The first garden beds are in



We’re making progress on Operation Backyard.

Just to remind us … here was our plan.


First, put in a fence to block off the alley from the pooch. We love her but know that she won’t be able to resist digging in all that fresh smelly dirt.


Check. The fence is in.


Next build the garden beds along the fence.


First we rototilled the heck out of the lawn. It was my job to rake and excavate. Bo-ring!

Next we laid out and leveled the beds. (I have decided that levels are a huge pain-in-the-arse.) Here we’ve got the beds quickly tacked together after having assembled them, decided they weren’t leveled respective to the fence, disassembled ’em, excavated some more, and then reassembled all over again. By this time I drank 49 diet root beers and cursed Jack in 3 languages.

These beds total 43’x3′. (That’s a lot of bedding to assemble, disassemble and reassemble. Not complaining, just sayin’.) The inside bed is 12-inches tall wrapped by a bed that is 6-inches tall. We decided to use untreated rough cut redwood. It happens to match all the new fencing that we’ve put around the property as well.


The taller bed is supported by 4″x4″ posts buried 18″ into the ground. (I did not have to dig these holes. Thank you, Lord!)


Everything is screwed together and every joint is bracketed with galvanized corner thingamabobs. These beds aren’t moving.

The beds were then lined with weed cloth and then filled with a terrific composted garden bed soil from one of our local landscaping companies. We ended up using 3 yards of dirt.


Finally, our finished beds with a couple of herbs transplanted from the other side of our house. The seeds and other starters will go in this week.

We’re pretty happy with the tiered bed design and how it turned out. Jack designed it so that there was practically zero lumber waste and along with some other economies we were able to get it done within budget. The only thing we would have done differently was to have stained the wood with a nice honey transparent deck stain to give it some finish and increase longevity. But that was an issue of aesthetics and didn’t fit our budget so unfortunately we crossed that off our list in favor of building tomato and strawberry boxes to line our driveway. Other than that, it’s exactly what we wanted.

Whew! 43-feet of bedding. That’ll keep me busy for the next few months.

Next up: the driveway tomato and strawberry boxes. Then the left side of the alley—Jack’s fern/hosta garden bonanza.


46 responses »

  1. Wow….these gardens are stunning. I can’t wait to see pictures as the plants grow. Joe built mine out of whatever was in the garage…no leveling or finesse was used what so ever. I can’t complaint, I didn’t provide anything other than the idea…..and the warm, cherry tomatoes come August are divine.

  2. Wow! That is really beautiful. I like the idea of gardening, then I see a creepy crawling or flying critter, and then not so much.

    But this summer, I’m determined to support my local farmers more and actually go to the farmers markets, “pick your own” farms and buy more locally grown stuff in my grocery store. I’m much better at the cooking than the growing.

  3. Nice job on the raised beds and fence guys! I am working on a similar project that I started for a client yesterday. A raised planter box made with timbers in a very small cramped space.
    It was 50 degrees, dry and sunshine yesterday. Today we’re down to 32 degrees and looking at 5-7 inches of snow!

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  6. This may sound silly but the beds, there just frames with no bottom? Then covered with cloth and soil on top? It looks so nice and I really want to start my own.

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  13. I was trying to find a photo of a strawberry bed and found this. I’d like to make a shorter one, but I am curious what you planted next to one another. I’m very new at this.

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  26. Do you happen to have a list of supplies needed? I’d love to tackle this! Have absolutely no experience working with any tools … 😁

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