before & after: garden

In the 7 years that I have lived here, (Bryce is coming up on 9 years), we haven’t had any landscaping. I had to have a garden a few years ago, so we rented some heavy duty equipment and cleared massive amounts of blackberry bushes, then we leveled out a spot.

And yes, we did this in January. After the holidays, there’s such little light in the day, that on a dry weekend, we like to think about the garden.

huge blackberry bush pile, one of our favorite rentals, a Dingo, and a relative of the dingo posing in our freshly leveled garden area, Jake

We measured off a huge area because we knew we eventually wanted chickens as well. Our plan was a garden inside a of chicken moat. That way, the chickens could munch on the bugs that were heading for the garden creating a symbiotic relationship.

Here we are starting on the center garden part. Chickens will come later.



The Dingo does a great job at scooping and leveling. It has a couple of attachments so you can smooth and scoop. It’s just a couple of hundred dollars to rent for the weekend.

We scooped and flattened and leveled as well as we could. Then we had a huge pile of very round, small pebbles in our yard leftover from installing the septic. Perfect for walking around on in between the raised beds. I think it would be less than $100 to get a dump truck load of pebbles delivered.


In hindsight, before we spread the gravel, I REALLY wish we took the time to lay down a weed barrier. These photos are from about 3 years ago, and it has been a massive undertaking trying to battle the weeds in the gravel. The worst culprit is an errant strawberry vine that now grows into the hugest patch of strawberries every year. We never get any because the middle garden is open and the birds always get the berries before we do!

3-Garden134-Raised Beds Tutorial3

One of my goals for 2016 is to have a better garden growing, so I will post updates of the complete garden with the chicken moat, coop and our greenhouse.

Check out my post on how to build raised beds.

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