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Raised beds for a garden corners with access only from the hypotenusa

Discussion in 'Gardening Discussions' started by Simon Clawson, Jun 18, 2018.

  1. Simon Clawson

    Simon Clawson Apprentice Gardener

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    Dear all

    My wife and I currently renovating a garden. We have an east facing garden with a patio area by the house and a raised patio area at the back of the garden. The bit it the middle is rectangular with the dimensions of 675cm by 735cm. We have just had a lawn laid in a diamond shape, see diagram.

    My wife wants raised beds in the garden and I think we don’t need them. She asked me to read up about raised beds and the more I read the more I am convinced that we don’t need them. I accept her argument that aesthetically they could be quite pleasing but I think they would only be pleasing if they could be well maintained.

    She wants them I the two corners of the garden nearest to the house. She indicated that she wanted a triangular shape raised bed but looking at the layout it will have to be a long triangle to fit the corner. We already have a wood store at one side and a we are going to get a bike shed for the other side so we will not have access to the beds from the patio only from the longest side.

    My concerns are as follows:
    1. We will get weeds growing from the next door gardens and the gap between the bed and the next door garden. We will not be able to keep these weeds under control because we won’t have access to them.
    2. We will not have access to the back of the beds as they will be over a meter away. So we are not utilising space at the back of the bed or will not be able to access it for controlling weeds.
    3. We could make the beds smaller but this would just leave a section in front of the best with no lawn. Yes we could put bark chippings down but I think that would be a waste of quite a bit of prime land.

    What would be the maximum recommended size of a raised triangular bed with only access from the garden area (hypotenuse)?

    Any advice as to whether a raised bed in these locations are going to work?
     

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    • Sheal

      Sheal Total Gardener

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      I'd like to help @Simon Clawson but I can't open your file, sorry.
       
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      • Tetters

        Tetters Total Gardener

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        Welcome to the forum Simon. I have looked at your pdf but afraid it looks more like a mathematical problem rather than a garden. I have raised beds all over the show, and add them using any materials I can scrounge. As I get older I find that they are a blessing as they save my knees a fair bit. They also raise plants up to eye level, and give super height to the garden if I plant something tall in them. Afraid I never use my tape measure though. Pathways need to be wide enough to get a wheelbarrow through, and in my opinion the garden needs to be a bit more willy nilly to relax in (when the work`s done)
        Dare I suggest a whole different approach :sofa: ....:oops:
         
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        • NigelJ

          NigelJ Total Gardener

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          You will have problems 1 and 2 with or without raised beds. Are there fences and what are they made of? Thought being you could build the raised beds out from the fence to reduce problem 1.
           
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          • longk

            longk Total Gardener

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            Raised beds that small are a lot of effort for little reward. Also, I have no idea where in the country you are but raised beds so small will be more vulnerable to winter freezes. If there is a wooden fence it will encourage rot at the base. The only plus is that it will give wildlife an extra refuge.

            I'm not sure what the diamond shape is in your drawing but both the triangular and rectangular raised beds jar with it.

            Weeds will crop up no matter what you do, you can't defeat nature!
             
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            • Loofah

              Loofah Well used member

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              Why not make the entire [blue] triangle a raised bed?
              upload_2018-6-21_8-51-29.png
              Also, is that decking at either end? Which end is the house?
               
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              • Tetters

                Tetters Total Gardener

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                I think that`s the lawn
                 
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                • Simon Clawson

                  Simon Clawson Apprentice Gardener

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                  @Loofah I just think making the raised bed as large as the blue triangle is going to be too large to get to the middle, of it to tend to it. I know you have the same issue with it just as a border but everything I read you need certain size of raised bed so I'm not having to stand in the middle of the raised bed.

                  The house is at the end of the plot with the bike shed and wood store.

                  The bit with lines is patio not decking, I didn't have options in the design package to do paving.
                   
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                  • Simon Clawson

                    Simon Clawson Apprentice Gardener

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                    @longk We are based in SE London, so quite mild weather down here and not too much problems with frost. As stated in my post the diamond shape in the lawn.

