Even though our yard is still in shambles from our (still ongoing) garage build, I had to power through and get these raised gardens built! I was just going to build them without writing about them, but I realized I should take advantage and get a video made for this DIY. Because, if you didn’t know, building a raised garden along a fence (or a shed) is a hot topic around here!
With our summer season almost at an end, you may wonder why I would even build gardens this year at all. We moved into this house between March and June this year, and we did not have a good garden spot! We have such a short growing season, so I knew I had to build these raised gardens this year to get ready for next summer :)
I wanted to build some more raised garden beds… and the only logical spot seemed to be next to the fence! Luckily, we had some experience building raised gardens along our shed. So I figured I’d replicate the project!
Raised Garden Series:
- The Best Size for Raised Gardens
- Build a Raised Garden Bed
- Filling DIY Raised Gardens
- Prepping and Planting Raised Gardens
- Veggie Placements (2016, 2017 and 2018)
If you didn’t know, our yard is a corner lot, and so the largest part is actually the side yard. It works out because this spot would get the south sun and it wouldn’t be in the way from anything.
Raised Garden Build Details
We essentially built the same raised gardens we did 5 years ago, so I won’t go into each step here. I recorded a video that you can watch (or scroll down below). There is a timelapse showing each step there, and I’ll just mention some of the changes that we made compared to the first time.
OH, and the first step is to get a locate so you know you won’t be digging into any buried wires :)
Before I dive into the changes, here is an overview of the ideal raised gardens. (Ours are a teeny bit different, which you can see in the photos).
I wanted to use standard 8′ lengths for our gardens, so that’s what I designed. I also decided to go up one board higher (after writing about what I’d do differently), so that meant that our posts had to be 4′ long instead.
Not sure if our ground here is harder (it’s certainly rockier!), but we had to cut crazy angled spikes on our 4×4 posts. We also had a lot more splitting happen when we hammered them in, so we had to cut off the tops rather than level them all the way across.
The first time we built raised gardens, we started from the top boards (making sure everything was level) and worked our way down. This time, we went from the bottom up.
The Husband mostly installed the first garden himself, while I cut all the spikes for the posts.
We also used an air nailer instead of drill and screws, but either method would work. (It was only here because of the garage work, and I’m sure it helped move things along quicker).
Raised Garden Video
Check out the video above to see the raised gardens come together in super speed! Oh, and see us uncover a huge rock when we try to put the second stake in :)
The following day, we knocked out the second garden bed together. This one was going where the broken shed was, so there wasn’t any grass in that area.
Oh, and another reason I wanted to get these garden beds built this year, was so that I could get rid of some of the extra dirt from our garage. Our yard is a hot mess (scroll to the bottom to see the whole thing).
There was a huge root that we couldn’t easily remove for the second garden, so we just skipped the bottom board (for now). I’m hoping that once the yard gets cleaned up, I’ll have better access (there’s like a big plastic drum on top of it).
We also lost a bit of our square on the second garden, and we have a bit of a gap along the front. The Husband thinks it’s super ugly and wants to put an angle piece… but I’m not that bothered.
About the Top Ledge
The last thing we have to do is install the top ledge. Because the garden beds are built along the fence (or wherever), you want something to block the back.
The photo above shows what it looked like at our old house, and I just need to get a couple more boards for that. (We ended up building them farther from the fence AND just wider than 8′, so we’ll need 2×8 x 10′ to cover the gaps). And someone may or may not have used my wood for the garage…
MAKE SURE YOU ACCOUNT FOR THE LEDGE WHEN YOU’RE PLANNING YOUR POSTS.
Let me share that layout photo again, to clear it up:
Okay, see the top view? If you want the best looking beds (and don’t want to buy bigger boards) you will need to cut 3″ off each of your back boards. Then, your front boards will be the full length across (whether you do 8′ gardens, 12′, whatever). The 3″ you saw off will be for the 1.5″ of each of the side boards.
You can hammer your posts in as close to the fence/shed, and that way, you’d only need one board for that ledge. For us, I like the wider boards (you can store things on it, like mini planters!). BUT we did go a bit overboard this time.
What’s Next for the Raised Gardens
While my mother was visiting, she also lined one of the beds with landscaping fabric and cardboard. See my original post on filling the garden beds for an idea of how to do that.
So now, we just need to line the other garden (I need to buy more landscaping fabric), and then shovel in some of the fill dirt.
Oh, the photo above shows the scale of our garden bed in comparison to our 4-year-old. (They’re just under 30″ tall, give or take some elevation differences).
He also helped to fill in the garden and would play in the dirt all day if we let him. We still need to get some nicer dirt for the top half, and I’m hoping I can get that done before winter (and add soil in our yard).
Speaking of which, here’s a pulled back view of our main yard now. There’s a lot more construction debris (and fence sections on the ground) just outside of the frame on the right.
I’m sure the neighbours will be happy when this is cleaned up :)
I hope you had a chance to watch the video about building raised gardens along the fence. And please reach out if you have any questions.
Although, I think the real question is: could I make a raised garden bed, not along a fence!? I think I’m going to make a mini-garden where we had our garden in the side yard this year. I have a couple of extra boards, and the grass is already moved… so why not!?