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Raised Bed Confab

May 27, 2015

Took the first real step today in making this raised bed thing a reality. Meaning, three professionals in their fields–Frances, Derek and Ruben–joined me in the backyard for a nearly two hour meeting to discuss 1) removing our lawn, and 2) building a raised bed for gardening.

Who knew such a thing could get so complicated?

You may be surprised to learn there are a few different ways to take out a lawn, and maybe not so surprised to learn there are about seventeen thousand gazillion ways to design and build a raised bed. Good lord.

And in both cases, there is an environmentally thoughtful way to do it and a less environmentally thoughtful way. Plus, there are efficiencies to be considered and inefficiencies to avoid that you never dreamed of (if you’re me). Given the team here, we ended up in a pretty good place: mostly environmentally thoughtful and reasonably efficient. But on the way there, we had to gently maneuver around a few egos and things got a little prickly.

Here is my loosely drawn summary of where we perhaps ended up on the maybe design. Roughly. We spent a lot of time with flags and rope before we arrived at what seemed like a workable design.

IMG_6666_2Don’t ask.

(Because, really, it’s just a raised bed on what was once a lawn.)

Here’s what you need to know:

  • It’ll be one (vs more than one) large bed.
  • It’ll have straight edges (vs anything round, because my psyche can’t deal with round corners).
  • The walls will be composed of charming, irregular, multi-colored, stone-like blocks, with dug-out footings, bound together with some mortar. You can sit on it. It will be nice to look at. 
  • There will be a teeny plaza between it and the house. I may place a colorful urn or two on this little plaza space, next to the bed, and fill it with flowers.
  • There will be perimeter paths comprising large stepping stones embedded in DG. The paths will have a medium-sized rock border on the outer edge.
  • Since we opted out of multiple smaller beds, and, in the end rejected the keyhole design, there will be strategically placed stepping stones inside the bed so we can easily access all the plants.
  • We’re using a sod cutter to remove the lawn’s upper layer, and we’re going to sheet mulch under the bed to prevent bermuda grass from getting a foothold. We’ll be laying a new layer of dirt around the bed and under the paths.  
  • And then, obviously, the interior will be filled with seasonal vegetables. Maybe some other stuff.  

I’m hoping Jim will agree to draw us a real plan to scale, and Peter will calculate the area of the bed for us.

One Response to “Raised Bed Confab”


  1. This will be nice! Funny…. my psyche LOVES rounded corners 🙂


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