Saturday, October 9, 2010


The best thing to do for a daunting task - like putting in the eight garden beds and filling them up - is to just start. I was dithering for way too long trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the materials that I could find. So I started. I went over to Friend's Lumber. They had told me on the phone that they stocked and sold 2x6s in cedar for $1 a linear foot. Well they lied. They stocked decking which isn't a dimensional "2" ie 1 1/2", it is thinner, I think by about 3/8" or so. I really wanted thicker so there was less chance of warping.

So back to Home Depot. I had them cut their 2x6x8's in half so I wouldn't have to. That made me happy. They didn't have 16' lengths, but I wanted a board in the middle anyway to keep the boards parallel. And I could fit the 8' length in my car so I wouldn't have to wait for delivery. I got enough lumber for three beds and all of the shorter lengths so I wouldn't have to wait for cutting again.

I thought I had gotten enough hardware to put them all together. I like to use corner brackets. Two in each corner, top and bottom. This means eight screws for each corner, but I only counted four when I was doing the calculation in my head. Whoops. So instead of making three. I made one and a half.

I'm working right by the hardware store this morning, so hopefully they will have another large container of them so I can finish it off. When I put them out I was a bit miffed at my landscape designer, whose job it was to get all the dimensions right. I told her this bed needed to be 17' wide, no shorter. Well it is only about 16' 5' long. I told her it was an important dimension to me and I knew it put the path a bit close to the chimney, but I didn't care. She comes and lays it all out for the landscapers so things go in the right place. So I'm short by 7" which means I can't walk around the back of the bed, which will be a pain in the ass. I really wanted my beds to be prefect. Nice and long, but easy to walk around. Sigh. And this means the beds on that edge are more shaded. The foot along the edge really helps bring the bed out of the shade.

My husband told me that I could shorten the beds. Ack! And take away the length so I can't plant eight tomatoes along the bed? I don't think so. I want my 16'. It is more important than walking around that section, but I'm going to miss doing it. If I don't have a trellis right at the end I might just be able to scoot by. Maybe. If I lose a few pounds.


  1. I love these beds and the whole garden is going to be superb with the hardscaping you have. Love the driveable grass area. That is thinking!

  2. I can totally sympathize with you about that extra 6 inches, because every inch counts when you're trying to maximize a limited garden area with pre-determined raised bed dimensions! We are doing the exact same thing in our garden right now, except with 4 x 12 beds. We also have the added problem of the ground not being level, so it's been taking a lot of effort to dig up the ground (which is rock hard clay soil embedded with annoying gravel and rocks from the developer) to lay the beds evenly.

    Can't wait to see your finished project!

  3. Is your designer related to Mr. Granny? I told him I had to have a 12' wide garden area, so that I would have 2' on each end of my 8' beds. He fenced in an 11' area. That's why my back beds all sit at an angle, which makes it nearly impossible to devise a drip system for them. Now we have removed the fence, but I can't move and straighten out the raspberry bed!

  4. The boards at your friend's lumber yard sounds like "five quarter", which is 7/8" thick. I've found that the only way to get satisfaction from a project is by just doing it yourself, although I certainly understand the landscaping would have been impossible to do by yourself. The beds look great, and I know it sucks to put all those screws in.

  5. Bummer Daphne! I hope that you'll "discuss" your shortage with her!

    Maybe... you could pull the stones and gain back those 7 inches???

    PS... It's looking really nice!

  6. The husband and I did raised beds the other day. I have yet to blog about it. You're right, every inch counts!

  7. You're so funny. Even though your beds haven't come together exactly as planned, I can tell that they will look very nice done. I wish I had a stone path like that inside my garden!

  8. Those timbers look good and chunky anyway, but what a shame about not being able to easily walk around the end. Oh well... I suppose a landscape gardener is not the same thing as a gardener!

  9. You are off to a great start on getting the new beds in. It's too bad that you came up short on the length. Walking around is always a good option to have. Youa re going to have a beautiful garden area despite the minor adjustments you have had to make.

  10. I know you are disappointed about the inches lost in your garden area but I can't wait to see these beds full of GREEN plants.

  11. It is disappointing when we hire the pros and then they don't get things right. But definitely, your 16' are more important that walking around the bed. You can always strategically place a stepping stone or two between your plants, if you needed it.

    Congratulations on getting started and those beds are looking good already.

  12. Layanee, I love the concept of the drivable grass too. We are so close to the flood zone and it has gotten so much worse over the years as people pave over everything. The water really needs to get into the ground and not into the drains.

    thyme2garden, that is one thing I didn't have to deal with (this time). The landscapers put over 12" of good soil in here. The contract says 12', but I think they added more like 15" which is nice.

    Annie's Granny, I didn't even think about angles. I had them least time and though pretty, they were a pita. I angled my last garden to the sun. This one isn't at all.

    EG, If I did it myself it would have taken years. I left the beds as something that would be mine. Sometimes I feel like it isn't my garden since I didn't create it (I've never used a landscaper before). I think the feeling will fade, but at least the vegetable area will always feel like it is mine. I calculated how many screws. 512. I don't think I've ever bought six large packs of screws before to do a project.

    Toni, lol mostly she has been very good and easy to deal with. This is the one spot that she has messed up in. The other one I said was important she got right. I just seem to be doing a lot of compromising with the garden. I should be used to it though as gardens seem to be all about compromise. Mostly with the pests though.

    meemsnyc, they do.

    Thomas, I love the stone path. I'll have to keep sweeping dirt off of it, but it is nice to have a section that won't get muddy. I'll have to mulch the paths to help, but that might not happen until the spring.

    Jan, no. I probably should have explained the issue then it would have stuck in her mind better.

    kitsapFG, it is coming along very nicely. I'm trying to work on it most days. I don't like to do it all at once as I get too tired, but a couple hours here and there ought to get it done over time.

    debiclegg, me either. That will have to wait until spring though.

    Angela, I think the 16' beds are more important too. I could also do a balancing act on the middle board.

  13. I didn't realize there was a garden expansion project at your new place. Will that entire bare area become beds? If so, that's a pretty expansive garden!