                    What do you mean by 'Jar' with the lawn?

                    My worry is by having the raised bed next to the fence the weeds will crop up (between the bed and the fence) but I won't have access to them. With no raised bed there I can get at them to dig them up.
                     
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                    • Simon Clawson

                      Simon Clawson Apprentice Gardener

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                      @NigelJ Yes we have fences either side and they are wood fences with wood posts. The are new and I would like to keep them in good condition having spent quite a bit of money putting them together and don't want them to rot! Picture attached.


                      Grass.jpg
                       
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                      • Simon Clawson

                        Simon Clawson Apprentice Gardener

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                        @Tetters find attached a pic of the garden taken from the back bedroom. We have just laid the lawn so I wouldn't be too keen on a radical change, my wife currently likes the lawn.

                        But I would be interested in your suggestions, not too radical or it will be me hiding behind the sofa. LOL

                        Grass.jpg
                         
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                        • Tetters

                          Tetters Total Gardener

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                          Well, when I first saw this photo I said to myself ''oh crikey''
                          As @longk mentioned, the shapes you have created there do jar - they don`t sit together well to make a pleasing picture. The other thing is, you needed really to think about lawn last instead of first.
                          Still, you need to now work with what you have. As the garden is relatively small, and you want to access the fences I reckon your best bet will be to start working on the soil patches now, and add some decent well rotted horse muck or other nutrition for your growing patches in preparation for a few shrubby plants. Those bits will look better just for digging over.
                          Having to work off the lawned area now will probably make the turf look a bit worn, but after a drop of rain it should pick up again.
                          For now, I think the only place to add a raised growing area would be in the middle - a large rounded bed - either built with stone or brick, or maybe a very big pot.
                          If you do decide on raised beds in the corners, you can always consider lining the fence with a waterproof membrane.
                          It would be nice if you could let us know how you progress....and rather interesting to hear some views from the rest of the gang here.

                          I think I`ll add, I prefer rounded corners myself....

                          [​IMG]
                           
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                          • Tetters

                            Tetters Total Gardener

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                            [​IMG]Just found this image Simon and copied it for you :)
                             
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                            • Jack Sparrow

                              Jack Sparrow Total Gardener

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                              With the lawn as it is there is no clear path to your shed. In the winter you will be walking across a muddy lawn. We had a similar problem until the wife insisted I lay a path. She was right of course, as she always is.

                              :snorky:

                              G.

                              20180610_173612.jpg
                               
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                              • Simon Clawson

                                Simon Clawson Apprentice Gardener

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                                For a job I work with databases and I guess I would safely say I am more analytical than artistic which I think some of the comments from other responses have hinted at. My recent gardening experience is limited to growing chilli plants out back last year. So a lot of this is very new to me.

                                @longk thank you for your comments, re work with what we have, albeit jarring. The lawn looks better than I does in the picture as it has had a good water. Personally I want to do just that work with the lawn as it is that way we can change it and not put in anything hard structurally that will restrain us from changing from it shape. Maybe it is a mistake on my part to have a lawn that shape, I put my hands up to that but as I said I am new to all this.

                                Also, I do agree that the next step is to dig over the soil, I’ve already made a start and try to get all the bits of building waste out of it and get some compost dug into it. They seem to have the texture of concrete at the moment!

                                I like the idea of the centre raised bed but maybe in the future, but not raised beds in the corners. As you said get the soil dug over and some organic stuff dug into it would be our first priority. To me we have gone into this too quick and for my wife we are not moving quick enough.

                                Currently, this year I think we should stay away from putting hard structures in the garden and see how we get on and if we want to change the layout we can do next year. Likewise I’d be interested in any further comments, especially on the above suggested course of action:
                                – keep the lawn as it is and see how we get on and can live with it, and maybe change it next year
                                - dig over the border bits with compost etc.

                                Naively, after renovating the house for the last 3 years I thought that doing the garden would be the enjoyable bit, but it turning out to be one of the most stressful!
                                 
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