Continuing the garden design at home, raised planters

The second pair of raised garden planters are in the works. The one closest to the greenhouse is waterproofed and going to be a water garden. The rest of them will most likely hold a variety of fruits and veggies. Just out of view in front of the greenhouse will be were I plant taller plants (sunflowers and corn) and rambling vines such as pumpkin.

The construction process is rather simple (compared to some we have done) and we are always looking for new ways to do things. See further down this blog post for more details.
The photo below gives you and idea of what we are going for. There will be six planters in all and the walkways between them will be paved with square stone similar to the pergola (see label pergola to the right and down for that blog post). The middle walkway will have steps to account for the slope of the land, but the edges will not so that we can wheel in things without the obstacles of steps.

How we constructed the raised planters...
The area for the planters themselves is leveled and well compacted (so that each planter will be level with it's pair on the other side). This really frustrates our resident moles, and they make every effort to maintain their tunnels and push up the compacted soil.

After the levels have been attained the first run of blocks is mortared onto the ground and leveled one at a time. It is important to make sure this part is just about perfect, since it is where you will build from. The blocks are stacked in an alternating brick pattern to the chosen height.

After this, a layer of high strength bonding mortar is troweled over the interior and exterior of the blocks. We have been experimenting with this process occasionally to test our mortars and color blends since this initial layer gets covered over by a final stucco coat.

Then the caps are built. The first pair of planters have some concrete molded caps, made one at a time. It was fun to put leaf impressions in them, but it took a long time to make them since it was done one at a time, and we only had made 4 molds. It's a great way to get a lot more detail though.
The caps for the most recent planters were done differently. You can see in the first photo that we built the mold right around the planter walls themselves. Again, everything is carefully leveled and concrete is filled into the molds. They are finished off after a few minutes to curve the edges.

After the mold forms are removed, the surface is prepped for the final stucco coat. Rough edges are sanded down etc.

Stucco is applied to the cap first, and smoothed out as we go. When that dries, we complete the walls. The water planter was waterproofed with the same bonding mix as the first coating on the walls, we just mixed it in a black color for the interior and base.

The regular planters are lined with landscape fabric and the first part before the soil is added is a layer of broken concrete and large stones, bricks and anything else of the like that we want to dispose of. We do this as a special treat for the moles that love us so much. They cannot make it through this layer.

Soil is replaced into the planters from the areas that had been dug out to create the correct grade for them. A special organic mix is added to the top layer to promote growth and as a natural fertilizer. I have to thank my parents chickens in part for their contribution.

Those are the basics to how we did our planters.

We have much more to do this winter during the downtime for Ginkgo Landscape Design. Not the least of which is to tackle the front garden and ivy along the street. I look forward to keeping you up to date.

4 comments:

Katie Lyons said...

How exciting! Those look great. I can't wait until I have a house and yard to do fun stuff like that :)

chatond said...

I like the look of those!

Gardens by T said...

Licia,
I enjoyed reading your posts especially the garden related. Am anxious to to the raised planters when they're completed and planted.

UniqueNurseGranny said...

Wonderful work and so much work.