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Garden bed update: 2 of the 3 beds are finished!

DIY raised garden beds

Looking at how things are shaping up, this was definitely a good idea for the back yard, but let’s back up in case you missed some of the backstory:

raised garden beds

At the last update, I mentioned that the fence to the right of my house is my neighbor’s, and it’s simply just seen better days. I’m guessing, but most of the damage appears to be caused by the planting of bamboo directly next to the fence, so word to the wise: don’t ever do that. While I don’t really want the expense of replacing an entire length of fence that doesn’t belong to me, I did want to spruce it up a bit.

raised garden beds

That, and I wanted to create something that might deter my pup Charlie from jumping it (she’s got a spot along the fence that she tries to jump whenever I’m not looking or in the house; it’s very annoying.). Garden beds seemed like a great option, especially since I was re-using some old materials that my sister had from her own fence project (some of which I used for my own fence, but still had plenty left over).

raised garden beds

The fence boards were a bit warped from exposure, but it was still good enough to get the job done. Especially when it was completely free to nearly the end of the project! All I had to actually buy were the plants themselves, the top layer of soil, and a couple of bags of decorative mulch (the rest of the beds were filled in using the lasagna gardening technique, which meant that most of it was filled in with cardboard and leftover yard debris).

raised garden beds

Gardenias are one of my favorite shrubs and grew in the back yard of the house I grew up in with relatively zero maintenance, so they seemed like the perfect fit for this spot (azaleas and hydrangeas would have been good choices as well, but hydrangeas aren’t evergreen and azaleas stay kind of squat and scraggly). They’re not only beautifully fragrant when they bloom, but this particular variety grows tall and wide, so I didn’t need many of them to fill in each bed.

raised garden beds

It’s taken a while to fill in each bed with the huge pile of pine mulch created when I removed trees earlier this year, but I found that one of the easiest ways to get it done was just to try to fill a wheelbarrow whenever Charlie went outside (and it wasn’t too hot mid-afternoon or too dark).

raised garden beds

Since each bed needed about 4-5 full wheelbarrows of material to fill in completely, that made for quite a few potty breaks.

raised garden beds

I still have one more bed to fill, but it’s the shortest, so I should have no problem getting it done by the weekend.

raised garden beds

Lowe’s carried only 6 of the total 9 gardenia shrubs I needed as of the last trip, so I’m still looking to fill in the final bed once the filler mulch goes in. The one on the end toward the gate is the most important Charlie-wise, so I picked that as my starting point and spread each plant about 3 feet apart. Hopefully once they grow in, they’ll make a nice-looking hedge.

Until it grows in though, I still have to find a temporary solution keep Charlie homebound. For now, I have part of an older pallet that I’ve propped into place on the end, but I do have a plan to DIY another solution soon. It may not be the classiest look right now, but it saves me a headache, so I’m happy!

More on that project when it’s done, but it feels good to be this far with my outdoor project goals for the summer. What have you been working on?

raised garden beds

garden beds

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  1. I wonder if these plants will be spreading across the bedding and cover it completely, or are you planning to add more plants in between. I know that some plans if placed one to another can not co-exist…

    Thanks for sharing the step by step images, looks great…

    1. This was addressed in the post; there isn’t anything going in between each plant. Once they grow in they should close in the gaps between.

      1. Sorry, must have missed it in the text, I was impressed by the images, I’ll read more carefully the next time:)

  2. Depends on how she jumps the fence. Is it clearing the fence completely, or is it jumping up and getting her feet on the top and then pulling herself up? If it’s the first one, then it’s a issue of the fence being too low – not much for that except making it higher, or reducing the free area she has, so she can’t run and pick up enough speed to clear it.

    If it’s that she’s pulling herself up, I have something for you. My sister used to work for a shelter, and she had a client recommend something like you see on this forum: http://www.basenjiforums.com/showthread.php?4676-Fence-climbing-deterrent

    I imagine if you build it with metal and wide diameter PVC pipe pieces it would be pretty sturdy! It’s great because it doesn’t rely on you to be around to reinforce the desired behavior – it just makes the undesired behavior impossible.

    You mount it to your fence, and as she jumps, she can’t can’t ever get her feet solidly placed enough to pull herself up all the way.

    1. Great suggestion! She does a little of both. The fence is too short, and she can leap right from a sitting position to the edge of the fence and then pull herself the rest of the way over. So putting these gardenias in her way (once they grow in) should be enough for her to get some distance away from the edge of the fence. I love that concept, but it would require building on top of my neighbor’s fence, and I don’t think they would approve me doing anything to it. The garden beds seem like the least eyesore option.

  3. what a great project! you make creating garden beds look so easy. gardenias smell divine – your yard is going to look and smell so good when they get a bit bigger

  4. Looks like you’re using pine or some other softwood for the walls of your garden bed.

    Up here in Canada my concern would be that the soil in the garden bed would start making the wood rot after only a couple of years. Then I’d have to replace the wood, which would be messy and a pain in the hoo hoo.

    How long will this last where you are? (Maybe this is only a temporary solution anyways)

    1. No idea. The fence pieces were left over from another project, which made this a free upgrade to an ugly fence. I’m pretty happy with it, but I do expect that it will sag or look weird as time goes on if I don’t maintain them.

    2. No idea how long they will last, but we’ll see. The fence pieces were free from a leftover project and easy to create. Garden beds with cedar pickets are a pretty common DIY project these days.