Raised Herb Beds

This is the latest installment in the backyard landscape project.  I think this backyard has become one of those projects that never ends.  One things leads to another, and another, and another…you know how that goes.  You may remember some of the earlier projects from here, here, and here.  In case you don’t have every detail and nuance of my life memorized this is what my “plan” looked like.

If you look at the bottom of the picture, up against the house, you will see where I imagined the raised beds  to be.  Initially I thought we might be able to make them rounded with soft curves.  From an installation perspective that just became too difficult.  It wasn’t that the rounding was too hard, but we were worried about the weight load from the dirt behind the structure affecting the stability of the wall.  Soooo, we adapted the plan.  The finished product has angled corners instead of rounded ones.

Here’s how it all went down.

Our plan was to use Trex as our building material.  We knew we wanted to use something narrow like a 1″x6″.  The space for the beds was small and a brick or stone wall would be to bulky, taking up too much of the bed area, for where we wanted the beds to be.  We thought of Trex for a few reasons: it’s pre-finished, easy to work with, readily available, and weather & rot resistant.  Well…when we priced it out it was going to be A LOT $$$, like over $400.  So instead we chose to use pressure treated 1″x6″s.  The cost difference was pretty significant.  Because we already had the stain on hand, from staining the fence, trellis, & pergola, this project came in WELL under $100.  I believe it was really more like $85.  All of the supplies to put together these raised beds came from Lowe’s:  boards, pipes, clips, nuts, washers, and bolts.

Okay, here comes the wonky part.  We pre-constructed the bed walls in the garage.  With all of the angles (you know math is NOT my friend), we really needed to have a perfectly level surface to make sure everything lined up.

For the installation we prepped the ground as well as we could, by trying to give the bed wall a level surface to sit on.

The walls are about 12″ tall.  They are secured into the ground with 24″ galvanized pipes for stability.  The pipes are attached to the back sides of the walls with C clips.  The clips are spaced about every two feet.

We first attached the clips loosely, put the wall in place, hammered the pipes down into the ground (leaving the top of the pipe flush with the top of the wall), then tightened the clips around the pipes.

One of the more challenging aspects of this project was making sure everything stayed level.  During the process we had to make continual adjustments:  adding a little more dirt below this section of wall, removing a little dirt under that part, etc. Oh yeah, there was also the part where we had to move several sprinkler heads.  :p  Never as simple in real life as it is in your mind, is it?

To back-fill the beds we thought we might have to purchase soil.  However, part of the “Master Plan” includes installation of flagstones beneath the pergola.  So we knew we’d eventually have to do some excavating to level out that area.  We did our excavating a little early so we could use that dirt to back-fill the raised beds.

Though they haven’t really grown in yet I’ve added lots herbs to the beds.  I started with the little 3″ potted starter plants.  I have terrible luck with seeds.  This is the closest access to the kitchen and I’m so excited to start adding some herby freshness to my meals.  What herbs have you put in Kitty?  Well, I’ll tell you.  I’ve planted: basil, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, dill, oregano, sage, mint, cilantro, parsley, and chives.  For some of the herbs I planted a few different varieties of the same herb.  In this bed I also planted 3 different types of peppers as well as my favorite edible flowers, nasturtium.  Their flowers are wonderful stuffed with goat cheese lightly battered and fried.  Nasturtium leaves are also very tasty.  They taste a lot like Watercress.  I also tossed some old wild flower seeds in there.  I’d be surprised if the germinate, but you never know.

Because this space is so long and narrow it’s almost impossible to get a picture of the full deal-i-o.  But you can get the idea of it here:

Since there isn’t much happening in these beds right now I thought I’d show you some other goodies from around the back yard.

Petunias

Miss Huff Lantana

Blueberries

 

Yellow Roses

 

Pink Roses

Thanks for checking out our latest project.  :)   We’re really happy with how it turned out.  Though it took a little longer than we’d hope (M.A.T.H), this one came in priced right and the result is just how we’d imagined.

See you soon!

**I have received no compensation for specific products or retailers mentioned in this post.