Moving from an apartment to a first home meant I could finally have a garden! Well, that was until I realized the soil was solid clay and my low fence left me feeling a little too exposed. So I designed and built a raised bed and trellis to provide a great south facing SFG space and a privacy screen.
Raised Bed and Trellis
Here's the completed project!
The day I closed on the house I submitted a request to the Architectural Review Committee for our HOA. After getting an idea off Pintrest, I used Realtime Landscaping Architect 2016's free trial to measure out and model how the trellis would fit into the rest of the landscaping at my new house.
With acceptance of the request, I ripped out and transplanted three existing butterfly bushes and two of three needlepoint hollies. I eventually took out the last holly, but I didn't have anywhere to transplant it.
The general plan... The cost of wood for such a high raised bed was more than I wanted to spend. I switched my plan to corrugated metal, which should hold up better than wood in the long run. I ended up cutting the bottom couple of inches off the metal sheeting on two sheets so I wouldn't have to dig as deep in the clay. My backyard slopes a couple of inches, so cutting the metal for the higher side was easier than trying to dig in the metal any deeper than I had to.
I cut the metal with a metal blade on my jigsaw. No need for all the other fancy tools Home Depot said I needed!
Trying to dig the trench for the perimeter of the raised bed was much harder due to the existing trellis... In hindsight, I should have made the raised bed first and then the trellis. Oh well!
By securing the two 8' sections together with more metal screws, the raised bed became much more stable.
How do you cut an 8' board by yourself? I realize this isn't the proper way to do it, but I had to go with what I had. I supported the end on a leftover bag of cement and an extra board. It worked!
Adding on the 1"x6" topper not only increased stability, but also makes a nice bench. They are secured to the 2x4 posts with little triangles of left over 2x4s which mimic the support spans on the trellis and add stability.
I used a scrap pallet to support the middle as I filled the bed with a 50/50 mix of screened topsoil and compost. Originally I was thinking of filling most of the bed with lower quality soil, but the price difference wasn't that much.
It took 2.5 cubic yards of soil to fill this monster bed.
The top 6" is a square foot mix of peat, vermiculite, and compost. Had I known exactly what I was doing, this project would have taken about 4 days... I spread it out over multiple weekends though.
Now it's time to wait for the weather to warm up to plant and enjoy the backyard.
Update: It's growing! I added a little wire fencing as my puppy thought the soil was perfect for hiding her bone. I also stapled nylon twine to the top frame make the square foot garden grid to keep track of spacing and map out what I planted where.
Resources for this project:
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Published March 6th, 2017 9:12 AM
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