Building Raised Vegetable Beds

August 2, 2009 Houston, Texas USA

Project 802 is my design project to transform an abandoned space adjacent to my garage into a sustainable garden. I’m building three raised beds for vegetable growing, creating a space for potting plants, a waterlily pond, and yes, a shady spot to sit down and enjoy it all.

Project 802: Building Raised Vegetable Beds

When I first bought this house in 1992, this area was just a lawn, St. Augustine grass, to be exact. A lot of maintenance and watering to keep that lawn alive. Goodbye Lawn, Hello Garden Paradise. Discover how it was done from start to finish in chronological order. Get inspired as I have. A special thanks to Patti Moreno, the Garden Girl, Pam @ Digging and the ladies at Garden Rant for the inspiration to do this project and write about it.

The video above is made from a collage of photos spanning the entire project to give you a quick overview of how it was done.

Please feel free to post comments, suggestions and any questions you may have.

Let’s Get Started with some history of the space. The Before Pictures.

This project began on August 2, 2009 (hence the name PROJECT 802) but it really it was a long time in the making. I find it hard to believe I’ve been living in my home for 18 years and I am finally getting the garden of my dreams.

The photo below is not that garden. It was taken in July 2009 BEFORE the project began.

Garden Before Photo

Back then, I had built a tiered pond and for many years it was a lovely space. You can see what is left of them in the background of the photo above. One rectangular pond flowed into the other. I really enjoyed it. Below is a photo of what it looked liked in September 2001 in all it’s glory.

Water Garden in September 2001

I LOVE WATER LILIES. In Texas, the climate is especially suited for growing tropical lilies. The first few years, I tended to this garden, kept it up and enjoyed the water lilies. But as the years went by, it soon became a neglected JUNK yard. After Hurricane IKE in September 2008, things went down hill fast. While there are still goldfish in the first pond, it is mostly inhabited by mosquitos and very loud frogs (yes, tree frogs, bull frogs and toads). It is becoming difficult for my neighbors to sleep at night, and I’ve resorted to wearing ear plugs while sleeping (not really a good idea for safety reasons). Besides, I already have a pond on the other side of the garage for my koi. I’ll save that for another post.

Compost Bin? The photo below is not a compost bin, but rather a storage box I made to hold the heavy top soil for potting water lilies in. It has clearly seen better days. In fact I do not believe I’ve opened it in four years.


Here is the back of the garage and as you can see, the mess continues…. I can’t even get to my potting bench anymore.


It is TIME FOR A CHANGE! I’ve spent the past 6 months thinking about what I would like to do with the space. Finally, the inspiration came from Patti Moreno, the Garden Girl. After seeing her Urban Sustainable Garden, I knew that is what I wanted. A space that was useful, livable, earth-friendly and most of all, enjoyable.

So all I needed now was a Plan. That is Step One.

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