When we moved into our new house it was an opportunity to re-imagine a garden that fit our lives. Of course the first goal was to grow yummy fruit and vegetables, but I also wanted an outdoor space where people could hang out — and what better place than in a garden!
After much discussion (and some healthy debate) we found a space in the backyard that would get sun from sunrise to early evening and then filtered light through some tall oak trees (which dropped tons of leaves in the garden this fall!). The area would accommodate a garden that was about 40′ x 30′. Perfect – on to making the plan.
Making the plan
We knew what we wanted and where it was going, so then it was time to make the plan. My husband, Seth, and my dad were a huge help in prepping the garden area and assembling the beds. Our two girls were also great helpers.
I started by mapping a plan on graph paper so I could use the grid to help with measurements. This allowed me to visualize the space and know how many raised beds I could fit in our 40′ x 30′ space.
I planned for a three foot aisle between beds to fit a wheelbarrow through easily. I also left a 12′ x 6′ space against the side of the garden, where we get the most filtered sunlight, for a patio table and space for garden parties.
We ended up with a plan that would allow four 4′ x 6′ beds, three 4′ x 2′ beds, two 4′ x 8′ beds, and one 4′ x 4′ bed.
Time to build
Once I felt I had a solid plan, we got to work building the fence and the garden beds. The beds came first so we could easily build the fence around them.
We bought rough cut lumber and used 12″ by 1″ boards, which I regret. We should have gone with a slightly thicker wood so the boards would last longer. We’ve gone through two summers and some of the boards are already starting to bow in the middle.
We filled the beds with compost before we started building the fencing.
For the fence we used 4″ x 4″ posts and rolls of wire fencing we had been given. The fence was the most difficult part of the project because the ground wasn’t very even in some places. We had to prop up some of the sections of fence with rocks.
We had some stone delivered to cover the ground inside the garden area which was just gravel. We should have put a base of garden cloth or even newspaper under the stones to prevent weeds.
I am really pleased with the layout and functionality of the garden. We’ve had two garden birthday fairy parties for my daughter whose birthday is in July — which she loves!
Having wide aisles has been very helpful to move the wheelbarrow through when it’s time to clear out the garden.
Our next big garden project will be to build an arbor to put over the entry gate so I can plant grapes — yum! (Update – the arbor is done!)