Building Our New Garden, Part II

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We left off in last week’s post at 5 yards of soil being dumped in our yard. The next step was to level and fill the beds. I don’t recommend installing your beds right on grass. It will be an absolute pain to mow and the grass sometimes moves into the space between the bed and the soil in the bed. Then you’ll never get rid of it.

Our space was mostly bare soil left after the shrubs were removed, so we were able to install right onto a clean slate. Where there was a bit of grass we dug it out only at the spot where the beds touch the ground. The areas in and around the beds got a layer of cardboard to smother the grass. It will break down throughout the season.

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Leveling and filling the beds with soil.

Since I install gardens professionally I’m a bit particular that the raised beds are all level and in line with one another. I use a level and my eye to make sure everything looks good. (A new neighbor who is an engineer stopped by and complemented my exactness!)

Last fall before we put our house up for sale we divided some of our favorite perennials to take with us. We planted them in our community garden plot for the winter. They came up beautifully this spring and were taking up space where we needed to plant the tomatoes. We dug them all out and brought them over to our new house. Instant garden! We laid out a quick design and planted them all in the mound. We’ll likely move them around later as we expand the yard design.


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Mark creating the mound.

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Instant perennial garden!

We have a lot of grass in our new yard and we don’t particularly like mowing. So Operation Shrink the Grass is officially underway. I decided to connect the vegetable garden to the existing pine tree in the front yard. I simply covered the grass with cardboard and a thick layer of woodchips. The grass will be smothered under all that mass. Much easier than sod stripping!

Front yard garden design

Front yard vegetable garden design

Ahhh! Nice and neat looking and less space to mow.

I planted the four raised beds with peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, basil, kale, celery, leeks, beets, carrots and some of my favorite annuals. There is actually one more bed to add to that area, so I haven’t mulched it completely to leave room for the additional bed.

We still have a pile of soil left, so the next phase will be to design additional garden space closer to the house that is less linear than the raised beds. I’m thinking a circular or curving design.

Here’s the recap…from this:

Front yard vegetable garden before

To this! Pretty good for a few days worth of work, I’d say!

Front yard raised bed garden

You can read about the exciting next phase of the garden construction here.



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