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Deuce Cities Henhouse

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.

in gardening, Inspiration
14 comments… add one
  • Amanda June 5, 2014


    I just moved to Minneapolis and am having my first adventures in gardening. I’m so envious of your beautiful space! I’m trying to be realistic, though, and know that over time we’ll be able to pull everything together. This year, it’s just a hodgepodge while we figure out what’s popping out of the ground from the previous homeowners and teach ourselves the tricks of the trade.

    However, something is eating the hostas and coleus! Do you have recommendations for a remedy that is kid/dog safe? I’m coming from Berkeley, CA, where the only bugs I had to deal with were moths in my apple trees! (And, OMG, the mosquitoes here are KILLING ME.)

    Keep the garden inspiration coming!

    • Scoops June 6, 2014

      Hey Amanda! Welcome to Minneapolis! Yes, it does take time, don’t make yourself feel like you need to get it all done in one summer, it sounds like you have the right approach. Do you suppose it’s a rabbit or some sort of bug like a slug? For rabbits I would suggest this stuff, it works great. If it’s something like slugs I would suggest reading this thread, lots of different methods offered. Good luck!

      • Amanda June 17, 2014

        It’s a good thing I didn’t respond right away, because at first it was definitely some sort of worm, and then earlier this week some critter started digging up my carrots and chard! I think the worm problem has been tackled, but now I’m off to the garden store to deal with the critters. :)

  • Stacey June 5, 2014

    Scoops, I have the solution for you! Instead of putting down plastic weed barrier, put down newspaper and add a soil mix and mulch on top. Most of today’s newspapers are totally biodegradable (you’ll want to double check to make sure, but if they were in the hell-hole of Houston Tx, then I’m sure they are up where you live), so they’ll just break down over time. The existing grass will die under the paper and eventually break down as well. I did this multiple times at my old place in Texas, and by the end of the second year you couldn’t find a trace of newspaper or grass no matter how deep you dug down. It’s the totally sane way of creating large new gardens from grassy areas.

    • Scoops June 6, 2014

      Stacey!!! This sounds so great, I am going to def research this and see if it’s doable for my situation. I would love it so hard if there was an easy way to get rid of grass in gardens. Thank you for the tip!

      • becky June 6, 2014

        The newspaper method worked for me too. It took about a full year (that includes 4 months of snow) for everything to be dead and biodegraded but was so much easier than digging up the grass. So much easier!

  • Anya June 5, 2014

    YES! I’m doing this now too…my yard is looking ROUGH but my goal is to kill off the existing grass or in my case weeds and do a ground cover of paths around the raised beds I added and incorporate beds. My back yard is small so I want to go for the lawn-less look but I’m stoked you’re doing the same for your veggie garden area. I’m also doing what Stacey suggested and using newspaper to kill off the grass. Creeping Jenny can be invasive but as far as I’m concerned, sister Jenny can TAKE OVER! Can’t wait to see how it turns out :)

    • Scoops June 6, 2014

      Hey Anya! Yeah, that sounds awesome. I think lawnless yards can look so pretty! What a fun challenge for you. This newspaper thing sounds like such a good idea, I really hope I can use it in my yard.

  • angela June 5, 2014

    I have got to get outside and start working. All your gardening post lately are getting me motivated!

    Angela @ Number Fifty-Three

  • Im loving the garden plans chica! In the new house im hoping for a raised bed potager garden. Id love to either see a bird bath or fruit tree in the middle of the 4 beds. Id love it to be grass free with mulch or paver paths and time growing around the bed borders. I cant wait to see how your space comes together.

    • Scoops June 6, 2014

      I am so jealous of all your southern growing options. The other day you mentioned a succulent window box and now today you’re talking about fruit trees. Geez. Sounds like you have a lovely plan of your own :)

  • Abby June 6, 2014

    Scoops! Sedum spreads like a son-of-a-gun and not always in a good way. Have you checked out myrtle? It is a pretty, hardy and shade loving ground cover that might work well in that spot.

    • Scoops June 12, 2014

      Thanks Abby, I’ll check it! I appreciate the tip. I have some sedum in my yard and I reshape it once or twice a year when it decides to double in size ;)

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