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Topic: Inexpensive raised garden bed -- picture-rich!  (Read 2595 times)
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« on: September 04, 2014 10:51:32 AM »

Ever since I moved to this house, I have wanted to put in a raised garden bed along the backside of neighbors garage, to create a little more gardening space. I priced stone, but realized that anything even marginally nicer than cinder block would cost a pretty penny not to mention being a PIA to transport the stone in my tiny car.  I had almost resolved to spend the money when I thought of landscape timbers.  Cheap, ($3.25 an 8 length) easy to find, easy to work with, and easy to pick up and carry.  (Which became even more of an issue this summer as I developed spinal arthritis and carpal tunnel.)  I havent filled it all in and planted it yet, but Im so pleased I cant tell you!  But Ill try

Altho it was about 2 months from first design to completion, it really took only 4-5 afternoons.  Part of the challenge was finding 9 timbers at the box store that werent bowed, cupped, bent or split.  I borrowed my brother-in-laws Sawz-all and cut 12 2-foot sections.  Then I cut a notch in one end of each of the short lengths, and notched both ends of 6 full length ones.  

Safety first; always wear protective eyewear, and have proper feline supervison.

The space the bed occupies is half on concrete, half on soil, so I excavated where the short lengths of the U would rest and put in a layer of gravel.  Probably unnecessary, but couldnt hurt.  Using 4 decking screws, I put 3 in each of the long timbers, one in each corner join, and one additional screw in each of the short legs, screwing each layer to the previous one.

When I got to the fifth and penultimate layer, I stapled in a triple thick layer of landscape cloth inside the bed, running the bottom end of it across the concrete and pinning it into the soil.  Will keep the soil from running out the cracks, and perhaps keep the soil moister longer.

Had to bring in a secondary supervisor.

I worried about frost heave, and soil slump eventually pushing the U-shaped frame away from my neighbors garage, and initially thought about bolting it to the cement foundation with L-brackets and masonry screws, but ultimately came up with a more elegant (and less destructive) solution.  Towards the end of each of the shorter legs, where the wood rested on soil, I drilled a 5/8 hole.  Then I took a 2-foot length of rebar, pounded down about 8-10 inches into the soil, to hold the frame in place.

I knew rain would run down that hole, creating more possibility for rot, so I made sure the rebar stuck up only about 2 from the top of the fifth course.  Then I drilled the hole only halfway thru the final row, from the underside.

That way, when I screwed the final course into place theres no hole for the rain to dribble in!

The final bed is 8wide by 2 deep and almost 18 deep, with just enough room to tuck the recycling cart in.  I know it wont last forever; the wood will start to rot eventually.  But at less than $40 for the whole project, I can afford to replace it 5-6 years down the road!

Now to fill it with soil and plant it out!  Thanks for looking.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2014 01:53:32 PM by yofi » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2014 10:57:05 AM »

Your great pictorial makes me want to bust out the saw and start making beds, I think you did a fabulous job! 

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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2014 01:21:34 PM »

That looks great! I hope you'll post some photos when it's all planted. I know it will be gorgeous.

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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2014 04:51:21 PM »

That is a very cool project! Thanks for sharing your process!

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« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2014 10:34:32 AM »

Awesome! Love the final look.

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