Raised garden spot on pavers

Building A Raised Garden Part 1: First Things First

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Home Depot. Late Enough and The Home Depot are teaming up to bring a four-part series on building a raised garden.

If anyone can remember back as far as April, I posted my gardening to-do list for Spring and on it was a raised garden, which we are finally tackling this month.

While I’m not a gardening maven, except for herbs, I love growing food so ours will be an edible raised garden, and I think you can do it too as long as they’re okay with asking for help and making mistakes. However, raised gardens can be full of flowers or themed around tea or cooking as well.

The most important part to every raised gardens is THE WHERE, and depending on the yard, it either choses you or you chose it. If it choses you, then it also choose what you can plant. Period. If you’re want an edible garden, you need full sun for a good harvest of almost all popular and semi-popular plants, and even then you’ll be dealing with droughts and weird infestations. Start off on the best footing. If you are working with flowers, you have more flexibility as to where you build your raised garden.

I had to stand in the yard and figure out what areas get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight (which equals full sun), but I honestly recommend finding a place that gets 8 hours.

My first year planting a raised garden in this house, it was as my last project with my son before his sister arrived. That year we built the entire raised garden ourselves rather than using a kit, which is also how we will be doing it this year. (I’ll be going into the specific equipment purchasing in my post next weekend.)

The grass survived
Before (but really after). Mostly to show you that raised gardens can be made on grass although you do have to help it to regrow so I’d pick an already sad spot in your yard.
DIY edible raised garden
After but really before. We had some missing grass because of a shed we had removed.

I must’ve fallen asleep that first year because I misjudged the area I chose and mostly got snow peas and strawberries. Everything else didn’t want to flower. Luckily, we went simple our first year, and my toddler most liked rolling and digging in the dirt so it wasn’t a big deal to him. But compared to my permanent garden from years past? I was annoyed at myself.

Last year, we got much fancier with an irrigation system that mostly got me wet, colorful tomato cages and I lying to myself about how long watermelon vines really grew. But what we did right was decide that sun was more important than having a backyard that made any sense.

Raised garden spot on pavers
This is where we had a raised garden last year. It meant no weeding between the pavers. AWESOME.
Raised garden from a kit
I didn’t expect to blog about last year’s raised garden from a kit so picture more of these blocking the front stairs of the pergola. They were messy but fruitful. And veggie-ful.

In the fall, we lost our beautiful oak tree in the front year and cannot plant another tree because of the vast amount of roots below the soil. Both dealing with this dead spot in my front yard and a raised garden was on my garden to-do list so a reader suggested I make them into one project.

We miss that old tree.
We miss that old tree.

This year, we will be making the leftover dirt spot from where the oak tree once stood into a beautiful raised garden.

Brown patch to raised garden
Two birds. One stone.

We don’t have to worry about sun like our first year, and we can’t get away with the sloppy vines and hilarity of last year. I’m a little nervous, but also looking forward to making our first front yard edible raised garden. I hope you’ll join me and help me out with more ideas and suggestions. And get out there! Pick a spot in your yard you want to hide, not weed all summer, or grow something delicious in and let’s get started.

UPDATE: Check out all my posts on how to build a raised garden and have fun:

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Home Depot. I was compensated.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

9 thoughts to “Building A Raised Garden Part 1: First Things First”

  1. Just came across your blog. I love gardens, and I think I’ll follow along!

    My parents had us help build one when I was a kid, and I’d love to do the same for my daughter. Nothing beats digging in the dirt. Now if I can just find a place for us to live that would actually be suitable…

    1. Yay! So glad you’re here. If you don’t have the space for a raised garden, you can grow many of the same things I’ll be growing in pots. Just not as many (unless you buy lots of pots). I keep some of my herbs in pots as well since they survive the winter (eg. rosemary) and/or would take over my garden (eg. mint).

    1. It’ll be interested to try to keep some sort of esthetic since I tend to be a wild gardener. Of course, my front yard’s big brown spot means I can’t get much uglier.

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