While I was busy planning for my trip to Michigan over the past few weeks, and pinning ideas to help me decorate my little brother’s new home (the trip went great by the way, on time flights to and from, awesome people seated near me on the flight, and a half empty plane on the way home with lots o’ extra space to store stuff), my husband was busy making raised garden beds using inspiration from a set of Ana White’s amazing plans. Ana White makes easy to follow plans for pretty much every piece of furniture you can think to make, and my husband has also used her plans to make floating wood shelves for Christopher’s school room (which I have yet to blog about because I haven’t found things to put on said floating shelves yet, but once I do, you’ll hear all about it). He used these plans more for inspiration than for the actual construction of our boxes, but he said that her plans would be great to follow exactly if you want a simple box.
Simple would have been great, however, because we don’t have a fenced yard, and because we’ve also seen deer and rabbits in our unfenced yard, we wanted to build a fence into the box to hopefully gain some protection from the wildlife. So, he had to modify the plans a bit. He got creative. Just wait until you see what he did with this pile of wood and fencing. Don’t mind our messy garage, it’s on our never ending list of things to do.
The biggest thing that he borrowed from Ana White’s plans was to use cedar fence planks as the foundation for his boxes. They were less than $2 per plank. He left the dog eared portion of the planks intact, since he knew he was going to be using pine boards to support the fencing he would add, so a gap wouldn’t exist, and no dirt would escape.
The thin pieces of cedar that you see at the corners and placed vertically along the boxes are cedar planks that he cut into thirds, and then ripped down to the size that he needed to give the planks some extra support, not only when he moved the box to its home in the yard, but also for when many pounds of dirt would be pressing against them.
He used the wire fencing to wrap the pine 2×4 boards, securing it into place using a staple gun along three sides of the box, leaving one of the wide sides open.
Next he constructed doors for the box, again using pine boards, secured with screws and wood glue for extra support at the joints.
More fencing was applied to the doors using a staple gun and then hinges were applied.
He then decided to apply fencing to the bottom of the box, to help keep moles and voles out. That idea came from our next door neighbor, who liked our boxes so much, that he asked my husband to make him a few, without the gate. He didn’t take a picture of that part, but he again used a staple gun to secure it.
There are two gates on each box, opening out, to allow for planting, weeding, harvesting, etc.
And when we don’t need to have access to the soil, we can just keep them closed and latched.
Once the boxes were in place in the yard, he filled them with a compost soil blend. He and our neighbor split the cost for the soil and delivery. We try to do that whenever we rent equipment or have something delivered. It saves money on delivery fees, plus, sharing is caring, or so Christopher used to remind me when he was little and wanted something of mine (like my ice cream, after he’d eaten all of his in 30 seconds, and I’d savored mine to enjoy every last bit. Of course, the same principle wasn’t always on his mind when I wanted something of his…).
The boxes he built for the neighbor look like this.
Same general principle, but no tall fencing or doors. He placed his closer to his house, so maybe wildlife will be less likely to feast on his crops. Time will tell, and then I’ll tell you. The fencing was the most expensive part of the project, so if the neighbor’s stuff survives unscathed, we will feel better about constructing any future boxes without it, and you can take that knowledge into consideration as well, and maybe save yourself some money.