raised planter bed along fence

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  #1  
Old 04-03-09, 09:54 AM
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raised planter bed along fence

I have a small (about 16'x16') backyard that is boring. It is fenced all around (6' tall) and is just a flat piece of (mostly green) grass. I was looking to add some interest and wanted to do a slightly raised planter bed along one side of the yard (that would get good sun). My only problem is thinking of a good way (that is not too expensive) for containing the planter bed along the fence so it won't have soil on the fence and rot eventually. I was thinking of using a Keystone (or similar product) for the front side of the bed since that is what you will see, but that seems an expensive way on the backside against the fence (which will never be seen).

Any thoughts? Just looking to have the bed raised 6"-12" above the yard for better drainage for the plants (flat yard, no drainage, clay soil).

Thanks,
Neil
 
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  #2  
Old 04-03-09, 11:29 AM
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Hi Neil,

You would need some type of self contained box. Any soil, even if you use a pond liner between the soil and the fence, will put alot of pressure on your fence and eventually it will become misshapen.

Better to get interest with shrubs of different heights, leaf textures, shapes and colors. If you planted something tall and thin in front of the fence such as a sky pencil holly (gets 2' wide), then planted something round that won't get more then 2' or 3' wide, you could then plant flowers/bulbs in front of that. The difference in the size and shape of the leaves and shrubs will add depth. What you plant will depend on the sun conditions for each area of the fence.

These pictures are in reverse of what you would see, but you get the idea.
http://cat.hollyridgeonline.com/imag...aSkyPencil.jpg
http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pro...203ca0_300.jpg

I'm not keen on the severe contrast of the white rocks here, and everything is immature, but something on this order.
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2343/...1e6680.jpg?v=0

Skyrocket juniper aka Juniperus virginiana 'Skyrocket' could also be a good choice, depending on the sun conditions. Here it's pared with the dwarf nandina (red shrubs).
http://www.conifer.com.au/objectlibrary/1470

The above juniper can also be pared with Ilex crenata 'Soft Touch' aka soft touch holly which can grow 3' wide and 2' tall.
http://ronrothman.com/public/albums/...soft_touch.jpg

Newt
 
  #3  
Old 04-03-09, 12:34 PM
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Newt,
Thanks for the reply. I was actually looking at the Sky Pencil earlier this morning as I was researching. I guess the reasons I was looking at a raised planter bed was 1) to get it above the level of the rest of my yard. The soil is clay, soggy, as doesn't drain extremely well (although I am trying to amend it every year by aerating and adding organic compost), and 2) since the native soil is poor, if I raise the bed I put put in better soil and mix it with what is there. With such a small yard, I don't have anywhere to place anything that I might need to dig out. I also like the way a nice little wall provides a neat edge to the bed.

I would have shrubs of different height for interest and color, but didn't want (or think it best) to place a mulched area next to the fence (where it might wash out some under the fence) without something as a barrier to protect the wood.

-Neil
 
  #4  
Old 04-03-09, 01:53 PM
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I did something similar to what you are talking about. In retrospect, I wish I had put more thought into waterprevention against the fence, but its a little late now.

What I did was use treated 1"x6" boards and screwed them to the existing fence, and went about 9" deep below the fence. Then, I used timbers in front to hold it all in. The timbers are held in the ground with these large spikes made for concrete. They are 3/4" in diamater but they pounded in really well to the ground and gave it a nice, solid feel to it.

Here is the picture that helps explain it all better:



What I would do differently:

Use a water barrier against the fence such as a 4 mil or 6 mil plastic sheet that could be stapled to the treated lumber. This would keep the dirt in place and keep more moisture off the wood to preserve it for longer.
 
  #5  
Old 04-03-09, 01:56 PM
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Oh, yeah, I would make sure and caulk all of the cracks between the timers on the front so that weeds did not grow into them. I did not do that but I have only had 2 weeds in several years.
 
  #6  
Old 04-03-09, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by rockford33 View Post
Newt,
Thanks for the reply.
You are very welcome!

With such a small yard, I don't have anywhere to place anything that I might need to dig out.
Maybe you could put down a tarp in the center of the yard and pile your supplies on that.

I also like the way a nice little wall provides a neat edge to the bed.
Another option would be a dropped lawn edge and/or some type of hardscape border.
http://www.hgtv.com/home-improvement...ion/index.html

Then there's concrete edges, poured or in segments, but the poured might be too much for a small yard.
http://images.google.com/images?hl=e...-8&sa=N&tab=wi


... but didn't want (or think it best) to place a mulched area next to the fence (where it might wash out some under the fence) without something as a barrier to protect the wood.
If you use shredded mulch you shouldn't have much, if any, wash away. You could use a root barrier between the bed and the fence.
http://www.lawnbeltusa.com/NEW6.jpg

Newt
 
  #7  
Old 06-20-09, 11:11 AM
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Ok, so I have finally started my planter bed project. I am making it out of 1x6 pressure treated wood with 4x4 posts to hold it together. It is an L-shape, with a 45 degree angle at the joint of the L. I have a Nanho Purple Butterfly Bush which will get planted, and planning on two White Obedient plants also.

The problem I have now is that I want to waterproof the wood for some extra protection. I know it is pressure treated, but since it will be right up against the fence (about a 1/2 inch away), I won't have the chance to do anything more once it is in place. With all of the rain and humidity lately, the wood has not dried out enough for me to waterproof it (for those wondering, I am using Acri-Soy for environmental friendliness and hope to have enough to do my fence and driveway!). Any way to dry it out? It has been sitting in my garage for 3 weeks and still feels slightly damp.

I was also planning on putting a plastic liner on the inside of the wood to further protect it from damp soil and keep the soil from coming through any gaps in the wood. Any drawbacks to that? I just wonder if condensation will build up between the wood and plastic liner.

I'll post before and after pics when I get it done (if it ever stops raining!).

Thanks,
Neil
 
  #8  
Old 06-21-09, 08:52 PM
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Neil, if you are using pressure treated wood that is rated for ground contact, you shouldn't have to worry about the soil against it. You can line it with landscape cloth so the soil doesn't wash through the cracks, but water does escape. It's like felt and has a long life.

I know what you mean about the rain. The only thing I can think of to dry out the wood would be heaters, but you'd have to be very careful with those. After all, they dry the wood in a kiln.

Would love to see pics when you're done.

Newt
 
  #9  
Old 09-29-09, 07:09 PM
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Ok, finally got around to taking some pictures. The butterfly bush wasn't too happy with being in its container for a couple of months, but a month or so after being in its new home, it started to show life. Now with all of the rains we have had in the past few weeks, it looks to be doing well. The Harbour Dwarf Nandinas on either side of it are doing well also. Drip irrigation system is in and working (haven't needed it much with the rains though!). Hope you enjoy the pictures. Next year a bird bath, bird feeder, some groundcover, and a couple of specimen plants in the other corner of the yard. That one will probably be at ground level.





Thanks,
Neil
 
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