Location: Los Angeles, CA
Type of space: Raised bed vegetable garden
Tell us about your outdoor project and how you enjoy it: Our home in urban Los Angeles is blessed with southern exposure, but the previous owners covered much of the front yard with a sea of concrete. Breaking up the concrete wasn't in our budget, and we wanted to take advantage of all that sunshine to plant a vegetable garden. Our solution was to build raised beds and place them right on the concrete. Now, the formerly barren and broiling-hot terrace is green and lush, and tomatoes, beans, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, herbs, and more are thriving. Because the garden is the first thing visitors see, we wanted to make it visually appealing. We used dark wood stain to unify the planters and help them recede, allowing the plants to take center stage. We placed a dining table under our apricot tree, hung solar lanterns, and created an al fresco dining spot. Our 3 children love getting up in the morning and going outside to see what new veggies are popping up, and we love sitting at our outdoor table, watching the plants, and eating our homegrown goodies.
How did you create it? A few years ago, we removed a redwood arbor from the back of our house. We saved the wood and used it to build these veggie beds (and a long bamboo planter and a children's garden box, to boot). We also milled the wood to make tall stakes, then wrapped them with sisal twine to create attractive & sturdy tomato cages and climbing teepees for cucumbers. Finally, we made a redwood-bordered mesh climbing frame, affixed to our fence, to support 5 different varieties of pole beans. We used dark brown opaque wood stain to disguise the stained, aging wood, and installed a drip irrigation system for watering. We kept the project on a budget by planting seeds and plants from 4-inch containers. We love that we were able to repurpose existing materials for our project.
Recommended store, site, product or resource? We used Cabot Pro V.T. opaque acrylic stain in Bark; it has great coverage and gives all the planters a neat, uniform look. Ikea's Solig solar lanterns (in orange) add a nice punch of color during the day and glow softly at night.