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Building a Backyard Garden

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Learn how to build a backyard garden for your new home and you'll have flowers or veggies at your disposal, not to mention a more colorful home.

Even if you don't have a huge backyard or if you live in an apartment with just a window box, there are different options to suit your needs. Once you're ready to grow even bigger, you can learn to take your seedlings with you to make the transition in your new home even easier.

Raised garden beds

If you only have a few square feet of empty space that you want to use, a raised garden bed is a simple solution. They are one of the best options for growing vegetables at home since they have even more depth for roots to use.

If you have the time, and don't mind a little elbow grease, building your own garden bed can be an easy project to tackle in a weekend:

  1. Start by marking off a 4 x 4-foot square section in your lawn and then rake and level the ground so that your raised bed will be flat. Make sure the bed isn't too wide; you'll want to make sure you can reach the middle from the sides.
  2. Use 4x4s cut to twice the height of the intended raised bed (if you want your raised bed to be 12" deep then use 4x4s that are 24" tall). Dig holes at each corner and place the bottom half of the 4x4 into the ground, anchoring it into place.
  3. Attach the sideboards. Cut your intended siding lengths and attach them to the four posts using appropriate nails or screws.
  4. Double check the sides and make sure to keep things as level as possible when attaching the sideboards.

  5. Once all the boards are attached, the frame is complete! It should look like an open box with no bottom.

  6. Gardening plastic or a weed mat cut to fit the bottom will act as a barrier against weeds and will significantly reduce the number that will grow in your bed. Dampened newspaper or cardboard will also help keep weeds at bay.
    1. Similarly, to keep moles, gophers or other animals out, line the bottom with hardware cloth (a wire mesh).

TIP: To make the frame even sturdier, take a 2x2 stake and place it at the middle point of one of the outside walls. Then dig or pound it into the ground so the top is level with the top edge of the side rails. Fasten the side stake with deck screws and repeat for the remaining three walls.

Once your frame is built, you're ready to fill it with your choice of soil and to start planting.

Container gardens

Even if you have a sprawling estate, if you've never gardened before, planting and maintaining anything larger than a potted plant might not be a great idea. Container gardens are a great place to start practicing with your green thumb, and even complete novices can create a spectacular container garden in very little time.

Container gardens are economical. You can use almost anything for a container, even an old bucket you found at a yard sale. In many cases all you have to do is drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage, fill them with potting soil and plant some flowers. For just a few bucks you've started a mini-garden.

They also liberate you from your geography. No longer will you have to cry because you live in Alaska and desperately want a cactus garden. Once you find an ideal spot -whether it is on your windowsill, or a sunny spot on your outside steps, or a shady and protected nook on your patio or deck - planting options are limitless. Just be sure you have the right plants in that particular spot.

Container gardens are incredibly easy to build. The most difficult part will probably punching or drilling the holes into the container.

Whether you'd like to grow enough vegetables to sustain your appetite throughout the year or you'd just like to add a little more green to your home, building a backyard garden is a lot easier than you may think.


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Ana M. Ferrer  Posted by Ana M. Ferrer on April 9, 2014

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