Archive for planter boxes

Garden Designer Brings Integration and Function To “Mismatched” Landscape

The new deck feels like an outdoor living room and makes the garden feel part of the house.

The new deck feels like an outdoor living room and makes the garden feel like part of the house.

“My garden adventures with Carol, Design in a Day, began in 2010.  Carol took my “mismatched” garden and pulled it together by incorporating a variety of plants which added interesting leaf shapes, texture, and color.  With the addition of stone paths and walls, art pieces, and a deck with planter boxes, she created a garden that blends continuity, interest, and beauty.

The old deck seemed small and cut off from the garden area.

The old deck was too small, felt cut off from the garden, and made an unattractive view.

Since a garden is an ever-changing palate, I have continued to work with Carol as my garden coach so my garden space will continue to thrive.

Carol is professional, knowledgeable, and talented.  She’s a good listener and will collaborate with a team of experienced and creative contractors as well as resources for plants.  With Carol’s style of landscape design one can select from a wide menu of options – from a garden design only where the client does the work, to a design and consultation, up to supervision of the project.”

August in the garden: Hakonechloa Macra 'Albostriata' - Japanese Forest Grass; Aconitum 'Tall Blue' - Monkshood; Hardy Fuchsia

August in the garden: Hakonechloa Macra ‘Albostriata’ – Japanese Forest Grass; Aconitum ‘Tall Blue’ – Monkshood; Hardy Fuchsia

When I work with an established garden, I strive to bring an experienced eye that can see exciting new possibilities with the removal of plants and features that no longer work (or missed by a mile simply because no one knew what could be).  It’s hard for clients to do this on their own.  For many years some plants were wonderful and were loved.  I have been hired to help my clients have their best garden. Telling them a plant  is great just because they love it is not earning my pay.  I try to do this gently when it needs to be done.

We (Lois and I) made so many amazing changes in our design process but I will speak of a few.  This garden already had a mature dogwood tree.  Its location was perfect but it had been damaged by the pruning of a well intentioned “mow, blow and go” gardener.  It took 3 years of light but precise pruning to correct damage and now it is the long term focal point of the back garden.

The new deck feels more like an outdoor living room and is an extension of the great room. What had been a dark interior room now feels significantly bigger and airy.  We used planters instead of railing and they bring the garden (including year round flowering plantings) up into the view from inside.  Before our design, the garden was obscured and felt cut off from the house, now it feels like part of the great room.  We created a kitchen window view with plantings that look good year round and bring the Anna hummingbirds into close view in winter.  This had previously been a forgotten area and the client had no expectations for it.  To her it was just a side yard.  Now it is one of her favorite views.

Driveway pic 1 plants tempOur adventures do continue.  Here are photos of our latest improvement, a retaining wall and plantings that dresses her driveway beautifully.Driveway pic 2 temp

Long Lasting Wood for Raised Vegetable Boxes

Raised veggie bed from juniper wood

Juniper wood in the garden.  Photo by Sustainable Northwest Wood.

I have clients who only want to build their raised vegetable planters once.  Juniper wood is a great resource for gardeners who want their raised beds to last forever. Juniper wood can last 30 to 50 years in direct contact with moist soil!


Why Use Juniper?
Because Juniper is a hardwood, it is insect and rot resistant, and doesn’t require any special chemical treatments, its longevity is unmatched, outlasting redwood and cedar beds by decades. Though indigenous, Juniper has become an invasive species throughout Central Oregon, threatening grassland habitat and destroying the ecosystem.

Pre-built Options
Restoration Juniper Project (video from OPB) is a company that builds lasts forever planter boxes out of Juniper wood.  It’s a triple win because:

1.  Uses strong wood from the invasive juniper species and sales of Juniper wood helps restore threatened native habitat in Central Oregon.

2.  Profits support Growing Gardens, a local non-profit, that teaches children and families how to feed themselves by building gardens and providing support during the learning process.

3.  Wood can last 50 years so you only build once.

JuniPlanterGrowing Gardens recently unveiled a DIY planter box made from Juniper, JuniPlanter. In support of the Restoration Juniper Project, they’ve designed a kit that can be built in under an hour by DIY-ers. These boxes are not inexpensive, but they are made to last. The JuniPlanter has more than one model, but as an example, one of the boxes is $450.

This is a better investment for a person who knows they are going to be gardening for a long time, rather than someone just starting out.

Build Your Own
Sustainable Northwest Wood
Finding the Juniper wood and building your own would be another option.  I talked with Ryan of Sustainable Northwest Wood (SNW) in SE Portland, Oregon. Here are two options Ryan suggested for building an 18″ high 4′ x 8′ raised bed:

1.  Make your box 18” high using three 2” x 6” (would take 9 boards).  Each board at current prices would be $10.00 each so it would cost you $102.75 for the juniper wood for one planter at 4’ wide by 8’ long. They have a corner piece you buy for $12.75 that you can cut to create your corners so you only need one.

2. This option cost more when using 6” x 6” wood.  You will need 9 boards at $28.00 each. The cost for one juniper wood planter will be $252. You won’t need a corner piece because the 6 x 6 is strong enough for corners and the whole planter is heftier and better for sitting on.

Ryan’s Construction Tips:

  • Pre-drill all holes.
  • Use stainless steel lag bolts to use for fasteners.

Designing three Landscape Design in a Days per week, raised planter boxes go in every one of my designs.  Everyone wants them! Materials we prefer to use include:

  • Corrugated sheet metal with wood supports
  • Livestock water troughs
  • Stacked rock
  • Wood
  • Recycled concrete rubble

Schedule your Landscape Design in a Day consultation today with Carol.