Hi all, new member who will probably have lots of questions and hopes you all will be patient with me as I pick up a somewhat new hobby and would like to do it "right" at my new home.
I recently moved to a new home and my wife and I are looking to add a vegetable garden for next year. We both have our sights set on the area behind our garage but this has a slope to it. My first thought for handling this was by using retaining walls. Then, I thought why not raised beds? Seeing as I have never built a raised bed, I was wondering if I could get some help reviewing my idea.
The area is basically about 10 feet wide and 20 feet long (level measure) with the slope climbing about 4 feet along that 20 foot length. The only special consideration is that my water supply and a dryer vent are tucked into the corner between the house and garage.
Through reading up on raised beds, I understand that we want to aim for about 3-4 feet wide and 6-24 inches high (though suggestions for height seem to vary a bit) in a raised bed. These are the assumptions I'm working under as I come up with two possible designs.
1) The first design has the beds running lengthways down the slope, creating a grid of 4 beds. Each bed would be about 7.5 feet long and 3 feet wide. I'd have room for walking paths 2 feet wide by the house and between the beds and 3 feet wide by the garage. At the top, the beds would be 6 inches high. At the bottom, they would be 24 inches high.
2) I could also turn the beds so they run lengthways along the side of the slope. I'd be down to 3 beds, each bed would be 7 feet long and 3 feet wide, allowing for walking paths 3 feet wide along the house and between the beds, with a 5 foot wide path along the garage. With only 3 feet of length going down the slope, I could be more flexible with my height and have less variation.
The first design would give me more planting space but I'm a bit worried about not having much room to walk between the beds. The second gives me less planting space but still far more than I've ever had before for vegetable gardening and more room to walk between the beds. With either design, I may make one of the beds a bit smaller to allow room for a hose reel and possibly a compost bin in the corner where my water supply and dryer vent are. I'm not sure if this would be necessary, though, with the second design as I'd have 5 feet along the garage already.
I hope this all makes sense. If I could offer the sketches I have on the paper next to me, I would.
I'm thinking of using cedar 4x4 posts on each corner and mid-way through the length of the beds to anchor 2x6 cedar boards for the sides of the beds. I would then probably buy a truck load of soil to fill the beds, then be ready to start my vegetable garden.
The question I have is, before I spend time working through the details of this plan and begin buying supplies, does either of these sound like a good plan? I'm asking those with experience with the hopes that you can help me resolve any potential problems while it's still not a lot of work to do so. Are the assumptions on size/height of the beds I'm using correct? Would the paths between the beds be too narrow or unnecessarily wide? Are there any changes to these plans that you would make? Or should I scrap both of these plans and start over with a new one?
Any thoughts you can offer on this would be greatly appreciated.