The Start of My Kitchen Garden

This is the first in a series of posts about the process of creating a kitchen vegetable garden in my yard using elevated wood garden planters.

Last summer after realizing that we were eating more veggies and enjoyed getting them fresh right from our small garden every day, that it was time to go bigger with our vegetable gardening efforts.

Elevated cedar planter boxes in a yard.

We did a lot of planning, watching how the sun moved through our yard during the day and found the best spot, much better than where the previous owner created a small garden that we had been using.

The spot that was best to set up the garden is in our side yard that borders the lake, right next to a hose connection and door to the house.

Square Foot Gardening Book Cover

I wrote about it briefly last summer after we read the book Square Foot Gardening and began in earnest to learn how to become better at growing and maintaining a garden with just enough for our needs.

So What Exactly is a Kitchen Garden?

  • A Kitchen Garden is an opportunity to incorporate fresh foods into your kitchen to ultimately lead a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.
  • Kitchen Gardens consist of raised beds typically located near or around your home for optimal access to your kitchen. It is a smaller scale, more manageable opportunity to incorporate gardening into your lifestyle.
  • You can grow small or large quantities of your favorite veggies while adding an aesthetically-pleasing touch to your home. It’s a simple way to add a little of your own harvest to every meal.

Getting the Kitchen Garden Set Up

side yard of house with markings showing where garden will be.

To add more space and sunlight to the chosen garden area, we had a tall pine cut down, then over the winter, Ed removed tall shrubs that covered the side of the house and another row of them that borders the cove along our property line so the sun would not be blocked from reaching the area.

He also dug up the grass in the area and placed landscaping cloth down that for now he covered with pine straw.

We were thinking of using pea gravel under the area where the elevated beds will be, but with pine trees all around us, we may just stick to keeping the area natural using pine straw mulch to designate the area.

Painted turquoise whisky barrels used to grow herbs and tomatoes.

We also plan to move the herb and tomato planters to the new garden area to create one easy to access place to grow what we need and easier to maintain.

At the end of the row of whiskey barrels you can see the original small garden we used for the last 5 years. Ed is going to level that area and seed so grass will grow.

What’s Next for Getting The Kitchen Garden Up and Growing

  • Create a garden floor plan on how to best set up the the planters – two with a trellis or arch and barrels in a pleasingly aesthetic way.
  • Stain the outsides of the elevated planters and repaint the whiskey barrels that hold herbs to coordinate with the wood deck on the lake side of the house and natural surroundings.
  • Add cedar strips to create a square foot grid on top of each planter.
  • Fill with a soil mix that the Square Foot Gardening book recommends and begin planting.
  • Eventually as we build upon the area, we will add a fence, create a compost area, build a potting bench and build upon the area each year to see what is needed and what is not. It will be a little trial and error until we find what works best.

Why We Chose To Use Elevated Wood Planters Instead of DIY

Orignally when we were planning the garden, we were going to DIY raised garden beds ourselves with cedar lumber.


I nixed that idea when I found these easy to assemble elevated garden planters online that were delivered right to our doorstep.

Dimensions of Elevated-Wood-Garden-Planter by Best Choice Products

If we went the DIY route we would have had to rent a truck to bring all the lumber needed home from Lowes or Home Depot.

It was much easier and the cost for the lumber, truck, rental and gas was about the same to buy 4 easy to assemble rectangular elevated wood garden planters.

How to assemble an elevated wood garden planter.

The planters arrived last week and Ed put them together in a few hours right in the house as he watched golf on TV. :-)

All that is needed is a screw driver. Each piece fits easily into slots. All the screws came with the kit for each planter.

Close up of the inside of an assembled cedar elevated planter box.

They come with a cloth liner in the size and shape of the box that fits the inside of the planter perfectly.

4 Elevated wood garden planters in yard on a bed of pine straw.

A few other reasons that I like the elevated planters is that:

  • They are high enough to keep the rabbits out.
  • No bending down on hands and knees to take care of what we grown inside each of them.
  • Can be placed on a deck, porch or patio for when you don’t want or need a large garden
4 elevated cedar outdoor garden planters.

So now it is my turn to stain the exteriors of the planters and change the color of the whiskey barrels.

Cedar trellis at Home Depot

I will be staining the planters the color of this trellis.

I still have to decide on what kind of trellis or garden arch I want to use for string beans and cukes.

If you have a style or type you use and like, please let me know in the comments.

Where To Find The Elevated Wood Garden Planters

4 elevated cedar garden planters in yard. Text overlay says How to easily start an elevated vegetable garden

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  1. Beautiful idea! Thanks for sharing

  2. Great idea Diane. Sounds like you have done your homework and your garden should be a winner. I’m looking forward to seeing pictures of the produce you produce.

