The presence of well-maintained lawns can say a lot about a neighborhood and those who live there. Though very few people in my neighborhood paid close attention to the details of their yards, I could not help but want to increase the curb appeal of my own home. As a first-time homeowner, I quickly found the establishment of a consistent lawn care routine to be well out of my comfort zone. From mowing to fertilizing, I just could not seem to figure out the best maintenance plan.
As a vegetable gardener and flower grower, I was overwhelmed by the process of learning to manage the best looking lawn, if that’s even possible. Further issues compounded my feelings of frustration and I was at a complete loss.
From Lawn to Garden Bed
One of the most troubling aspects of my front lawn was its proximity to the water table. With even the slightest rainfall, water would pool into giant ponds across the entire front of the house. While I had tried to replant various types of grass in those locations, new plantings quickly turned yellow and died back from the excess water. I was left with nothing but unsightly patches of muddy soil. Any magical lawn care tips for that?
After several years, I decided that it was time to embrace this unique issue. After browsing the blogs of several online gardeners, I decided that it was finally time to build my first raised bed garden. By doing so, I would be able to add more growing space to my yard, as well as beautify those not-so-pretty “bald” patches in the lawn. Wait, raised beds in a front yard? That’s right!
To begin the process, I obtained simple plans to build the raised beds. I carefully leveled the site and began to build over the low portions of the yard. After completion, I was able to fill the raised bed planters with about 3 feet (1 m.) of additional growing medium. This immense depth of well-draining soil allowed me to plant virtually any plant without issues with water retention.
After planting, I eagerly awaited the first rainfall. Even with continuous thunderstorms throughout the summer season, the plants in the bed continued to thrive. I was pleased to have solved my drainage problem AND beautify my front yard at the same time. Over the next few years, I continued to add several more raised beds which serve as flower borders and offer much needed privacy from the busy city street.
I’m happy with the outcome and can honestly say that adding raised bed gardens in place of unusable lawn has been a godsend. And if I can do this on my own, anyone can!