How I built a garden bed wall

In my last post I shared all sorts of plans for my yard. The trouble with working on a yard is that things are rarely instantly gratifying. It’s hard to stay motivated. Especially when you have so many years worth of work ahead of you.

For example, I built a freaking wall this past weekend, and I am immensely proud of myself. Unfortunately that wall is on a pit of dirt, in front of a busted up retaining wall, so my pictures aren’t beautiful and satisfying. I’m hoping that’ll change by the end of summer.

Here’s how things looked in the yard from the start of the weekend to the end of it (part 1!):

This is how things looked when I got started on Saturday morning. Oye.

This is how things looked when I got started on Saturday morning. Oye.

Because we are on a hill our yard is two tiers, and the neighbors behind us are over 12 feet above us. It’s kind of weird. It’s a big ass hill. Also, their house is perpendicular to ours, so that’s the side of their house facing us.

Here’s another part of the yard:

More of how things looked before we got down to business. Dutch does not seem to mind.

Dutch does not seem to mind the mess.

Last summer when we sold the above ground pool we were left with all the sand that was under it and all the curved pavers that surrounded it, and instead of getting rid of them I decided to put them to use. But I’m still not going to show you what that section of the yard looks like. It’s too hideous.

To hide some of dirt pit 2 (because we can’t grow grass where it is) and some of the retaining wall (because it’s horrid looking) I decided to make a gigantic flower bed out of pool remnants. It’s about twelve feet long, 2 feet high, and 1-4 feet wide depending on the section. I used all of the pavers from around the pool and some of the sand to build my majestic “Great Wall of Sandpaper & Glue.”


Some of the pavers are very dirty because I literally had to dig them up from underground, I’m hoping a solid few rain showers will take care of that. All of them were  moved one by one BY HAND and arranged by ME! The bed has a bit of a curve to it just to make it more appealing to the eye, and is closed off at the ends with cinderblocks from other parts of the yard to make it less accessible to the dog. Yes, there are various types of cinderblocks throughout my yard. I don’t know what the previous owners were doing back there.

I don’t have in-process pictures because I was busy carrying all those blocks across the damn yard. But basically I started with about a dozen and laid them out in the general shape I wanted the wall to flow. Then I filled in the spaces between them to create the first row. The additional top two rows were just laid on top, each paver has a lip on the bottom back of it so they interlock with one another. Hint: Stack them in brick formation (like I did), not directly on top of one another, to make it more visually pleasing.

I decided to fill the bed compost style so I wouldn’t have to spend a million dollars on soil, and to make use of the never-ending leaves and sand  my yard has so graciously provided. So far I’ve got it about 1/3 filled and the layers are as follows:

  • Bottom layer: cardboard! I’ve been hoarding cardboard for months to use as a bottom layer to help prevent weeds
  • Leaves (wet, dry, crunched up, whole… whatever you’ve got!)
  • Sand (from where the pool used to be)
  • Leaves
  • Sand
  • Dirt (10 bags of topsoil at $1.50 each was enough to cover just one layer all the way across)
  • Leaves
  • Sand
  • Leaves

Yes, all that fills JUST ONE THIRD high in the bed. I’m estimating I’ll need about 25 more bags of top soil, a few more layers of dirt and leaves, and then also miracle grow for a deep top layer to ensure my plants thrive.

The sand helps to break down the leaves- step down on the bed in between each layer to flatten an even it out.

The sand helps to break down the leaves- step down on the bed in between each layer to flatten an even it out.

By the end of the day it was looking like this:

Any improvement is better then no improvement at all?

Any improvement is better then no improvement at all?

Oh, and if you’re wondering what my man Matt was doing while I was lugging around cement, here’s a hint:



Come back Friday for mold hut demolition fun times!


10 thoughts on “How I built a garden bed wall

  1. Pingback: 13 Plans for 2013: HOW I MEASURED UP | Sandpaper & Glue

  2. Pingback: High 5 for Friday: Garden Edition | Sandpaper & Glue

  3. Pingback: High 5 for Friday: Personal Improvement Edition | Sandpaper & Glue

  4. Pingback: Constructing a Cement Path | Sandpaper & Glue

  5. You guys have been very busy I see. Nice work.
    I demolished a weird hut thingy that was actually attached to the back of my house last summer. It was so nice to tear that thing to bits. 🙂 In it’s spot we built a deck I’m loving that the weather is getting nicer and we can stat doing outdoor projects!
    I can’t wait to see how this all progresses.

  6. I love love love your picture captions. “Frolicking dog” was probably my favorite. Followed by a close second “I am the strongest woman alive.” You are great. And it is looking great too! I am SO THERE with you when it comes to yard work. It’s hard to see the reward. But it’ll be there. Every little bit of work helps.

  7. You guys got some SERIOUS stuff done! I am mad impressed with your rock lifting/shack smashing skills. And I know you think it’s hideous, but I think it’s lovely and will be phenomenal when you’re all done 🙂

Comments are closed.