Garden Ideas: Backyard Ideas, Raised Beds

Garden Ideas

Hello and Welcome to the Garden Ideas module at My name is Dave Christensen. Let me begin by with a couple of disclaimers.

I am not a horticulturist, Garden Ideas: Backyard Ideas, Raised Bedsnor am I a landscape architect.  My wife, JoAnne, and I have been homeowners for over 35 years.  We have learned some things about gardening and planting over the years we feel could benefit those just starting out.  A planting a home garden is not only personally rewarding.  Adding shrubs, trees and flowers to your backyard and front yard adds to the value of your home.  It is also a home maintenance item, so go slowly.  It can become overwhelming.

I have had a small garden since I was about 10 years old.  It began with our next door neighbor, Mrs. Denham, when I was a kid.  She was getting up there in years and couldn’t turn over the soil very well anymore.  She offered to guide me in planting a small garden in her backyard in exchange for my help to turn over the soil and help with the hoeing and weeding.  So, in her yard I was growing vegetables: tomatoes, beans, and a few flowering plants.  Except for the years I was in the Air Force, I have planted a garden every year since.

I hope to adequately convey some of the positive aspects of gardening to those beginners who are contemplating having a garden for the first time.  Along the way my goal is also to explore what to do and what not to do, so-to-speak, in an effort to shorten the learning curve involved in any new endeavor.

I expect to include a wide variety of topics surrounding the general Gardening theme.  Check the ‘Categories‘ list for topics and check back often for updates.  Some examples of possible topics for future Posts in the Garden Category may include:

  • ‘How-to’ items: garden planting, gardening tips, container garden, plant for fall, how to mulch, evaluate soil, Start Seeds, attract Hummingbirds
  • How to Build: a fence, a Garden Gate, a Raised Garden, a Garden Shed, a rock wall, a patio
  • Tutorial: on Mushroom Mulch
  • Guide to: Planting, planting in the fall, Worm composting
  • Learn: grasses types
  • Do-it-yourself (DIY): shrubs & trees, Garden Path, Build with Rock
  • Remove: Garden Pests
  • Get rid of: pests

Garden Ideas and its sub-topics are many.  We only touched on a few in the paragraph above.    I hope to be able to fill more than a few posts with that subject matter.

The starting point for all gardens is putting some thought into its location. of course if you are on a small city lot, there may be only one place to put it -and that is fine.  If you have ample space, the obvious place to place your garden is in the full sun, if possible.  Partial sun is OK.  Even shade is OK, although you will need to adjust your choice of plants to those which need less sun.

If your new garden location is in a spot currently grassed over (part of your lawn) you will need to embark upon one of the more difficult tasks for a new garden.-turning over the soil.

In planting, one of the challenges of a small garden is to keep enough space between plants.  In the beginning the plants we get from the nursery are very small and it is tempting to place them close together.  With tomato plants, as an example, a space of about three (3) feet between plants is recommended, if not more.  If you have a large garden, four feet is good.  It will be easier later to harvest the tomatoes, to keep weeds in check and to water the plants if they are not on top of each other.  It will also promote good air circulation around the plants if they are not on top of each other.

A larger space will give you the opportunity to do a little landscaping and design which may include some strategically located shrubs, perennials or trees, a garden path, perhaps made of paving stone, paving brick or patio blocks.  Or, you may wish to put down a border to outline each side of the pathway and put down some pea gravel or crushed marble or brick chips, etc.

If you do have ample space, some shrubs and a bird bath or garden fountain is a nice touch.  It looks good, the water fountain provides a relaxing ambiance and it may attract birds, butterflies and the like.

Check the posts connected with this ‘Garden Ideas’ page often, if you can -for updates.

Here’s a couple of great resources we’ve found for Home and Garden:

Plant Nutrients

Home and Landscape

Nursery Ideas

Landscape Ideas

Gardening Ideas


Planting Guide

2 thoughts on “Garden Ideas”

  1. You can easily add beauty and function to your home yard by using plants that work as foundation, grouping or blooming plants but that also produce fruit of edible vegetation. A good example of this is the creeping raspberry which can act to cover hot variable soils where many other plants will fail and also produces an edible fruit. You might not get a huge harvest if your aim is also aesthetic, but you will most definitely get more than if you plant only for looks. For many suburbanites this might be the more easily accepted step.

  2. Good day Dave

    When I was a little guy we had a huge garden that feed us for most of the winter and the preserves were always such a treat throughout the winter.

    We started gardening once we were able to purchase our home and now we even have a vegetable garden.

    I like your idea of having raised beds. Our vegetable garden is right in the ground and this year, being the year with the most rain we’ve every had, it’s getting drowned out, even though it has been draining well.

    I think I will convert it into raised beds for next year.

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