Garden Box Construction, Part 6

Liz and I started off the morning with some errands – and settled back into resuming work on the garden boxes around noon.

Last night, we decided that we needed to focus on just getting one of the garden boxes set up – as Liz has a certain planting schedule she’s trying to keep. So while we’ve been working on two boxes, we shifted to just work on getting one fully up and running.

Before starting, Liz put some coir that she purchased into our wheelbarrow. There’s a whole mysterious bit of sourcery related to the soil mixture she’ll be using – so I’m kind of clueless about what all this is.

But apparently it needs to soak up some water, first.

Laying out the decking boards, to see how things fit. It turned out that we only had about a 4.5″ gap for a 5.5″ board. No way to wedge this guy in, even with a mallet.

So – the best option we came up with was to notch one of the side decking boards. Originally, all the boards were going to butt up against the braces on either side (leaving a small 1.5″ gap).

But with this new development… notching about an inch into one board would open things up in the middle, and give us the extra room we needed.

Me, attempting to do some detail work with the radial saw.

Eventually, I realized I wasn’t getting enough material cut by having the wood flat. This is some of the messiness I was dealing with.

Instead, I set the board on its side… and clamped a few thicker pieces of wood on either side, to provide a bit of support. It may not have been terribly secure, but it was slightly more solid.

I adjusted the depth of the radial saw… and instead of cutting up to a certain point, made my cuts straight through the board. Bob had mentioned this trick (and it’s something I’ve seen him do numerous times).

To get the notch, you’re not actually cutting along all sides. Instead, you’re making multiple small cuts and creating small wafers… which you can eventually snap off. And the resulting space can be cleaned up with a pocket knife.

Not super clean, but not terrible. I got a little bit of practice in, but I soon started feeling a lot more comfortable working with the radial saw in this manner.

Bob makes this look easy.

Outside, Liz was working on cutting up a 3″ border/outline.

In order to make the box level, she wanted to put down a small layer of gravel and adjust things accordingly.

A view of the pond liner, which will eventually go in the bottom of the garden boxes.

We realized that while the border worked… the 2×4 cross braces were actually propping the entire box up. In fact, it was so extreme that some corners weren’t even touching the ground!

So we had to roll the box away, and cut out two strips where the 2×4’s would rest. We needed to clear away enough grass/soil so that the 2×4’s wouldn’t touch anything at all, thereby enabling the sides of the box to come in contact with the ground.

Liz, adding in some more gravel to help level things out. Not how the PVC pipe is helping us “prop” things a little higher, temporarily.

The box in its final spot, and with the decking boards in place. I had to go back in and adjust my notches a little deeper, but I eventually go it.

For the middle board, I was working on trying to notch it… but time started to get away from us. So I took the lazy option and just cut off 1.5″ from both ends. It’s not as clean, but it still worked.

Liz, installing the final screws – affixing the decking boards to the cross beams.

Measuring out what we need for the pond liner.

Liz had made a ton of small marks, and was using the level to connect them all together (to ensure a straight line).

The liner we have is huge, and should give us enough material for both boxes.

The coir, after a few hours – looking a lot healthier and fluffier.

The box, set on a layer of gravel, with the decking boards installed!

You can kind of see how things are a bit off (the board on the far left is notched and tight up against the side, while the board on the right leaves a 1.5″ gap).

Not a fan of these portrait shots, but…

Another view of the inside. Top board is the notched corner piece. Middle board was my quick and lazy solution. There’s a small gap there, but it won’t really impact things once the pond liner and soil get thrown on top.

We ended up calling it a day around 5:30PM. After cleaning up and putting all our tools away, Liz and I saw on the front porch for about 45 minutes and watched the sun go down.

There’s a part of me that wanted to keep working, to keep going (I could see us mixing soil in the backyard, under the moonlight). But I’m glad we stopped and called it quits.

Left to do: cutting up the large, performated drain pipes and wrapping the ends with landscaping cloth. We’ve got to staple the pond liner in place, cut a hole for two drain tubes, place the drain pipes, and throw in a ton of soil.

We’re so close! We’re both extremely exhausted, as the weekend has been pretty nonstop (last weekend to as well). Really wishing we had another full day to get this all 100% completed and put together. Depending on how motivated we get during the week, we might get it done before the weekend.

Very close now. Very close.

Garden Box Planning Mode
Garden Box Construction, Part 1
Garden Box Construction, Part 2
Garden Box Construction, Part 3
Garden Box Construction, Part 4
Garden Box Construction, Part 5

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