Planter Box Number One – west side of house

Planter Box Number One – west side of house

Right side of house, eventually visible as you round the curve of the horseshoe driveway from the first entrance. This side faces west, thus fewer windows.


You can see from this photo that there is a drop, a slight hill, and when it rained hard, there was always this one spot that collected water. I decided to plant a couple of small trees there, not only to break up the large expanse of siding, but to help absorb the water. I had two Crepe Myrtles in large pots that I had grown from seed, and they were just about the right size now to go into the ground.


Especially when there has been a lot of rain, mushrooms will grow. These were in the center of the spot I wanted to plant. Interesting, but they had to go.

So I removed the mushrooms, and started to dig. The soil was, even after rain, impossible to dig easily. Out came the pickaxe and after half an hour I hadn’t removed even enough dirt to plant a 1 gallon plant. You simply could not pulverize these chunks! Below shows you what the soil looked like after my efforts with the pickaxe. I couldn’t just add new soil, i.e. a berm, as it would shift some of the drainage towards the house, and that was the last thing I would want to do. Change of plans.

Can one even call this soil?

I decided to do a raised bed. I had what I needed already left from another project. Off to the Farmer’s Co-op for soil. This will end up working out ok, and look better anyway. Just more work. I still had to remove more of the soil that would be below ground level. The roots had to have decent soil to work into, and because the root balls of the trees were large (see below), I had no choice at that point. It took me hours to pickaxe it, dump it via wheel barrow in an area where old tree wood was piled and decomposing, and where there would eventually be a berm. It took me the rest of that day and part of another to do this digging. Yes, it was tedious and slow going and I really thought about not doing the project. I have a way of battling it out within myself…..”ok Cie, take five more swings of the axe, remove the soil and do that just five more times”. When I see that the hole size is changing, repeat. I had decided on a 6×10 ft box, and finally dug down about 16 inches, replacing that with good soil, mixing in compost and sand  with the good soil I brought in.


Rough layout…..The cedar 4×4’s were 10 ft long, so I decided on a 6×10 ft raised box.

These make tying your box together so much easier. I pre drill with a slightly smaller bit than the screw, and with a bit of soap on the end, it goes in quite easy. Use the 6 inch ones if you make your planter box of 2 by’s on end, and the 12 inch ones (below) for 4×4 or larger timbers. Once filled with dirt, that box isn’t going anywhere.

The box is together, the trees put in the holes and now adding soil to fill the box. I also dug up and divided up some lirope, adding them to eventually fill in around the tree roots.


I built this box in the fall, when most trees transplant easily.  We are now experiencing our 4th day of heavy rain, so in-between the showers, I ran out and took two photos so you can see how the Crepe Myrtles look now as they just begin to really leaf out.



The box has solved the constant puddle, while enhancing the landscaping as well. The gutter behind it will soon have a rain barrel attached as well.  This led to building a quite large planter to the left of this one, against a retaining wall, a bit more fancy, and where the light is quite different, even though both are on the west side of the house and only 25 feet or so apart. When planning what to plant, it is important to watch where the sun and or shade is, and for how long, as well as what time of day. Thank you for coming by. Laters, charisse

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