Many years ago my friend and Atlanta home builder Stuart Grubb and I went and disassembled a play set in someones yard and reassembled it in my yard. Over the winter I convinced the boys that it was time to say goodbye to the play set and recover some of the back yard. In doing so I set out to build raised garden beds from the lumber. You can see the play set in the background of this picture.
It took a couple of tries to find the right combination, but I was able to come up with a prototype. Here is a picture of the first attempt… it wasn’t perfect so I broke it down and started over.
Here is what it looked like after redoing the side boards:
Not knowing exactly what kind of wood it was I did a lot of research and came up with a plan to make sure nothing was leaking into our food as it was growing. I sanded all of the surfaces, sealed it with MINWAX Helmsman Spar Urethane, and wrapped the interior surfaces of the wood with black landscaping plastic. Here is what they looked like once complete and filled with garden soil.
Once I had them all completed I planned out each garden with an online garden planner. Between Pike Nursery and Lowes I was able to get all of the fruits and vegetables I needed to complete my gardens.
Below are some pictures of the blooming fruits including tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, and cantaloupe.
Now that the fruits are blooming I have installed a netting layer over the gardens to keep critters and other animals out.
This will be a fun year of gardening with hopes of supplying most of the ingredients for my daily smoothie. Keep posted as the garden continues to grow!
In February I made some DIY hanging mason jar candles for the backyard of our house. With daylight savings I knew we wouldn’t be putting them to good use over the summer so today I bought some impatiens at Lowes and set out to make some hanging plants for the backyard.
Off the bat I know that drainage will be an issue since I’m not drilling a hole in the jars, but the impatiens cost less than a bottle of Gatorade so it’s worth a try. In an effort to prevent a soggy jar I broke up some old concrete that I had laying around and put about two inches of rock in the bottom of the jars. On top of that I put planting soil in and created a space in the center for the impatiens to fit inside. After placing the impatiens inside I filled any remaining spaces with potting soil.
With that I converted diy lanterns into diy hanging plants.
Several years ago Martha gave me a Big Green Egg for Fathers Day. I felt unworthy then and still do now, but it’s a really amazing tool, and until this point has lived in a “nest” with fold down arms. For my 40th birthday Martha sort of gave me a new Big Green Egg table for it to live in. The reason I said sort of was because I had to call the guy and order it, go pick it up, and stain/seal it before I could use it.
A buddy of hers gave her a link on craigslist of a company in Auburn Ga that makes these unfinished cypress tables for the Big Green Egg. I pulled it up, found the one I liked on their website www.CypressGrillTables.com, and placed my order around 8:30 on a Thursday morning. It took me about 45 minutes from Buckhead to drive to their shop which is located off of Highway 316 on the way to Athens. I got there at 10:30, loaded up the table, in and out in five minutes or less.
Here is a picture of the unfinished table in my man room ready to get stained:
To get it finished I went to Ace Hardware on Roswell Road as they are all knowledgeable in the Big Green Egg arena. They pointed out everything I would need to go from what I had, to the finished product. I decided that I wanted it to be a darker color to offset the beating it will take over it’s lifetime, burn marks, dents, scratches etc. I used MINWAX Wood Finish (Special Walnut 224) which gave it a nice rich brown color. I applied one coat of that and let it dry overnight.
After the stain dried I put on the first coat of the sealer which is MINWAX Helmsman Spar Urethane. It is a clear semi-gloss water based sealant. Now this had to be applied 3 times all over the table which took a few days to get through. The can actually says 4 coats are needed for exterior use but I went with the guys recommendation at Ace and did three.
The final touch was to go to Lowes and buy some robe hooks that might go on your bathroom door. They are an oil rubbed bronze and look great with the table.
Here are a few pictures of how it turned out. I could not be any happier with the results.
Thanks for reading.
After 3 1/2 weeks of growing grass in my backyard, we are making some progress. The problem areas are still problem areas, but they have good reason to be so. They are starting to fill in but it’s very obvious that in my situation, the new grass literally only grows from the aerated holes. Not much going in the areas that may have filled in because of ponding water. Below is a picture showing the progression over the 3.5 weeks. It really doesn’t look drastically different from the October 5 shot, but that’s because I mowed it for the first time today. In most areas it was super thick and getting too tall, so I’m hoping it will continue to fill in.
Here is a shot from a different angle
Here are links to the previous posts documenting this grassy story:
Growing Grass in Atlanta is not the easiest task in the world. Atlanta is known for having a solid canopy of trees luring above its homes. There are so many wonderful things about our canopy, but growing grass isn’t one of them. I’m sure you have heard it’s pretty hot in Atlanta, but it also gets pretty cool during the fall and winter, which makes choosing your grass a little more difficult. The picture to the right is what our lawn looked like in the Spring of 2010 and what we are trying to get it to look like again. Below is a picture of what it looks like today:
In our front yard we have plenty of sun and are able to grow Zoysia grass which is thick and wonderful. Our back yard is pretty shady with some areas of full sun. Since most of the back yard gets less than 4 hours of sun we are not able to grow Zoysia. Instead we are pretty much stuck with Fescue. Don’t get me wrong, Fescue is a beautiful grass but it takes a bit more care to keep up.
I went to Pike Nursery and met with the store manager who told me more than I could ever retain about growing grass. He set me up with a good game plan and told me everything I would need to get it done right. Here’s what I used:
The first thing I did was spread out the Pike Lawn Starter across my whole back yard. I rented an aerator from Ace Hardware ($50/4 hrs) and with this I killed two birds with one stone. While aerating the dirt, I also worked the lawn starter into the soil which will ultimately help my new grass grow. After majorly disturbing the ground, I used my spreader to lay my grass seed. I used the Atlanta Blend from Pikes for most of the lawn because it thrives in both sun and shade. For the shadiest part of my lawn I used a dense shade mixture from Pennington Seed.
The last part and certainly one of the most important ingredients in the process is water. This has always been a struggle for me because we don’t have an irrigation system installed and I don’t have time to run the sprinkler as much as it needs to be done in order to be effective. So, I went to Lowes and bought this nifty timer that is programmable to ensure your lawn gets the much needed water throughout the day. In addition I got a couple of sprinkler heads that surprisingly cover the lawn perfectly.
This is by far the most effort I’ve put into growing grass in the back yard so I am really hoping it will do the trick. Today is the first day of Fall, we got a soaking rain last night, and the weather looks perfect for growing grass. I’ll let you know how it goes.