What I really wanted was a courtyard feel, with the ability to grow vegetables, pot plants, and putter around in my private space.

I measured the entire space and jotted everything down, and headed to my computer.

September 18, 2012 By Jackie D'Elia


I was able to put together this plan in about 3 hours and played with it for a few days more. I moved the elements, checked the measurements, etc. Don’t use Pea Gravel as a base to walk on, unless it is very thin. I made the mistake of putting down pea gravel in the space about 2 year ago, thinking that would be easy to walk on, and keep the weeds out

IT DID NEITHER. It was so uncomfortable to walk on, that I abandoned the space. It was like walking in a kids play ground where they keep the swings! To add insult to injury, I then bought a pallet of flagstone thinking I could make a walk way that would help. WHAT A TOTAL MESS. I gave up and shut the gate for nearly two years!

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Filed Under: All Time Favorite Posts, Experimenting with Photography

I downloaded a trial copy of SMARTDRAW. It was pretty easy to use right from the start.

September 10, 2017 By Jackie D'Elia


This new design will provide that. Notice the round pond in the new design? This idea came from Pam Penick at Digging. She gardens in Austin, Texas and writes about it. If you have not visited her blog, you are missing something very special. She recently built a pond from an 8 foot stock tank. See it here. What an great idea. I was really going to miss the water lilies in the garden. Now, they can stay and it will be a lot easier to take care of, above ground.

Patti made it look so easy. If she could do it, so could I. I made a trip to Lowe’s and purchased untreated pine lumber. I do not recommend using treated lumber in raised beds. We do not want any nasty chemicals leaching into our organic soil. They cut the wood for free and helped me load it the back of my SUV. All I needed to do when I got home, was to predrill the holes and screw the boxes together.

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Filed Under: All Time Favorite Posts, Compost, My Livable Garden

I only had 7 days for the trial, so I had to get this done pretty quick.

June 30, 2017 By Jackie D'Elia


First, predrill the holes. I used a bit that was about the same width as the deckscrews I bought. I stacked all of the 4 foot long boards next to me. They’re easier to handle than the 8 foot long boards. Then I placed a 12 inch long 2×4 board under each end of the first board. I used a folded piece of cardboard for a knee pad. It did help a little, but knee pads would have been better. vegetable soil mixFull of rich composted matter, sand and topsoil.

I sent a sample off the Soil Laboratory at Texas A M for testing. It is a good idea to test your soil before starting your garden, so you’ll have a chance to amend the soil if needed. I do not expect I will need to do that, but we’ll wait for the results. Here is the website (Soil, Water and Forage Testing Laboratory) that has the information, forms and instructions for sending in your soil.

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I chose the Urban Soil Submittal form for homeowners. In the winter, the sun will travel across the southern sky and by building this trellis at the northern most side of the all three beds, there is nothing behind it, so I do not have to worry about the shade behind the trellis.

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