Deuce Cities Henhouse

DIY Trellis and Planter Box Tutorial

Hey Guys! It’s Monday. I know, sometimes Monday’s are the worst, but I’m hoping that this post will bring a cool vibe to the beginning of yer weeks. Today I’ve got a really awesome DIY to share with you and a super sweet BLACK+DECKER AutoSense cordless drill giveaway!

I spent the afternoon yesterday building a trellis-planter-box combo for our backyard. Some of you know that I’ve been trying to pretty up the concrete pad that we recently enclosed when we installed our new fence. The kids play back there all the time – which is fantastic – but the space needs a little softening up. I thought a planter box with trellis would be a good solution as it would help add height and greenery without taking up valuable play space. It’s also on casters so it can be moved easily if needed. Word up to thinking ahead!

DIY Trellis and Planter Box Tutorial

DIY Trellis and Planter Box Tutorial

Supply List
(Supplies for Trellis & Planter Box)

5 – 2″ x 8″ x 32″ Douglas Fir Boards
4 – 2″ x 8″ x 10.25″ Douglas Fir Boards
14 – 1″ x 2″ x 32′ Strips
2 – 1″ x 2″ x 64″ Strips
4 -2″ x 2″ x 12″ Strip
1 Box 1-1/4″ Screws
1 Box 2-1/4″ Screws
A set of 4 Rubber Casters
BLACK+DECKER AutoSense Lithium Drill
Drill Bits

DIY Trellis and Planter Box Tutorial

Attach four 2 x 2 x 12″ posts to one 2 x 8 x 32″ board
Attach the four 12″ post to each of the corners. Drill pilot holes through the bottom of the long board and into the posts, then attach with a 2-1/4″ screw.
Attach boards to create a box
Begin to attach the boards, start by drilling pilot holes through the board into the post behind it, then attach with a 2-1/4″ screw.
Continue to attach boards
Use the remainder of your 2 x 8 x 32″ boards and your 2 x 8 x 10.25″ boards, attaching the shorter borders on the side and the longer boards to the front and back.

BLACK+DECKER AutoSense Drill

This BLACK+DECKER Lithium Drill made the job really easy because you don’t have to set anything! This project requires a lot of drill bit-changing – which would normally be a pain in the butt – but the Lithium Cordless Drill with AutoSense makes it easier. It has two modes, drill and drive. In drive mode, a microprocessor continuously measures the tool’s performance. As the screw enters the material there is a rapid change in its torque profile. The microprocessor analyzes the rate of change and stops most screws flush with the material within three milliseconds. Basically you don’t have to constantly switch from drill mode to setting the torque, all you have to do is push a button.

I’ve stripped a lot of screws in my day trying to figure out the right torque to use for a specific project, this drill takes the worry out of all that business.

DIY Trellis and Planter Box Tutorial

See how fast that was? This planter box is built, on to the trellis!


Jamz: “Dream Team” from Lazerbeak – used with permission.
For the trellis you will be using your two 1 x 2 x 64″ pieces of lumber as well as your twelve 1 x 2 x 32″ pieces. It would be smart to consider using a jig for your spacing. I used a leftover piece of 2 x 2 for the smaller spacing and a piece of lumber cut to a width of 3.75″ for the larger space. You can see in the above video how I attached the pieces of wood and how easy it was to do with the BLACK+DECKER drill.

It should be noted that I spaced by longer wood pieces 8.5″ inside of the 32″ pieces. I also started the pattern 2″ from the top of the trellis. The pattern consisted of 4 groups of boards (2 groups of 3 and 2 groups of 4) all spaced with with the 3.75″ jig. Each individual group of boards was then spaced using the 2 x 2″ jig.

You can be creative here and don’t have to follow my pattern to a T. Do you!

DIY Trellis and Planter Box Tutorial

Using a Jig to space the trellis
Here’s an example of how my jig worked. It helped to evenly and consistently space the trellis boards without having to measure every time.
Attach the Trellis to the inside of the planter box
Attach the trellis 8″ into the planter box using 4 screws to increase the stability. It was easy to do this with the trellis tipped on the side. We also removed one of the front pieces of lumber from our planter box while we attached the trellis. This drill is so light weight and easy to use, Finn was able to use the BLACK+DECKER cordless drill like a bawse.
Attach Casters to the bottom of the Planter Box
I would highly recommend adding some casters to the bottom of your planter box, although it’s not required. The casters will allow you to easily move your new and very heavy planter box. Also, if you wanna be a real good gardener make sure to add some drainage holes to the bottom of the planter box.

DIY Trellis and Planter Box Tutorial

I wanted our box to contrast the white siding of our garage so Finn and I went to town and stained it using Minwax Gel stain in Brazillian Redwood. We didn’t use the highest quality lumber for this job, and I figured a good staining would make it look a bit more fancy. This was my first time staining anything! It’s practice for the fence-staining project coming later this summer ;)

DIY Trellis and Planter Box Tutorial

DIY Trellis and Planter Box Tutorial

DIY Trellis and Planter Box Tutorial

I planted a Clematis, but am not sure how it will do over the summer or the winter. If it doesn’t make it I’ll try an annual seed next time. I’m also going to make another one of these flower boxes so I have two flanking the white wall of the play zone.

