I have mentioned this before but not gotten to it yet. Real life sometimes
What i want is to build a flush to the ground, and open to the ground at the
bottom, TALL LONG raised garden. I am looking at 36ft long, about 2ft tall,
and about 2ft deep.
Short of 144 cinderblocks, how would the rest of you go about this? The
height is so I dont have to bend over much (back issues) but also it will
raise the plants so they will look nice through the screened porch (unit
going flush to the wall of a long screened porch with a 3ft retainer wall
and screen above).
So far ideas are to make basic wood frame and set it on an outer rim of
cinderblock to keep the wood out of the damp. Also, lining with heavy
industrial plastic in layers so the dirt doesnt leach out too bad.
Well south of you. Norfolk area. Because it's much hotter here, open at
the bottom is a good idea so ground water leaches up gently at the worst of
the day. Unlike you, we get significant periods of 95F or more from late
I'm very used to container gardening, having lived much of my life in
apartments with no other options. The only thing optional about the height
of this unit, is if I want it taller.
Suggest if you are looking to do that much work, you look into going to
hydroponic gardening, which is quite amenable to raised, terraced and
other odd configurations, is not at all difficult and has the advantages
of significantly lower water consumption, and lower weeding and
maintenance as well.
I was planning to do exactly that before I became disabled.
The first problem is the soil at the base of the garden.
It needs to be covered by a lining. Plastic is good, old
newspaper (8-10 pages thick) is cheaper. Then you are
looking a more then a cubic yard of dirt (Heavy labor).
How you frame it is a matter of personal preference.
The major problem with personal preference only occurs
if you are shacked-up with a woman. Now if you are a
tough guy like me, you will do as she says. My woman
(who had the nerve to think she had naming rights on
my children) insisted on a wooden frame stained in a
lighter color then the brick.
Before I became disabled, I had both an outdoor garden
and a hydroponics indoor garden. Larger tomatoes and
peppers indoors. Not rabbits or deer indoors.
But, a hydroponics garden outdoors? Some may, but not I.
Not too much for the cinderblocks concept since they are nothing short
of butt ugly. My preference would be to build the basic structure
using stones and base filled with loose rocks for first 12 inches then
fill with well draining soil misture. I have done a similar
configuration that also used a number of boulders as well. Using the
boulders allows for creation of some additonal texture to the system.
Use the spaces between some of the stones for planting some small trim
plants such as small ferns. Its hard to say exactly what the design
should look like but with the length you are talking about (36ft) try
to give it some character instead of making it a long wall. Use the
mesh fabric to line and it will retain the dirt without any problem.
Grin, was going to paint them dark brown then let the 15YO decorate them
with painted flowers and such.
Sounds nice! Bit beyond us though. This isnt a rocky area of the country
so I'd have to buy the 'boulders'. Also, was thinking if it's open to the
dirt below, will get ground water leaching up which is what we need here. I
will need to mortar the blocks at the back (against the house) as we also
need a sort of water retaining wall there. Not bad just yet, but in time
the water spilling to the porch will damage the exterior wall. We checked
and the damage is minimal as of yet. Specs from contractors show we really
need a retainer wall there, or we need to re-landscape the whole back yard.
It doesnt need to be a high one. 8 inches will be more than enough. Figured
i may as well make it something useful ;-)
Plastic should work too though right? See, I have lots of that already so
wouldnt need to buy anything.
buffalo ny: this monster has to be set back onto your property as
required by your local law. how expensive will it be regarding its
foundation and drainage? adding this anywhere near your home's
foundation will create moisture issues. explore the the earth type,
water table, rainfall, and each pint of water it holds is a pound
added to the weight of the dry dirt. now my back hurts! maybe
substitute some sheer decorative quick drying curtains for the
screened porch? -b
Good points but the case is a bit different here and we checked on that.
Code spc here is if the structure can be moved and isnt within 4 feet of the
street, it's legal (no permit required either). Leaving it open to the
ground below means the dirt will settle a bit but the water will flow down
The moisture issue is the main concern and this is the recommended fix ;-)
By eyeball, my yard looks pretty flat but actually, on the backside its the
low point on all sides to the neighbors so I get all their runoff hitting to
the back of the house then flowing down the sides and to the front. (where
we are the high ground so it runs off very well to the storm drains).
One of the specs has a very interesting price to build the base for us then
we do the wood frame ontop and dirt fill. In that case, they even dig and
refoot that section (older code had less footing than new code). We are
highly considering have them re-foot that area then make the back side of
the mortared block needed, then we finish the rest off. They even agreed to
bag up the 'dirt' dug out into heavy weight plastic bags that we can then
use as some of the planter filler (mixed with garden soil bags and peat
Oh, OP mentions this is a lot of dirt to handle for something this size and
I agree, but the local box store delivers for 70$ per load (1 big flatbed
truck) and will stack the stuff in the back yard for no extra charge.
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