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Garden Makeover: Before, During and After

The raised beds we made when we first started a garden in 2009 are falling apart, and it is time for a garden makeover.

Garden Makeover: Before, During & After

When we moved into this home in 2008, one of the first things I did was start a garden. We finally had room, and I’d always wanted a garden. I read “Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew and went to Home Depot to have them cut the wood for 4’x4′ (1.2m x 1.2m) beds. I used the least expensive untreated pine. My son and I put the beds together, and my gardening journey began. 

Garden Makeover: Before, During & After
May 2009
Garden Makeover: Before, During & After
June 2009

Fast forward 12 years. The garden beds produced pounds and pounds of food and have served me well, but are falling apart. It is time for a garden makeover in this area of my garden.

Asparagus plant in bed that is falling apart
March 2021

Garden Makeover: Before, During & After

1. Garden Makeover (Before): Reevaluate space

I’ve learned a few things since I first added these beds. Now that I have the chance to start over, I will do a few things differently. It’s like remodeling a house you already lived in. I knew what I liked about the space and what needed to change. 

Garden Makeover: Before, During & After
October 2009
Garden Makeover: Before, During & After
October 2009

Things I considered before making a plan for this garden makeover:

Shaded area of garden

This area doesn’t get a lot of sunlight and the gardens aren’t as productive as the other areas of the yard. However, the partial shade is an advantage for some plants in the warmer months.

Nasturtiums completely cover walkway

We need a wider walkway on one of the sides. Having the beds right in the middle didn’t give us quite enough room.

Maximize space in the garden

I’d like to maximize the open area at the end of the garden to add a garden shed. 

Garden beds should be at least 12-18 inches deep
March 2021

My early beds were only 6 inches (15 cm) tall; this wasn’t deep enough.

2. Garden Makeover (Before): Make a plan and obtain supplies

I’ve loved the Deep Root Raised Beds from Gardener’s Supply that I have in other areas of my garden and knew I wanted to add those. I already had Garden Grids from Garden in Minutes for this area, so I wanted to keep the bed sizes the same and use the existing grids.

Deep Root Raised beds from Gardener's Supply

The plan for the garden makeover included doing the following:

Move the beds closer to the house to maximize the sunlight and create a wider path in the garden.

  • The plan is for the new beds to be 2 feet (61 cm) away from the house and 2 feet (61 cm) apart. 
  • This allows for just over 3 feet (91 cm) on the opposite side for a wider pathway.
Love birds eating sunflower in garden

Line up the first bed with my kitchen window – I love planting sunflowers in this bed and watching the birds through the window.

Garden beds in side yard garden
October 2016

Decrease the beds by one, and move them closer to the front of the garden to maximize the space at the back of the garden to eventually add a shed.

Garden Makeover: Before, During & After
March 2021

Hopefully salvage some plants, especially the asparagus. Move the asparagus to an area with more sunlight in another part of the yard.

Supplies needed:

Deep Root Raised bed from Gardeners

3. Garden Makeover (During): Carry out plan

Garden Makeover: Before, During & After

Demo day was a lot less dramatic than I had imagined. The beds literally fell apart with just a little help from me. 

Once the old beds were removed and I took out the Garden Grids, it was time for the makeover to begin. 

Put new garden beds together

My son helped me put together the new Deep Root Raised Beds from Gardener’s Supply. It’s important to put the beds together on a level surface to ensure the beds are level. 

Potting Table

We transferred plants to a holding area until they could be replanted.

Asparagus Roots

The asparagus roots were dug up and moved to a different part of the yard that will receive more sunlight.

Make sure new garden beds are level

We pushed back the bark and put the first bed in place, transferring the soil from the old location into the new bed once it was in place and leveled. 

Garden Makeover: Before, During & After

We put the beds in place one by one, leveling and measuring each time

Garden Makeover: Before, During & After
The citrus roots we removed from in and around one of the old beds

One bed had a surprising amount of roots from the neighbor’s lemon tree. (No guilt about using those lemons that hang over the fence now!) 

Garden Makeover: Before, During & After

We added 1/2″ tubing into each bed (they will connect to the Garden Grids) and buried the tubing between each bed.

Add soil to raised beds

We filled up the beds with Growing in the Garden Raised Bed Mix from Arizona Worm Farm.

I reinstalled the Garden Grids, but the pressure was off (too much pressure at the beginning, but not enough at the end of the line). 

Rachio controller for garden drip line

Because of the water pressure issue, we had to run a direct line to each bed. We ended up adding an additional valve to the sprinkler box, and now I can turn on the Garden Grids and program them from my phone.

Adding vertical gardening elements to the new garden beds:

Gardeners Zenith Supports

I’m a huge fan of vertical gardening. I added the Zenith Folding Garden Supports from Gardener’s Supply Company to my beds. They were easy to assemble and put in place. 

Connector Kit for DIY Single Tomato Trellis
Connector Kit for DIY Single Tomato Trellis

We installed Connector Kit for DIY Single Tomato Trellis from Gardener’s Supply to one of the beds. 

I had copper tubing cut to fit the size I wanted. I then used the connecter kit to put the trellis together. 

The tomatoes in the beds will grow vertically up the string trellis. 

Connector Kit for DIY Single Tomato Trellis
Connector Kit for DIY Single Tomato Trellis

Now for the fun part! I replanted the herbs that were in the old beds and added new plants and seeds and mulch to the beds. 

Planting in new beds

4. Garden Makeover (After): Evaluate

Garden Makeover: Before, During & After

This garden makeover was a much anticipated and enjoyed project. I’m really happy with how everything turned out. Throughout this process I learned the following things:

Garden Makeover: Before, During & After

One of the garden beds had a surprising amount of roots. I will be more careful planting trees near beds in the future.

Sprinkler line going into beds, Garden Makeover: Before, During & After

I wish that I had tested and redone the Garden Grids before filling the beds. Then the irrigation tubing (which connects to the Garden Grids) would not be on the outside of the bed.

Adding premixed soil to beds

The premixed soil from Arizona Worm Farm was a game changer; it made filling the beds so simple. In the past, my soil was always mixed together by hand. 

I love the Deep Root Raised Beds from Gardener’s Supply. They were easy to put together and simple to customize for the space.

If this post about my garden makeover was helpful, please share it:


Thursday 25th of August 2022

I'm commenting long after this post debuted, but I'm curious about the orientation of this side yard. The beds that you moved closer to the house -- which direction do they face? And the open area at the end for the eventual garden shed -- where does that lie? I've been experimenting with growing flowers, veggies and (eventually) fruit trees in my Mesa side yards. Understanding how you placed things in regard to north/south/east/west might help inform my space. Thank you for all the practical information.

Angela Judd

Friday 26th of August 2022

Hi. If you look at this post: There is an ariel view (with directions) of my garden. Hope this helps.


Sunday 25th of April 2021

How many raised beds do you currently have to be able to feed your family and preserve?

Angela Judd

Sunday 25th of April 2021

I have 17 raised beds, most are 4x8, but several are 4x4.


Sunday 18th of April 2021

Did you use a root barrier, if so what material?

Angela Judd

Monday 19th of April 2021

I'm going to install one. This is the type I'm looking at using: