First, we talked and discussed where we should put our beds....we analyzed the light, because morning sun is better than blazing hot afternoon sun for most things, so its better to plant on the east side of a north facing house. Plus, there are parts of our yard that will get just full out sun all the time, and that would probably kill many a plant.
Once we decided that, I drew up plans for the back yard....all those years as a landscape architecture major (2 years before I switched) paid off in that I can draw up some fairly decent garden plans...plus I had grid paper, which always helps!
So, I drew up plans and then figured out the height, width, and length of beds and then calculated how much dirt I would need for each one and bla bla blah blah blah....I really did all that and have done it numerous times since the first time I drew it up when I changed my mind. So then, we decided we would have 5 cubic yards of dirt delivered to our driveway...it arrived a little over a week ago on Monday afternoon. At first I thought it wasn't as much dirt as I thought it would be...and then as we started moving it shovel full by shovel full...we realized that every grain of that 5 cubic yards was there.
(For those who need to know how to figure cubic yards, take your weight times your height times your length of your bed and divide it by 27...that is how you figure cubic yards...or at least that is what I was told...if I am wrong let me knoiw but it worked pretty well for us.)
So, we started on Monday night and worked from the time we got home and changed clothes until it was dark, so from an hour and a half to 2 hours. We did the same thing Tuesday, and Wednesday...and we got 2/3 of the dirt moved into place.
After all my measuring and planning, this is what we did. We just picked kind of scientifically, kind of randomly...5 cubic yards to be delivered and figured we would just use it until it was gone and then order more if we needed it. We also didn't want to order so much that we couldn't park in our driveway for weeks.
This picture below was taken when we only had about 1/3 of the dirt left...so you can imagine how much it was when it was all there....
This picture kind of shows you what we were doing. We had the dirt delivered to the back of our driveway and then we would shovel it into the wheel barrow ($30 at Wal Mart for the wheel barrow), and take it to the fence where the beds would go, and then dump it. Our beds are about 4 feet wide, 12 inches deep, and probably 50-55 feet long.
Here is one a little closer up (and probably actually taken before the one above).
We just dumped the dirt in the general area where it would go. now most people would probably make their beds first, but this is the way my husband wanted to do it so I just went along. I probably would have made the beds like the link I will post at the bottom, but his way worked just fine and I am happy with it...see, sometimes you have to compromise in a marriage and just let the man win or at least let him think he was right. :)
Then, once the dirt was placed, we took untreated cedar planks that are 6 feet long and laid them next to it.
Then he pounded wooden stakes to keep them upright and then went through and put stakes on the other side. Notice in the above picture the large sledge hammer....my husband paid a lot of money for that...its an 8 pound sledge....he said its something he always wanted....men....
Then we went through and evened out the dirt and finished it all off. It was really easy to do it his way, plus he wants to eventually replace the wood with stone, so he said this is an easy way to do that. If you come to my house in 5 years and there is still wood there, don't be too surprised, but we can dream that we will have stone there someday.
And now it is late and here was the last shot of the night as the sun went down!
I should explain that the beds do not look 12 inches deep from here...our side yard is sloped down, so the edge where the cedar is will only be about 6 inches deep but it quickly drops to 12.
So, we finished all that on Saturday and tonight we started to transplant some plants and to get things ready to plant. We have been hardening off some of the other plants so they can go out this weekend. The last average frost/freeze date of the year for us is March 3rd, so we can plant our tomatoes on Saturday!
More pictures to come as we go along....really, its been so fun. The exercise has been good...the family time has been great...and being outdoors in the lovely weather we have had has been really nice. On Saturday, it was 50 and really windy, but we just bundled up in our sweatshirts and went about our business.
Now...its planting time! More to come....
...and for those of you who could't give a hoot about gardening, don't worry, I have other things I will talk about soon...like RETREAT is in 2.5 weeks and I will have my 3 days of scrpabooking with my sisters and friends and I can't wait!
If you want a step by step instructions with pictures on how to make really nice free standing beds, here http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeandgarden/2009/02/build-your-own-raised-flowervegetable-bed/
PW does a great job of telling you how to do it.
Now plant something...its the green thing to do!