Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Adventures in home improvement: the raised bed

My friend, Amanda showed me her raised bed a few months ago and I immediately came home and mentioned how awesome it was to my husband. We have about an acre of land with the majority of it in the backyard. Unfortunately the backyard is a hodgepodge of sun, shade, clay soil, sandy soil and to top it off, it slopes. So we have slowly been making improvements over the past two years. This year we decided to focus on creating more definition to the space. I decided that a big, raised bed was the way to go. The best spot for it was in a shady corner of the yard on top of clay-like soil. This would give us the benefit of filling an otherwise dead space and amending the soil so that it becomes more fertile.

My parents came to visit in July and my dad is the type of person who always needs a project. With landscaping logs on sale at $.97 each a plan was created to load up the SUV and start the raised bed. First DH and my dad mapped out the space assuming the logs were 8 feet each.

Doesn't all that digging look like fun? At least DH didn't get as dirty as he did with his last project.
This was one of two loads of landscaping logs that ended up being used. I think about 50 went into the building of the bed.
DH doesn't do things by half. So he dug down to place the first layer of logs and made sure that the structure was level all around.
The cinder blocks and using rebar was a suggestion of my dad's to reinforce the structure. This thing isn't going anywhere! Plus using cinder blocks meant less digging and fussing with the logs in the inner section to get them level. The rebar was placed by drilling holes through the layers. DH even put in metal joins when more than one log was required on each side.
DH was inspired to create a two level structure. Doesn't it look great?
We used the remainder of our compost pile and many, many bags of soil to fill in the raised bed. The edges are lined with landscaping fabric to help with weed control and any erosion issues.

Our next step is to figure out what additional hardscape to put in (stones or fountain, etc.) and identify perennials to be planted in the fall. I've already tried to get a few plants but the middle of the summer isn't the best time for purchasing or planting. If anyone has recommendations for bulbs or perennials to be planted (mostly shade, Zone 7), please let me know! Also, if anyone knows where the HGTV show "Yard Crashers" films, tell me so I can stalk them and have them come over and do more work for us.


Donna said...

Hosta is always good for a shady spot and you can get some beautiful leaves on those. As for Mr Yard Crasher, I called him first. He is on DIY, I have no idea where he films but if I ever see him I am going to tackle him, kidnap him and bring him home.

Gretchen said...

That looks so great! Lily of the valley and hellebores are good for shady spots too. You can get some hostas that flower which is nice along with hostas with showy leaves like donna mentioned.

Can't wait to see what you end up doing.

M. said...

Fantastic! Now you have a great place for seasonal sacrifices.