Sunday, April 3, 2011

tiered garden, part 1

we're hosting a couples' wedding shower in our backyard next month, so we're on a mission to get it in shape to show off. this is part one of the first project - the tiered veggie garden.

the concept of square foot gardening caught my attention a while back, mostly because i'm not sure we'd actually eat a year's worth of crops. ever. basically, the square foot gardening (sfg) concept, developed by Mel Bartholomew, maximizes crop output while minimizing space/materials/effort. it's efficiency at its best, and i love me some efficiency! so we've been talking about building some raised garden beds to try our hand at growing some veggies this summer. it finally struck me that we had a perfect spot!

just off the patio stairs, there's a little alcove that gets full sun. it'd be great to build the beds at waist level or higher, so i wouldn't have to bend over to care for the crops. so, i sketched out some plans and came up with this:
[side view of planters with bench in front]

[front view of bench + planter tiers]

cricket approved and we got to work. the alcove was perfectly 8' wide, so it made for some easy assembly using 8' lumber. we adjusted some of the dimensions as we went. instead of 1x12s, we used 1x8s for the front. and the bench height would be 18" we adjusted the box heights a little to look better with against the side stairs. we used treated lumber to keep it rot-free. now i know what you're thinking--treated lumber for a garden? well, i did some research, which led me all sorts of places, but particularly here:

i still wasn't 100% convinced my tomatoes wouldn't be lethal, and paying 3x for cedar was out of the question. so we decided we'd line the beds with plastic to minimize any soil contact with the lumber and hope for the best. if i grow an 11th toe, we'll all know why.

first, we got to work digging out the grass in the area...

then, we set the posts for the rear box + made sure they were level heights...
 ...and the front box...

...and framed in the bottom...

once the frame was in, we added a center post for the front + rear boxes. we added landscaping fabric underneath the boxes to make sure weeds wouldn't grow through the garden.

then we built up the facade, starting at the top + screwing into place one board at a time...

[view of the interior boxes. note that the rear box does not extend to the ground.]
this part of the project took about 2 hours + went pretty quickly once we got the frame built. next up, the bottoms of the boxes...

the lumber + screws = $158 [we had an extra post + 1x8]


  1. Awesome! I love raised beds and this going to look great while also being useful...can't wait to see how it progresses.

  2. What an awesome idea. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

  3. You know what you need to do? You need to stain that deck and stain the Planters. Or....what I think would look amazing is if you stained the deck, and then paint the planters some type of fun color like a bright blue or red. A cool color could really make it "jump"!

  4. thanks all! we're planning to add the bench, then some colorful cushions (orange, blue, turquoise maybe?...definitely NOT in a Gators way though) to add some pop. stay tuned for more developments, not to mention adventures in sewing.

  5. What a great idea - looks great and fits so well with your footprint. Major kudos. You're again making me feel highly unproductive.