to get it moved as quickly as possible since I didn't want my expensive dirt to start disappearing or washing away with the heavy rains which we were having. In fact, right after the load was delivered Tuesday, it immediately started pouring and we accumulated about 4 inches of rain that day! But the rains didn't wash it away, thank goodness! 

After bringing it into the backyard, it would have been ideal to just dump the dirt from the wheel barrow and into the garden. But the garden walls were just too high for this. So, we dumped it onto the ground and after the entire 3 cubic yard pile was in the back, we then shoveled it into the gardens. So, we actually shoveled that whole pile twice! 

I did research on the internet as to whether or not to line the insides on the garden walls (not the bottom), with a plastic liner to stave off wood rotting from the soil. But the more I researched the pros and cons of this, I decided against the liner since it promoted wood rot faster by trapping water between the liner and the wood. So, scratch the liner and eliminate another step....Yeah! 


Sunday, June 15, 2014
Rubber Barrier removed; Bedding Plants!

We hit the store again and as usual, I could not help myself when it came to the bedding plants of herbs and vegetables. I even found chocolate mint and stevia plants! I had been looking for Chocolate mint and was glad I found some yesterday. And it does indeed have a little "chocolately" mint smell! Love it! 

I already had rooted a mint sprig from my ice tea from IHOP last year and had that plant established, but I have no idea what variety of mint it is. I also bought recently at Walmart, some bedding plants for Peppermint, Spearmint and Sweet mint. 

I am going to pull up that rather annoying rubberized barrier. I started to dig it out yesterday as you can see in the picture. 

And since we had quite a bit of dirt left from the initial 3 Cubic Yard load, we decided on a 4th 4' x 4' garden. We had to accomodate the dirt now! LOL

Going back a little: 

My oldest son, John busy cutting the grass in May of this year. This is what the garden area looked like before. 

See that area on the right? 

Much, much better! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Garden #4 built! Selfie time!

Hard to decide which "selfie" picture is better.....the one I snapped or the one Patrick snapped.

I like the "selfie" photograph which Patrick snapped better.

Yipee! Another garden constructed today! We put together the 4th raised garden bed. All we had to do was put it together as we had already cut up the wood for it.

Garden #4 is the one on the right with the darker dirt. I guess it is darker since the dirt was moved recently when we shoveled it in.

Green beans will be planted in this garden #4!

It was so hot that shortly after 1 pm we started feeling sick from the heat and we went inside for one of our numerous breaks. Then we had some nice size black thunder head clouds move in and since that kicked up the breeze and made shade, we went back outside and shoveled in the dirt. 

We just have a small pile left now. So, the 3 cubic yard load of dirt is plenty enough to fill four 4' x 4' x 16.5" gardens. We do need more dirt for the 5th and 6th gardens I want to put in. I need a garden for my cantaloupes now! LOL


Saturday, July 12, 2014
Raised Gardens Are Completed! Yipee!

Gardens #1 and 3 sit finished and awaiting leveling, newspapers, dirt and plantings.

Patrick is rather proud of these gardens and he is quite good at constructing things out of lumber. He is standing behind Garden #3.

My sons taking a needed break, Patrick (left), Johnny (right). They have been a big help.

We had a can of white enamel spray paint which would not wash off with the heavy rains we have been getting. Patrick came up with the idea of marking the ground so we could determine our spacing with the three largest 4' x 8' gardens. We decided that we wanted the gardens 61.0" from the brick garden next to the house and 30" would suffice between these gardens. That gives plenty of room for walking between them. Plans are to lay down some stones or something between the gardens, but not grass.

Here, I am standing inside the 42" x 42" garden for a bit of size perspective.

4' x 8' Gardens #1 and #3 are built.

This is what we have named, "The Curl." It is an area consisting of six smaller raised gardens forming a partial circle and with two smaller gardens on the tail for a tapered look (at right). Starting from the left are four 4' x 4' gardens, one 42" x 42" garden and lastly, one 30" x 30" garden. Notice how the 42" x 42" and the 30" x 30" gardens are not level? They will be the last gardens to plant but unleveled, it does not look too good. 

Patrick is giving the new transplants a drink shortly after planting. We have our goal of three 4' x 8' gardens constructed.

Garden #1 (herbs only): Planted are Greek Basil (bottom left), Spicy Globe Basil (bottom right), Purple Basil (right, second from front), Lemon Thyme (second from back, right), Pineapple Sage (back right) and Stevia (back left).

Garden #2: Cantaloupes are planted at the bottom left and right, mirliton (chayote squash) is middle left and that is a "volunteered" watermelon plant which sprouted in a pot on the patio after some seeds were dumped into it.

Level, level, LEVEL those gardens!

 This can make or break the professionalism look. The level needs to be viewed and placed on all four sides of the gardens.  Sometimes only a single corner needs to be leveled; sometimes an entire side.

An unleveled garden will result in water runoff and after all, who wants to spend all the time and effort building these and have them turn out looking like "loving hands at home."  The level is sitting on the 30" x 30" (pictured below).

Patrick and I are building a 42" x 42" garden in this photo.

Patrick (left) and Johnny (right), are putting together a 30" by 30" garden. We later changed out those 4" x 4" posts as they were just too big and out of proportion with the size of the garden.

I came up with a way to use old chopsticks or popsicle sticks. Make plant markers out of them!

Oh, and I would love the "bird" (satellite) to pass over and re-take this photo from space. It would then show the new gardens in place and we would be able to have an overhead view of "the curl" and determine if our circle is fairly circular. You can see where the light green wooden halfpipe is in this photo.  This is what we cannibalized the wood from, for the gardens. 


Sunday, July 13, 2014
Raised Gardens Are Completed! Yipee!


**Materials List:

4' x 4' raised garden:

Four 20-inch or 24-inch sections of lumber.  This can be 4" x 4" or 2" x 4" pieces to be used as corner supports,
Six 2" x 6" 8-foot lengths cut in half to equal 4-foot lengths 
(3 boards per side of garden),
(48)  3-inch or 4-inch phillips head wood screws.
Cordless drill (two battery packs come in real handy-have one charging while using the other)

4' x 8' raised garden:

Four 20-inch or 24-inch sections of lumber.  This can be 4" x 4" or 2" x 4" pieces to be used as corner supports,
Six 2" x 8" 8-foot lengths; two of which will be cut in half for the short side ends of the garden (2 boards per side of garden),
(24)  3-inch or 4-inch phillips head wood screws.
Cordless drill (two battery packs come in real handy-have one charging while using the other)


  1. Olá Lee Ann
    Um jardim muito bem organizado. Agora faltam as fotos coma as plantas a florir.
    Agradeço a sua visita e um bom verão.

    1. Obrigado, Nélia e obrigado por visitar! :). :)

  2. Great, wonderful job!!!
    Nice posting!!

  3. Olá Lee Ann...

    Acompanhei esse trabalho de vocês
    desde o início.
    Ficou muito lindo, parabéns!
    Espero ver as plantas florescendo...

    Obrigada pela visita e comentário no blog!



Please leave a comment; I'd love to hear from you! :)