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Help with terrace garden

Posted by Joe_41031 KY (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 10, 11 at 15:15


Where I live we have some serious clay issues. So I tilled up an area in my backyard 45ft X 70ft. Put down lime. Tilled it some more. I plan to till it up again a couple more times this weekend.

Anyway. If you look at the photo, you can see that I live on a slope. The area on the right is where I tilled after taking the photo. Its not as steep as the photo makes it seem. But still a pretty good slope.

I am trying to figure out the best (and cheapest) way to build "beds" up the hill. It will end right behind the garage you see on the right. Its my thinking to use either timbers or treated 2x6 (or 8) boards and start at the bottom of the hill, laying down boards, staking them, leveling, and leveling off the dirt into each bed as they are built. The beds will be 45ft long. I want to make each bed wide. Maybe 6ft of useable soil and 1.5ft of path to walk the isle.

To make this work, its my thinking to simple make the beds somewhere around 7.5ft wide and somehow use 1.5ft of that space for a walking path without sinking down into the ground. I could pack down the dirt, but I don't know if this would cause a problem with the soil in the other 6ft area of the bed. I thought maybe I would need to put in edging or something at 1.5ft, down into the ground to "hold" the path together without distorting other parts of the bed. Of course, this would give each walking path access to a "row" on each side of it. 6ft useable soil on either side of a 1.5ft walk path.

Again, this is my first time doing this. So its my concern to get the walk paths in properly, as well as worry about what water will do after all has been completed. I plan to start building this in early spring. This garden is for vegetables.

Thanks for your help!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Help with terrace garden

Sorry having problems with the photo.


RE: Help with terrace garden

This is a big job and I think you need to do some research on different building options for your soil conditions, slope and climate. I don't deal with clay much but I'm sure that drainage will be a concern so a way to let excess water drain out in a controlled and nondestructive manner would be useful. Some compost and a winter cover crop might help the with the clay. Timbers are much better than boards for terrace structures. But boards or mulch can be used as a walking surface to help with your concerns about the paths. Check for underground utilities and also for permit requirements (especially if you have an unfriendly neighbor or plan to put the house on the market any time soon). Stone lasts longer but is heavier and more expensive than landscape timbers and takes more skill to work with in my opinion. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.

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