Every year, I try and test new plants in the garden. I push myself a little further, and make a few more investments to make both our landscape and our edible garden-scape more substantial, providing, and fulfilling.
I’ve learned a lot along the way, like, that maybe our small backyard isn’t suited for cucumbers because they can grow high out of my reach on fences and in trees (really, that happened, and what happened with the sprawling pumpkins was crazier). I also learned that even though it’s not the prettiest spot in the yard, the sunlight makes it’s mark on the southeastern corner more than any other, so best have all the veggies wedged in that space. Observing the sun patterns all times of year has helped me to figure out what plants will work where, and will continue to influence my yard’s green growth and evolution.
Last spring, I built and installed twin planter boxes inspired by a simple design that I saw built on DIY Network. I paused the show, snapped a photo of Jason Cameron doing his thing on Desperate Landscapes, and then set out to build my own.
Ours weren’t made from pressure treated wood because I knew I would be growing vegetables within and didn’t want any chemicals to get into the top toil in each planter, but they held up really well over the last year despite rain and snow. Keep on reading to see how to make your own this spring and help your raised garden bed grow right.
Our pair of raised 4′x4′ beds turned out really well. Situated in that mostly sunny south eastern corner of our property, I installed these last spring with the intention of planting flowers in the bed on the right, and tomatoes on the one on the left. Everything thrived.
My own plan started with a simple sketch (drawn on the iPad app Paper):
For construction, I chose to use 2×6 and 2×4 boards (we also considered 2×12 boards to avoid having to stack the lumber vertically, but the lumber investment would have been more). Buying 8-foot boards all around meant that I could cut them in half and have evenly sized 4′ squares (or two 16-square food gardens beds!). I cut notches in the boards halfway through each end so that they could stack together like puzzle pieces (both a circular saw and our multicutter came in handy for this). Once the boxes were a dry fit state, I was able to drill through each corner with a 1/2″ paddle bit, wide enough to accomodate an 18″ piece of rebar that would anchor the whole garden bed to the yard. As shown in the below pictures, I also found it helpful to use cinderblocks for assembly because I was working alone.
The rebar has held the corners tight and even over the last four seasons. There is no warping or separating to speak of. The edges are strong enough to walk along balance beam-style (albeit, they’re narrow) and the sides can be kicked at or nudged with the lawn mower without any issue. My dog liked to “help,” as seen scratching in the background with a smile on his face.
The finished pieces, as you’ve already seen, are solid and a great addition to our yard. I tilled the ground before laying the beds in place to loosen the soil, and once the beds were in place, I filled them with additional store-bought soil. And as soon as the weather in NY improves, I’ll be setting out to do the same thing this year.
Catching the home improvement bug at an early age, Emily Fazio is a now a devoted DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects she covers on her blog Merrypad range from painting a wall to building a deck, so it’s only natural she landed at DIYNetwork.com. You can follow Emily on twitter at @merrypad and like her on facebook at facebook.com/merrypad.