Project Grow Our Own Food: Building Raised Garden Beds

I sit here typing with sore arms and swollen fingers after a weekend full of, what I would call, intense backyard labour. As temperatures crept back up to seasonal range, and the sun bathed our whole backyard in its warm golden rays, J and I decided it was time to kick our backyard project into high gear - it was time to build the raised garden beds. But oh how I wish it was that simple. Turns out this project was one of those you can't start until you start another. In this case, before we could start building the garden, we had to move some trees.

The Three Trees
As we worked on our rough sketches of the backyard, it became evident the shade from the trees and their proximity to the fence was going to be a problem... so unless we wanted this garden smack-dab in the middle of our yard, three of the trees would have to go.

After some heated debates, I suggested we simply move the trees over, thus creating a "tree wall" which would help make the soon-to-be patio area more private. J liked the idea. I liked the idea. And I'm sure the trees would like the idea as well.

So Saturday morning, with our new shovel in hand, we started to dig out the trees. To our surprise the trees were very easy to remove as their roots hadn't penetrated the surrounding soil. However, this was due to the fact that our soil is more like clay... so although the trees were very easy to remove, digging the new holes in the clay-like ground proved difficult. After 3 hours, we had all the trees moved, planted, and watered... with only one tree casualty.

The Raised Garden Bed
With the trees moved and lunch in our bellies, we began to tackle the larger mission at hand - the garden beds. We moved through our tasks one by one... first cutting all ten the large 12x16 boards to size, then the 2x4's, and lastly the 4x4. If I never have to hold another heavy 16ft piece of wood while J tries to square it up, I will be happy.

With everything in place, we started to assemble the structure. As the sides went up it became obvious just how large this garden bed was...

After all was in place, we stood back to marvel at our new best friend...

I can't tell you how happy I am with this investment. Sure, the upfront costs of building your own garden can be steep (and had we built this garden using cedar wood it would have double our costs!), but in all honesty, it's a price I am willing to pay for not only the experience of growing my own food, but the health benefits as well. No pesticides. No chemicals. Only real food.

And look what was delivered this morning... it's obvious the real fun begins tonight, when we get to fill the beds with 7 yards of soil. No rest for this "farmer!"

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  1. This is so cool. Can wait to see how it turns out! And what veggies you get! Rick and I are also thinking of lining our back yard with cedars. They grow so quick.

  2. Yay Brit! We have a large garden, this will be our second year still experimenting :) We also bought a greenhouse and it is still empty lol but it holds potential for this winter!

    I have about 70 tomato plants started in different stages, 40 pepper plants, lettuce, cukes, peas and other things I can't remember :) ready to go in the ground this weekend or next!

    Hooray for you!

  3. Woohoo CONGRATS on your very own garden! Can't wait to see how it "groes", get it? See what I did there? lol

  4. Meg Sweet TwistMay 1, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    What a great idea. I should set up that in my backyard, wonder if I can get the hubby on board....

  5. what are the dimensions?

  6. Hi Heather, the dimension are: All sides are all 24 inches tall. The long sides are 15ft. The two inside pieces are 12ft long. The boxes (all around) are a little over 3ft wide. The middle walking area is almost 3ft wide (in order to accommodate the lawn mower).

    You can also download the drawing and rendering document here:

  7. Hi! What was the approx cost using the materials your describe here? I love this!