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Dig In

Oh, friends. The days of soil and sun and time spent outdoors are seriously upon us. We’ve been spending increasingly greater quantities of time “gettin’ out in it” every day, and it is just delicious (or, as Huxley calls it, “Licious!”).

I wanted to share with you several images of a finish Hubs put on some of our raised beds (we have 14 beds). He used a paint roller for the undercoat and then used a sponge to apply a variety of colors atop it. Doing so better mimics the color palette of the natural world, where monochromatic surfaces are almost never encountered (aside from, oh, maybe snow and sand).

Before Hubs tricked out the raised beds, they were fairly conspicuous. When you live in a cove in the middle of a forest, many human-placed things become incredibly visible, incredibly quickly. We love the use of colors that blend into the surrounding environment to look a bit more like we belong in the setting. These raised beds definitely achieve that goal. The paint also reinforces the wood, making it break down slower than an unfinished bed would. The paint, of course, is only on the exterior of the boxes, and doesn’t extend down into where the soil is.

What about you? Do you use raised beds in your garden? If so, how do you bolster them? I’m so excited to have something that’s both functional and subtly attractive in the garden. Time to dig in!

10 Responses to Dig In

  • EcoGrrl says:

    Love it! Funny as I've been contemplating how to add some pizzazz to mine as well (cinderblock beds primarily ). My friend is going to build me wooden tomato trellises atop one of them since wire cages do little for 7' plants, pix to come (as soon as the rain stops, argh!).

    Still loving watching the English Evolution :-)

  • Kristen says:

    Gorgeous, Ashley! This weekend, I put together some small raised beds (planters, really) from old scrap wood. The natural color is so pretty that I may just seal them with a clear coat of something… (see one here: )

  • Charlene says:

    14 beds???!!!! That's awesome! And they do look lovely!

  • lilybeans says:

    I see you have already started planting! It is still pretty cold in MD at night, is there anything you know of that can survive night temps in the 40s?

  • El Gaucho says:

    14?!?!? Wow, that pales in comparison to my four raised beds. I love the color and texture of the paint, it might really make our beds less conspicuous from the road.

  • awesome idea! i have a few garden boxes on my patio that face the road- i have been playing with the idea of wood burning some designs into them and then sealing with a clear coat to help preserve the wood.

  • Danielle says:

    We are building a 100 foot by 50 foot garden that will have a combination of raised beds, trellises, and regular old beds in the ground. Our biggest quandary at the moment is how to keep the deer out without erecting an enormous eyesore (namely a 8 foot tall fence). Ideas? Should we just get a dog?

  • ashley says:

    Danielle-We have fencing, and dogs. That's the only solution we found that worked. That said, dogs alone will do a good job, at least during daylight hours (unless your dogs live outdoors at night). Otherwise, perhaps one of those motion-sensor detection set-ups shown in magazines like Mother Earth News, Grit, and other agricultural publications might be worth looking into.

  • Bee Girl says:

    14 beds?! Fantastic! We have both ground level and raised beds. Currently all our raised beds are still their natural color, but I do like the look of yours! We're planning on turning a good portion of our backyard into raised bed space (about 100 sq. ft.) so this idea just might manifest itself in NM 😉 Thanks for the inspiration! Happy sowing!

  • Our 6 raised beds are made of cedar, and the oldest two have turned a nice patina that is pretty much fading into the yard. We also have a terraced area on the side of the garage that is held up with cedar fence posts, which already looks kind of rustic. I know cedar is pricey, but I really like how it ages.