How to create a lush garden space easily. Come see how I created a Simple Cedar DIY flowerbed using inexpensive and long-lasting cedar fence boards. Putting in an easy DIY cedar flowerbed is a simple weekend project that any skill level can complete.
This weekend my husband and I decided to jazz up a little area that has been a true eyesore in our front yard. Adding a lush garden space by making a simple cedar DIY flowerbed was easy since we used cedar fence boards.
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When we moved in a couple of years ago, the front yard had an overgrown “mystery bush” of sorts. The bush was huge! Taller than me and probably 8-10 feet wide, there it stood in the middle of our front lawn.
As it grew, we would come to see that the bush was more like a mixture of bushes and vines. There were blackberries and wisteria in there. I wanted to keep those so I tried to give the bush a chance. However, it was impossible to tame. We took many approaches. I was kind and gentle to the bush beast, giving it a snip here and trimming it back there. That made no difference. Later, I had someone come out and savagely cut it back and haul away trailers full of debris. Nonetheless, it grew back wildly.
Finally, at the very beginning of spring this year I had had enough. After winter the bush was spindly and bare. I made the call that we had to tackle it and take it down. Since we were under quarantine and had time and energy, we did!
Removing the Mystery Bush
If I wanted to have a simple cedar DIY flowerbed, we had to put in some work! It took us two days of chopping and hauling to remove our mystery bush. We hauled loads of debris to our burn pile. And I’m certain we used every gardening tool that we had. You’ve never seen so many chutes and vines and roots growing out of the ground.
After we removed the bush from above the ground, we knew we weren’t getting off that easily! This thing would be back within a matter of weeks if we didn’t kill the roots. Rather than try to dig them up we chose to kill the roots by building a having a little front-yard bonfire. We created a burn pile on top of the same area and let it burn as long as it took to get most of the remaining roots. It was a couple of days of smoldering.
Preparing for the Simple Cedar DIY Flowerbed
After we burned the area, we left the spot alone for a little while. There were a few reasons for this. First, I had no idea what I was going to do there. Our options were to try and get grass to grow there or make it something more decorative. Like I tend to do, I sat on that decision until inspiration struck.
Just a few weeks ago, we had a gate installed at our driveway along with a picket fence. We never wanted the entire front yard to be enclosed by a fence, so we chose to do what is essentially our side yard and driveway area. This worked out beautifully in regards to our bare spot because the picket fence went right around that area, blocking it from the view of passersby! I love it when a plan comes together. You can see in the picture below how we fenced the area and that dirt spot in the corner where the bush was.
Since the spot was already in the corner, it was an easy jump to decide to make a simple flowerbed here. Also, ever since we had the fence put up, we’re been spending way more time in our front yard area. Our big dogs are able to be out front with us now so it’s a lot more fun to sit out there. With that in mind, we quickly wanted to get something done with the eyesore in the corner.
How to build a DIY Cedar Flowerbed
Now, looking at the spot that we had, it was easy to decide that we needed to create a square-ish flowerbed. If this were a smaller area, I would have wanted a more natural, organic style border. But here in this spot, it looks nice to have the finished, straight lines.
In order to build this little garden bed, we only needed a few things from the hardware store. We picked up 4- 8 foot cedar dog ear fence boards, some wood screws, and piece of 1×4 treated pine. The treated pine would be used as braces in the middle of the cedar planks.
Sidenote: If I had to redo this flowerbed area, I would have tilled really well before we built the boxed area. For some reason, tilling didn’t even cross my mind until I started thinking about filling the box. The area was so full of roots, dead and alive that it was going to be a nightmare to plant anything without tilling. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, let’s talk about building the Cedar Box.
Building the Cedar Flowerbed
Using the cedar fence boards, we built a square box that would mirror the length and width of the fenced area in the back of the box. We also used two boards to serve as the backside of the box so that we wouldn’t lose dirt under the edge of the picket fence. You can see better what I’m referring to in the picture below.
We made a simple square box and made sure that the boards were level before screwing them into place. After attaching the side rails, we added some support in the middle of each piece so that there would be no bowing when we added the lots of dirt and compost to the box.
Since we didn’t do it first, now we needed to till up the soil. The ground here was super compacted from being undisturbed for years underneath the mystery bush. We used our Ryobi tiller to run through the bed several times over in all directions. Truth be told, we could have tilled a lot more and still kept pulling up roots! But sometimes you just want to get things done!
After tilling and smoothing the ground to level (we just eyeballed it). It was time to put down some landscaping fabric. Using good fabric is important here so that weeds and grass don’t come right through. You’ll thank me later!
Filling the Bed with Soil and Compost
Once we had a good layer of landscaping fabric down, we filled the box with as much top soil as we had on hand. This was several bags. Alas, as with every project, it wasn’t enough. Here’s where my chicken compost pile saved us.
In the back of our chicken coop and run area, there’s a huge pile of chicken compost. It makes excellent soil once it’s broken down for a few months. We have used the soil in the past to fill holes here and there. For our purposes here, it was perfect.
Choosing Plants and Filling in the Box
The last thing was grabbing some plants from Home Depot. I like a mixture of perennials and annuals in most flowerbeds. If you keep a nice mixture in your beds, there will always be something that looks good. In this space, I chose to make the front area for annuals that I can easily swap out throughout the seasons. The bed is mostly sun so I had to consider that the plants would need to be pretty resilient to heat and sun. At the time of planting these items, it was around 95 degrees!
The only plant that I kept from the original bush was Wisteria. I have plans to build a French Tueter like this one from She Holds Dearly in order to train the Wisteria to grow really beautifully up it. That, however, is a project for another day!
So that’s it for this little flowerbed project. I hope you see how easily you can create your own simple cedar DIY flowerbed using cedar fence boards.
Let me know if you have any areas on your property where a quick and easy flowerbed would be useful! Also, do you guys have any experience training wisteria? Here in the south, wisteria is known to be a bit invasive. I would love to know your best tips and tricks for controlling it’s growth and keeping it healthy.
Also, be sure to check out my other posts like Chicken Vocabulary: 10 Chicken Terms You Must Know Before Buying.