  3. Your garden plans look great and I love your planters and raised beds. I have two of those raised beds and am very happy with them – it’s so much easier to control everything and my days of bending over to ground level are over. Looking at your garden I’m thinking to get some planters like yours. I look forward to seeing your garden grow over the summer!

  4. Good luck with your raised garden. A couple of years ago My husband found a raised planter at Sams club and gave it to me for Mother’s Day. I have two and love them. Have to figure out how to add more. I first started it because our dog would eat the tomatoes we grew. Last year I found miniature vegetables for the patio and they worked great! I also grow lettuce too, so good fresh from the harder!

  5. Barbara B Pilcher says:

    What Susie said about anything seeds itself in pea gravel. Go with pine straw. And I recommend plastic lattice panels for a trellis. It may not look as natural as the wooden trellis you photographed, but it is maintenance-free and will last longer than wood unless the wood is a good quality cedar. You might also consider sticking bamboo poles in the soil for beans to climb. In the fall, you can put them away but even left outside, bamboo will last for quite a few years. We can’t wait to see your beautiful garden area!

  6. says:

    HI Diane,
    Okay, I have those raised planters in my shopping cart! Thank you!
    I have plans for raised garden beds in our backyard, but I want something off of our deck that is close to the kitchen.! Hard to think about spring when Colorado is expecting a blizzard! ha!

  7. Have you considered a wooden tuteur for your beans? They are so pretty. We tried one last year for peas and it worked great.

  8. Thanks so much for your note. I will look forward to those posts. So proud of you and your journey! Love your raised garden idea. It will be fun for you and Ed and who doesn’t love garden fresh tomatoes!
    Continue to enjoy your posts. Your blog is so different and offers such useful ideas. Also wanted you to know……i’m enjoying your banana cookies. What a great source of potassium.

  9. Love square foot gardening…I have recommended that process time and time again for beginning gardeners… easy to plan etc. Your raised beds are wonderful too ?. Anything that saves your back!
    How about cedar mulch for the area instead of the pea gravel or pine needles. Cedar is an all natural pest repeller and looks great (also smells wonderful). That may be the ticket for your area. I know that Lowe’s in my area sells it by the bag but depending on the amount you need could be more cost effective to look up a local rock/sand/gravel company that can deliver it to your driveway. You would have to wheelbarrow it back but….
    Can’t wait to hear more ?. I love gardening!

  10. Great idea for y’all! I may need these for my house. This post made me smile because when our kids were little Joe built raised beds for them and one of them (I cannot remember who) planted carrots and they grew and grew and hit the bottom and took a left or right turn so all the carrots had a severe bend. We wish you luck with your raised beds and cannot wait to see them In person. Hopefully snakes will stay away because it will be a busy area. Best of luck and happy planting.

  11. It will be fabulous and lots of fun. My experience of gravel is that anything seeds itself in it. If it is damp and shaded there will be moss. If anyone wears Sketchers the gravel gets caught in the gaps. I loathe snakes but if you have pine needles anyway will it make any difference? Maybe you can plant snake repelling plants if they exist? We have a spray for doorsteps to repel them.
    It is so satisfying so enjoy it all! Love from France

  12. How do you handle the critters that want to feast on your garden?
    Last year we had something taking bites out of many of our tomatoes. I suspect the opossum that frequents our back yard….or the other rodents.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kardn – In the previous garden we had a wire fence around it so no critters could get into it. It was made using hardware cloth. It didn’t stop birds though. As we progress with making the new garden all it can be, we may end up making it a walk in stucture with chicken wire walls and roof to keep aout all creatures.

  13. It’s going to be fabulous! I’ve always wanted a raised kitchen garden!!!! Maybe one day ?. When I read you were thinking of using pine straw it reminded me of my friend who has a lot of pine straw in her flowerbeds and woods……she told me snakes seem to like it. It may just been a fluke, but you may want to think about it….you may never see a snake??‍♀️ Pea gravel would be my choice if it were my garden. Definitely put a potting bench out there too!!!! Can’t wait to see the final results of your project!!!!!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Monica – We do have snakes and may have to use the pea gravel if I see any lurking around. Our only hesitation is that the pea gravel will always be covered in pine straw anyway as it is constantly falling from the trees. We will have to use the leaf blower to keep it looking nice. Time will decide.

  14. A couple years ago I switched to this type of container gardening and love it! No more bending and lots of flexibility if they need to be moved. Also quality soil is contained. No rabbits but the squirrels like to bury their peanuts!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Elaine – Both huge plusses when it comes to gardening. I am on board. :-)

  15. Cate Cooper says:

    Now THAT’S what I call a RAISED GARDEN! What a good thing you found, Diane! These little 18″ “raised beds” don’t make any sense to me because one has to bend over so far to reach them. I’m sure you will profit nicely from these. Take pictures through the growing season so we can see your progress.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Cate – I will post updates about the garden as we progress through the seasons.