When Tom and I moved into our home in August of 2013, we knew that we wanted raised garden beds. Our house sits on the northwest side of our property, leaving us with plenty of land in the path of the sun. We’re also lucky that we live on a hill and our backyard is relatively tree free. It’s a gardener’s dream! We are unlucky enough to have dense, rocky soil, so a raised bed where we could control the soil density made sense.

Unfortunately, we had to put our raised bed dreams on the back-burner. Purchasing a house is stressful, not to mention all the painting, packing, planning and unpacking that comes with moving. As if we didn’t already have enough on our plates, a couple of weeks after the move, I earned a promotion at work, and a couple of weeks after that Tom and I got engaged! Needless to say, gardening just didn’t happen in 2013.

Planning our wedding in 2014 further delayed our plans: we simply didn’t have the time to commit to a building project. Instead, we double-dug a small garden bed and enhanced the soil with compost and peat moss. We made a small border around the bed with stones found on property and grew squash, tomatoes, kale, beans and spinach. All other edibles were grown in containers, and we had a decent bounty throughout the summer. Until August, when wedding planning amped-up, our tiny garden was manageable and bountiful. It was a good start, but this year we want more.

Garden Herbie

Herbie tried to help us with the garden planning.

We’ve decided to build three raised beds along the northern edge of our backyard.  We chose this spot because it gets the most uninterrupted sunshine. One bed will be dedicated to the “three sisters” (corn, beans and squash), another will be home to sun-loving plants, and the western-most bed is for the plants that like a little shade. The western-most bed neighbors our garden shed and house, which will keep the plants in partial shadow.

While anything plant-related is my realm, Tom is in charge of the built structures. He’s been drawing up plans, taking measurements, laying out grid lines, and calculating lumber costs. Our property slopes, so a lot of his time has been spent determining how we’ll level out the lawn. We’ve settled on creating a sturdy rock wall on the lower end of each bed to support the planks we will use as a border. Tom has done all the math and calculated how high each wall will be, and we’ve mapped out the area of each bed with string. Now all that’s left to do is cut the lumber and install the beds!