Build a Raised Herb Garden Sanctuary

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Last winter I grew a few herbs in pots, a test group to see how well I could grow them and how much I would use them. This year I've found myself cooking more and more with fresh herbs and using other fresh ingredients to flavor our meals rather than the packaged dry spices and herbs that once littered one of my cabinets. The flavor and freshness adds a completely different dimension to the food and tending to the plants makes for relaxing time outdoors.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a particularly ugly and unused corner of the backyard. Within a day I formulated my vision for that corner. That weekend, I put all together, making a raised herb garden sanctuary, a quiet corner where I can relax in the morning with a cup of coffee or in the evening while the sun sets. Why raised? I have pretty poor soil and to give the plants the best chance at success I wanted them in good soil. Here's how I did it.

Planning

This ugly corner of my yard was the target of my herb garden project.
This ugly corner of my yard was the target of my herb garden project. | Source

My space is roughly 3.5 feet by 6.5 feet, bordered on one side by the house and on two by a privacy fence. Herbs like sun, about 6 hours worth, but some such as tarragon thrive on less. This particular corner gets sun from about mid-morning to about mid-afternoon. One side gets sun right into evening.

With the spot chosen, ideal for the herbs' light needs and also out of the way of foot traffic, particularly my dogs, the next step was to figure out how raised, how wide and what materials.

All of these pavers and edgers were buried in the ugly corner.
All of these pavers and edgers were buried in the ugly corner. | Source

Shopping

Always the fun part, this project cost me under $150 including the plants. I chose to make the walls of the bed from 12" x 12" pavers. I also purchased soil and composted cow manure, the plants, marble chips and a new adirondack chair.

The Build

Pavers were used to build the wall of the raised garden.
Pavers were used to build the wall of the raised garden. | Source

1. Excavation. I say this because I had to clear the area. The home's previous owner had buried a number of large pavers and concrete edging in this corner. I'm not sure if these things were just put there when they lost their usefulness or if there was a specific reason for burying all the pavers. Either way, they had to come out. I'll end using the concrete edging somewhere or giving it away. The pavers were originally going to be a small patio within the raised beds for the chair but I've decided to make a patio elsewhere with them.

2. Build. With the ground cleared of concrete and grass and weeds, and leveled, I placed each of the new pavers about 4 -5 inches in the ground approximately 6 inches from the house and fence. I filled in the space between the bed walls and the house/fence with the manure and soil, using 4 bags of manure and 6 of soil. This I mixed well by hand and with a shovel.

The raised beds form a U shape. Within that U I put the marble chips for the seating area. This took 7 bags of chips.

4. The Finishing Touches

An herb garden isn't an herb garden without herbs. I planted basil (2, as I split the one I had), rosemary, thyme, dill, cilantro, sage, tarragon, oregano, chives and a non-herb shade plant in the one corner of the garden that will get very little sun. I have a potted aloe and a potted fern which sit at the ends of the U. And, of course, my orange adirondack chair.

With the plants in, there are only a couple of finishing touches to complete this herb garden sanctuary.
With the plants in, there are only a couple of finishing touches to complete this herb garden sanctuary. | Source

The entire build, not including shopping time, took less than 3 hours. It's a quick, easy, low cost project that has enhanced an ugly corner of my yard, given me a quiet retreat at home, and which will provide years of fresh flavor for our meals.

The Raised Herb Garden Sanctuary - Finished

With the addition of marble chips and the Adirondack chair - a little color in orange - the herb garden is complete and ready for a relaxing morning cup of coffee.
With the addition of marble chips and the Adirondack chair - a little color in orange - the herb garden is complete and ready for a relaxing morning cup of coffee. | Source

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Comments 4 comments

Mrs Jil Manning profile image

Mrs Jil Manning 4 years ago from Sussex, England

great transformation of a small space. Herbs are such a great additon to the garden for cooking and health uses. This has inspired me to make more of the space I have, thank you.


cvanthul profile image

cvanthul 4 years ago from Florida Author

Thank you so much, Jill! I love my little corner and sit there with the different herb scents every evening. I've used a bit of the basil, thyme, and dill so far but am waiting for everything to become well-established before I start using them too much.


Mariele 4 years ago

Nice! The use of the little cubby is a great idea, and it'll get some shade too.


cvanthul profile image

cvanthul 4 years ago from Florida Author

And it's a great quiet spot to sit after work and relax before cooking, exercise, picking up, etc. Love it so far. And the use of the herbs.

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