The Budget & Source List

▽ 2 – 2″ x 8″ x 8′ Douglas Fir Boards – $11.52
▽ 6 – 1″ x 2″ x 8′ Poplar Strips – $4.66
▽ 1 -2″ x 2″ x 8′ Poplar Strip – $1.42
▽ 1 Box 1-1/4″ Screws – $7.98
▽ 1 Box 2-1/4″ Screws – $6.99
▽ A set of 4 Rubber Casters – $9.96
▽ Stain – $6.99

Total = $49.52



BLACK+DECKER AutoSense Drill
How do I enter?
The cool folks at BLACK+DECKER want you to have one too! All you have to do is visit the BLACK+DECKER site. Leave a comment (by Wednesday, June 25 – 5pm CST), telling me your favorite feature of the AutoSense Drill and how that feature would help you tackle your next project and make your drilling life easier! I’ll randomly choose one of you, and then blamo, you’ll have a cool new drill.

The giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Marlys who says that having this drill will save her a lot of swearing. Swearing is always fun though, right?

This Post Has Been Sponsored By BLACK+DECKER
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Vegetable Gardens Need Love Too.

Budz! You may remember a few weeks ago when the kid and I built an addition to our raised bed garden scene. The seedlings are all starting to grow and the new raised bed garden is coming along nicely. However, the raised bed gardens on the side of my house are lacking landscaping and general prettiness. Right now it looks like we just dropped a few raised beds in the yard, which we kinda did.

It turns out that mowing around raised bed gardens is not easy. I mean, I could buy a cool weed wacker but where’s the fun in that? I can’t pass up an opportunity to add yet another garden to this smallish city lot. So it’s on – a new garden for my gardens.

I’ve decided to meld things together a bit by adding edging around the gardens, see below for the plan to get the big picture. I would like to make a garden for the veggie garden. I know you guys, maybe it seems a bit excessive, but I can’t just let it stay the way it is. This could be the perfect opportunity to make that super quaint urban garden and pretty up the side of our house, highlighting it as a welcoming entrance to the backyard.

I’d like to use edging and make a new small border around the vegetable gardens removing the grass that causes me trouble mowing. The edging would follow the contour of the house as well as the contour of the foundation garden that runs along the side of our house. Between the veg gardens and the house there would be a meandering stone pathway sunk into the lawn. It would still be easily mowed over because it would be flush with the grass. There is a large dog wood that drapes over the “entrance” to the side yard and would frame out the entrance to the vegetable gardens creating a natural arbor. It will be bawse, I promise.

My dream plan is to start with mulch around the raised beds but after a few years have natural ground cover – heavy on the thyme, but also incorporating creeping Jenny (aka golden moneywort), stone crop and sedum to cover the border around the raised bed garden. Ideally I want ground cover that relates to the vegetable garden so using low lying perennial herbs would be a sweet idea. Towards the front of the house I would consider planting ginger or maybe a lavender plant if I could find one that was Minnesota hardy. You get what I’m throwing down my friends? I want a tailored garden this practical and pretty. This garden flanking a garden would create a sweet and lush pathway to our backyard. It would perfectly nestle our veggie gardens gardens and relate them to the rest of our gardens and flower beds. Woah, I just like, said “gardens” a lot.

To start I’ll have to dig out the grass. This is probably the number one reason why I haven’t just jumped into this project yet. Removing grass for lawns is always a super huge pain in the ass. First of all, it takes a lot of time, it’s super dirty and then you have to figure out how dispose of the grass/dirt. I could lay down plastic weed barrier killing the grass, but I don’t think that would be practical considering my main objective is to someday have ground cover. The barrier would not allow access for the ground cover to root and spread. So I have to dig up that grass.

Next I’ll put down one of those plastic edging thingies. I know, they are not pretty, but until I can invest in something hotter it will have to do. Once the soil is ready I’ll add mulch and ground cover. I’ll also sink in stepping stones and add two large pieces of blue stone in between the two gardens. Finding the motivation and the time is the first step.

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Boulevard Garden : Year 2

Midwestern Boulevard Garden
Hey Guys! So if you’ve been following along with the blog you may remember last year when I overhauled the boulevard garden. I had originally planted the garden in 2010, but I had no idea what I was getting into. The garden was not thriving and poorly organized. At the beginning of last summer I came up with a new boulevard plan and began ripping out the old garden, leaving what worked but adding a lot of new plants.

