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This “mini garden deck” made from scrap deck boards has already made a huge difference in keeping my feet dry around the new vegetable garden.

Hey everyone! As you saw from yesterday’s deck update, I’ve been spending a lot of time outside. Between that, the new vegetable garden, and the new shed build, I’ve been in a summer state of mind for quite some time. I’ve also kind of HAD IT with walking on muddy dirt patches (Georgia’s spring rains this year have been nuts!). With summer officially starting today, and with plenty of scrap deck boards around, I decided to hop in with the #scrapwoodchallenge and created my own solution for better garden maintenance. I’m calling it my “mini garden deck”!

diy mini garden deck

My new vegetable garden bed has been a learning process. One part of that has been realizing that this area is going to get a lot of upkeep-related foot traffic.

green tomato

So, as proud as I am of how well things are going, I have noticed a major drawback: frequent visits have made the inner triangle of the L-shaped garden bed a little dirt-rich… and grass-poor. I put down some landscaping fabric intending on eventually covering it with gravel, but then realized how well the leftover deck boards could solve the problem… without an additional materials purchase!

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The deck boards I used are designated for Ground Contact, which is recommended for wood projects that sit within six inches of the ground. You can find more about that here.

How to make a mini garden deck from scrap wood

Start in the middle

Keeping in mind that this was scrap, I basically took the materials available. I bought stair balusters and wound up not needing them, and I’m kind of terrible about returning leftover materials. I used these as stringers for fastening the deck boards together. Many had been cut already to fit the floating deck (and therefore could not be returned), but some were long enough pieces where they could be reused.

stair balusters on landscaping fabric

Since I was kind of winging it, I placed the stair balusters on the ground, on top of the landscaping fabric and spread them out, fanning in a sort of triangle shape. These would be what I would screw the deck boards to. If you’ve ever seen a wooden sign and looked on the back, it’s a pretty similar concept (such as here and here).

basic concept of mini garden deck

I began where I thought would be the middle (ish) of the L-shaped area, and cut my deck board at 45-degree angles on both ends.

45 degree angles for mini deck

From this, I cut more pieces to help form a triangle shape until the space was filled. I dry fit each board into place and then began fastening them to the strips underneath.

dry fit of mini deck

Spacing

For spacing, I used some old plastic spacers I bought a long time ago for installing the laminate flooring in my house (just held onto them, because I just knew they’d be useful again). If you don’t have something like this, insert a few nails between the boards — anything that will serve as a temporary wedge to provide a small gap. You’re mainly looking for spacing to allow the wood to expand and contract with moisture fluctuations.

spacing of first 4 middle boards

Screw together and fan out

I screwed in the first board on both ends where it met the stringers from the top down (2 screws on each end of the board, 2 screws down the middle). When the board was attached and spacing set, I moved the spacers to the next gap and fastened the next board. So on, and so on, until the entire triangle was complete.

using spacers

If you were to look at the back, it would look like a hot mess — the stringers (the stair balusters) that attach to the deck boards are practically random in their placement.

inside corner of mini deck

But since you’ll never see them, all that really matters is that they are enough material to hold the entire thing together. Since the ground was soft from the frequent rain, I merely needed to stand on it the new platform to sort squish into the ground and hold in place. The corner was kind of an awkward spot with how narrow it got, so working an extra piece of the baluster (vertically) into the corner was a perfect fit.

inner corner of mini deck

And boom: no more muddy feet when maintaining the garden. It actually kind of finishes the area nicely, too.

overall look of vegetable garden

There’s still a little more work to be done to make the widest end look more finished, but since I still have the shed build left to complete, I’ll wait to use up the remaining full-length deck boards before re-purposing one for the garden bed. This whole area is going to look so great!

I just love scrap wood projects… so feel free to do a little looking around at the links on this list. Jen from House of Wood asked a bunch of us to share some scrap ideas, and there’s LOTS more below!

Check out these other awesome Scrap Wood projects:

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11 Comments

  1. This is a perfect example of solving a problem with what you got! Love it and the garden is looking good too!

  2. So fun! Wish we were neighbors so I could come over with some wine and enjoy the veggies and mini deck! :)

    1. Same. Having you as a neighbor would be epically fun (and not just because of all the tool borrowing, haha). Maybe someday we’ll plan a nabe of all of us and retire, so we can reminisce over our wild blog days. ;)

      And my neighborhood is probably cheaper than where you live and selling homes RN, just sayin’

  3. I SO wish you lived next door to me! I have many projects I’d like done but none of the tools or expertise to do them and very little of the money I’d need to hire them done. I could be your student and learn from watching you! But, alas, I’m up here in Michigan which is pretty far from Georgia. I guess I’ll just have to live vicariously by reading your blog!

    1. Aw, thanks Naomi! I love teaching what I know through this blog for exactly that reason. While we might not be physical neighbors, I can still give you pointers and tips based on what I learn as I renovate, and the hope is to help those whom I might never meet in person. It’s also one of the reasons I’ve started doing video… sometimes, that extra visual aid is helpful even when you have pictures of steps!