Laying down in beds

Nature abhors bare earth and who am I to argue with that.  So not long after the bulldozer finished bulldozing I set to work laying out my garden.  It is such a momentous thing.  I have been dreaming about it for months and months.   Fortunately, the vision in my head is flexible as it has needed to morph into something else a couple of times.   But it is still there and essentially it is still in line with my initial imaginings when I first laid eyes on the place and agreed to let Hubby the Un-Gardener drag me away from my old garden.

blank canvas

After I defined the boundaries I could see what I was working with…

Once the site was cleared of grass to a point determined to be clean sand, I grabbed a tape measure and took stock of my space.   I think this is why I need glasses.   I thought the plot was short and wide, but it turns out, it is long and narrow-ish.  Goodness me, how do I get on in life?   This meant a quick trip back to the drawing board to rejig my plan.  The plan I had held dear for a month or so as the ideal way it should be.

I attempted to start again from scratch, but I couldn’t tear myself away from what I had already decided.  So, I just did a bit of tweaking and massaging and some shuffling and it all fell into place without changing the essence of the original design.   Armed with a fresh print out of the garden, I grabbed some string and some stakes and attempted to mark it all out.

The old plan

It turns our the old plan wasn’t going to fit in the space I had. Back to the drawing board!

It turns out string lines aren’t my forte either.  I had no way of guaranteeing they were at exact right angles and with maths not a strong point, couldn’t seem to figure it out.  With the project as big as it was any error would be extrapolated out into disaster.   It didn’t take long to abandon the string.  I did have a large metal set square thing which was a little help but could only go so far.

There was only one thing for it…  to lug all the wood over to the garden and lay it down where it was destined to be.  That way I can see it all for myself and do any shuffling required.  I started by laying out the outside edge, followed by several across the middle to make sure it would all fit.  But the lack of surety that it was straight and square really bothered me.

String line

I don’t even think this string line is straight, but how can you tell?

So, I started again, grabbed the string again and put a line across the base of the garden and begun to layout the front row.   The lack of an anchor point – something to measure off, still bothered me.  I looked up and stretched my aching muscles from all the unnecessary lumber lugging and I saw my answer.  The house!

String line

Now this line is true, because I measured it off the house.

All I needed to do was to measure the distance from the house, across the soon to be lawn, to the edge of the garden.  The house was laid straight in the landscape as determined by surveyors and engineers at great cost.  So piggy backing off their work would ensure my garden would be straight too!  I used this measurement to create a string line I knew I could trust and laid the front ends of the first row of beds with confidence.

laying out the garden

I accidentally discovered the planks locked together when laid out in a certain order. making it easy to line it all up.

Then using the large metal set square, I laid the first sides.   I wanted the gap between the beds to also be uniform and measured my cart to make sure it was wide enough – and some.  I bent down between the beds and pretended to garden to ensure it would be comfortable for long periods of gardening business.  So, using the beds themselves and the spacer board I began laying it all out.

laying out the garden

There is nothing like looking back on a hard days work and seeing all you have achieved.

I was excited to discover that if I laid it all out in a certain way the boards could be locked together and adjusted with the gentle tap of a hammer.  There wasn’t a lot of movement at all and I felt confident there was little or no extrapolated drift from the original string line.  It isn’t very conventional, but when have I ever been one to follow instructions.  Proper builders may be horrified at my techniques, but they work for me.

Seeing it all laid out fills my heart with joy.  All I need to do now is join them together and fill them with earth and plant them out.  Simple aye?!

Come again soon – construction is underway.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

16 Comments on “Laying down in beds

  1. Looks huge, and amazing! A fresh project is so intoxicating! Are you utilizing the same “tend certain sections” schedule for the new garden? Do you have critters that will require fencing?

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    • I don’t think I’d be able to tackle a big garden without my sector system. I think I may need fences as I’ve seen rabbits about and I’m told there are deer! : o)

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  2. Wow! Way too fancy for my taste. We lack the resources, and if we did not, I would allocate them elsewhere.
    One of our renovation projects generated a huge pile of soil that looks really good, like yours, and we now want to use it to cover lesser quality soil somewhere. I will probably contain it with logs from trees that were cut down. I know it sounds temporary, but we want nothing to be so permanent. So many of the guys who work there want to grow vegetables, and then add elderberries figs and so on, just stuff that grows easily there.

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  3. This is amazing! I love your ambition and your dogged determination. I shy away from any sort of measuring or checking layouts so am impressed.

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    • My last garden was wonderfully wonky, but I could get away with it as it was reclaimed wood. So it needs to look sort of straight this time. I’m really enjoying this part of the process…. actually I’m enjoying the whole process! : o)

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