A backyard garden is a great way to get kids interested in the outdoors, and it’s also one of the easiest ways to improve the value of your home. Gardening beds will produce fruits, vegetables, and herbs you can use throughout the year. Fortunately, creating these beds is a job that can easily be completed over a single weekend.
Start by using string and stakes to lay out the area where you want your garden beds. An ideal location will have areas of shade and sunlight, giving you the opportunity to plant a variety of vegetables and herbs. If your backyard has no shade, you’ll want to make sure to incorporate trees into your overall landscaping plan. Make your planters in square, rectangular, or circular shapes; avoid sharp, odd angles since they make it more difficult to maintain your plantings. Ideally, your planters should have at least 18 inches of walking space between them.
To lay out the gardening beds, place stakes into the ground at each turn. Tie string between the stakes. Step back and visualize your completed garden plan; make sure that you like the layout of the gardening beds before moving on to the next step. Once the beds are constructed, moving them is difficult. During this part of the process, be sure to consider the location of underground components such as sprinkler systems.
The next steps will depend upon your choice of border material. For rock and brick borders, you should make sure that the perimeter ground is completely level. Then, dig a three-inch deep perimeter trench that is as at least as wide as the material you are using. For wood siding and fencing, you will need a six-inch deep trench.
For brick and rock borders, fill your trench at least one inch deep with mortar sand -- a fine white sand that is sold at most home improvement stores. This foundation will keep your rocks or bricks stable while you’re constructing the border. Add rocks or bricks one layer at a time, making sure to add mortar between the layers. Do not rely on simply stacking them; this will result in the walls toppling within a few weeks.
If you’ve chosen wooden borders, place the beams into the trench with rocks or bricks on the inside to keep the beams upright. Nail or glue the beams together only after you have all of the pieces in the right spot.
Once your borders are complete, fill the bottom of the planter with four to six inches of sand. Mortar sand is ideal, but any type of sand will suffice. This will stabilize the walls as well as provide a barrier against weed growth. Tamp down the sand to compact it before moving on to the next step.
On top of the sand layer, fill the rest of the planter box with potting soil. If you want an organic garden, make sure to use organic soil. Water the soil well, adding more if necessary; this step will help to compact your soil. Once each box is full, you can start planting your dream garden.