The boulevard garden has been my biggest gardening challenge – a definite exercise in trial and error. There are a lot of gardening obstacles when it comes to boulevard gardening. As common on many boulevards, we have a tree (maple) with a big root system, many of the roots hang out close to the surface of the garden making it difficult for plants to grow. In the winter our Minneapolis boulevards are piled high with snow and the salt used on the streets affects the acidity of the soil. Water is necessary for any garden but on the boulevard rain water repels off the boulevard making its way to sewer drains without having a chance to deeply soak the soil. It takes some foresight to consider irrigation and plan trenches to keep mulch and water inside the garden so it’s not spilling into the street and sewers. It sucks, but some people don’t give a shit about my garden, they throw trash and cigarettes butts in it, and they walk right over plants – it’s just the risk we have to take for a pretty boulevard. Lastly, boulevards and weeds are BFF’s, it’s a constant struggle to keep them looking tidy, neat, and dandelion free.

So I’ve learned a few things a long the way, and I thought I’d share a little of what has been working for me.

Midwestern Boulevard Garden
I was so happy and surprised this spring to see a lot of my garden returning and looking more hardy then I had ever seen it. I did have a few casualties but they were minor – I honestly expected most of the garden to be gone like had happened in the past. The Iris are very happy on the boulevard, I wish they bloomed all summer because I would fill the garden with them – as it is, I already have too many. All of my ground cover came back, I used Golden Money wort and Purple Lamium throughout the garden. The Sedum are thriving, and the Dianthus have doubled. The Phlox also survived the winter and I’m anticipating mid-summer blooms. In my experience Salvia is nearly indestructible and seems to be right at home on the boulevard. The Blue Fescue did pretty well, out of the six I planted, one of them is looking worse for wear. I’m gonna see if he can come around over the next few weeks, but if not, I will replace him. The biggest causality were a few Hostas that I had planted near the base of the tree. I replaced them with Lupine this spring and amended the soil with plenty of compost. I hope they are happy here, but am prepared to see them only for a season. This is the trickiest spot in the garden.

I waited a long while before I tidied up the garden this year. The boulevard maple was dropping all of it’s seeds and flowers, all lime green in color. I didn’t want to spent the time cleaning the garden just to have it littered with that tree’s filth – “How dare you, Tree!” I spent the last few days doing some intense weeding, pulling the weeds up from their roots. This is the key to weeding, you need to get the roots out of your garden or they will grow back within days. I also took my edger and dug a 3″ trench around the perimeter of the garden allowing a place for the mulch to collect when it rains so it doesn’t skim off into the street and sidewalks. I mulched well, covering a bit more than I do in my normal flower beds (about 2″). I really want the plants roots to be shaded and cool. The deep covering of mulch will allow for good water retention as well. I’ve also made a promise to this garden and tree that I will water it twice a week all summer long. I highly neglected it in the past, I’m going to do right by this garden this year. I’m going for an even prettier and happy boulevard garden in 2015!

Midwestern Boulevard Garden

Midwestern Boulevard Garden
The Iris and Salvia next to a stone pathway.

Midwestern Boulevard Garden
Blue Fescue in the foreground, Sedum, Dianthus and Iris towards the back.

Midwestern Boulevard Garden

Midwestern Boulevard Garden

Midwestern Boulevard Garden
Here’s to hoping this new Lupine is happy hear on the boulevard.

So I wanna know, what works best in your boulevard garden? What are your experiences – I’m sure readers who are wanting to try their hand at a boulevard garden would love to hear your take on it. I’m looking to add some late summer blooming plants – any recommendations on what would do well here?

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My May Garden

Bleeding Heart

Friendz! I’m so excited that it’s Friday, and I am even more excited that spring has finally hit the midwest. Like always, we go from cold to hot and steamy in a matter of days, but whatever! I’m just glad it’s jorts weather, ya know?! I’ve been spending a lot of time tidying up the gardens over the last few weeks and I’m excited to share with you a few pics. Things are looking lush, and I love the new fence as a backdrop. I knew that green fence wasn’t pretty but I didn’t realize how much of a difference our new fence would make.

So here how things have been shaping up over the last month, it’s crazy how much things have changed in only 30 days.


Side Garden




Side Garden


Weeping Crab Apple








Solomon’s Seal


Crab Apple

We planted the crabapple right after we moved in, this will be the fifth year it’s been in our yard. We quickly dubbed it “Finn’s Tree” and have been taking a photo of him in front of it every spring when it’s in bloom. That tree and that kid are getting huge fast!

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in gardening

Thinking About : Hammocks!

Handmade Nicaraguan Hammocks
When I was thumbing through the June issue of Elle Decor magazine I stopped dead in my tracks when I came to a page featuring beautifully handmade Nicaraguan hammocks. I thought to myself “Scoops! You need a GD hammock”!

Now I don’t know if I really need a hammock in my backyard, I very much like the idea of one, but in reality it would probably take up too much space. However, I do totally adore these hammocks from The Hang a Hammock Collective. Guess what else guys? They are totally affordable. Not usually something you come across in Elle Decor. Prices range from $94 to $115. Check out the collectives Etsy store over here and don’t even try and convince me why a hammock would be a good idea for me, I totally don’t need the encouragement, my husband will thank you ;)

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