Monday, March 11, 2013

Raised Flagstone Vegetable Garden Beds

We have a perfect spot in our side yard for raised garden beds -- this area receives full sun throughout the day and in comparison with the rest of our downward-sloping yard, it is the most level.  The only downside to this spot is that it is visible from the road.  I debated building raised garden beds out of cedar or another durable wood, but worried that they wouldn't have the best curb appeal.  

That's when we realized, why not make them out of stone?  Sure, they'd be more expensive than garden beds made out of wood frames, but these would last a lifetime.

Therefore, we visited Lowe's and bought two pallet's worth of flagstones.  Three hundred and eighty four stones, to be exact.  We have a lot of red brick accents around the yard, so we chose these stones to coordinate with the rest.

These stones are 1' long and 4" tall.  Our plans were to build two raised garden beds, each approximately 10' long and 4' wide and layered with six rows of stones.

To begin, Evan and I decided where we wanted to position each garden bed in the side yard, and placed down the stones in a rectangle.

We used a right angle ruler to help us make sure our corners were square.

Once everything was set, we hammered a few scrap pieces of wood in place so once it came down to digging, we'd know where all four corners were located.

There is a slight downward slope in our side yard, so we used a long piece of scrap wood and a level to determine how many inches we'd need to dig to make the garden bed completely level.

With one row of stones on one side and two on the other, only a few inches of dirt needed to be removed from the higher 10' side of the bed to make it level.  Seeing the stones lopsided like this was a complete optical illusion at first.

Then, we dug a gradual descent on each of the 4' sides of the garden bed to ensure that the whole bed will be level.  As we dug, we moved the level down the trench to make sure that we were digging up the correct amount.

Once the first row was in place and everything was level, then it was time to stack the stones!

No mortar was necessary for these flagstones.  They were simply dry-stacked on top of one another, and we made sure to alternate the stones for each layer in a brick-like fashion to increase the wall's stability.

Once all of the stones were in place, we draped each garden bed with landscaping fabric.  I wanted to make sure no pesky weeds were going to emerge.

To fill each garden bed, we used a mixture of peat moss, peat humus, fertilizer, and vegetable garden soil.  We opted to buy it all in bags so we wouldn't have to break our backs shoveling several yards' worth of soil from our truck bed.  Let's just say it was a lot of bags.

Filling up these beds was the fun part.  Once we got near the top, I trimmed the excess landscaping fabric, and then covered the rest with a few more bags of soil.

And there you go!  Two raised vegetable garden beds, made out of stone.

I am impressed by how strong these garden beds are.  They are completely rock solid.

We may be a little overeager for first-time veggie gardeners, but we're going to try growing zucchini, squash, string beans, peas, tomatoes, carrots, corn, herbs, and (just for me) a slew of hot peppers in both of these garden beds.

We'll begin growing our veggies indoors within the next few weeks, and I can't wait to transplant them into these garden beds in the spring!  More pictures will follow to document our process.

Building these two beds was definitely a full weekend project, but we couldn't be any happier with the results.  They look even more beautiful from the road and, if anything, they boost our curb appeal.  

What do you think?


  1. It looks fantastic! What are your plans for keeping out all of the VA critters? That was always a big challenge.

    1. Thanks! I'm a little nervous about that. Our plan is Deer Off and red pepper flakes. We'll see how this first season goes, and hopefully won't have to build a fence!

  2. It looks like a wonderful idea! I wanted to put 'roses' in front of my picture window,it faces south. So we get morning sun & eve. sun. of course the idea would need to b tweeked a little as we would not need our one bed to b as big as these look. But I think your idea is great! Monday, 11 march, 2013

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