Step 4: Designing the Garden

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I have dirt, mulch, and a hole in the ground surrounded by a green fence. So now I need to design the garden!

My original intent was to do a 10×8 corn section, and five 1 ft horizontal rows of various vegetables in my garden. So to start, I used 70 feet of black landscape edging to line my hole. I just set it into the hole, and staked it so it stayed put.  The dirt I later used to fill in the garden holds the edging in place. Then I began marking off the areas I wanted to plant veggies in, using black garden edging.  I bought plenty of extra stakes for this process, and I had a good mallet for getting the stakes in.


When I actually began laying everything out I realized I needed my paths to be closer to 18 inches wide (vs the 12 I originally allowed for) so that I had adequate room to maneuver between rows. When I did this, I realized that horizontal rows didn’t fit right. So I switched it over to an 8×8 section of corn, and 5 vertical rows that vary between 8.5 and 10 feet long, depending on the location. I also added spots for the 2 additional tomatoes Emily gave me. I did not install the rows very straight, even though I did my best with the tape measure, but they’re functional.

Rows in the image are significantly straighter than those in real life
Rows in the image are significantly straighter than they appear in real life.

Now that the edging is set, the dirt got released! I emptied the 26-27 bags of topsoil in the walkways. Then I emptied the first 6 bags of garden soil into the planting sections.  This led to about 2 inches of dirt everywhere. At this stage, I went and got about 8 wheelbarrow fulls of mulch from my driveway. Mulch is great because weeds have a difficult time growing through it. I emptied the mulch on the walkways, which raised them up another 2-3 inches. I pulled the edging up a few inches, and filled the planting sections with the remaining garden soil. In the end, there is about 4-5 inches of soil/mulch everywhere.

build 2
Emptying dirt…

Within 36 hours,my garden went from “unsightly hole in the lawn” to “GARDEN!”.



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