You guys know we love a good 2x4 (you can see our full 2x4 series here) and we still had several sitting in our garage just waiting to turn into a fence. We love them because they are easy to work with and pretty affordable, not to mention sturdy - they hold up houses for goodness sake!
Throw a couple rolls of chicken wire in the mix and you're on your way to garden bliss. It takes a little work to get it all together, but the process is pretty straightforward and it's totally worth to protect your future produce!
Before we did any digging, we drew up a plan for the garden. We decided on the size and placement of the second and third beds and allowed at least two feet of space in all the pathways. We marked the spacing of the posts 6' apart, except at the gateways where they would be just 3' apart.
We also called JULIE to make sure there weren't any pipes or lines running where we planned to dig. You'll need to check your state or local requirements, but these guys send someone out for free to mark any no-dig zones so it was definitely worth a call just to be safe. The gave us a big "OK" (literally. they spray painted "ok" in the grass.) and we were ready to go.
We parked the little fellas in the shade while we worked away.
Here's how the actual fence went down. We started by marking the spots were the posts would go. After reading about a few other fences and seeing everything from 4 - 8' spacing, we decided to go with 6' between our posts (which was perfect because a 12' 2x4 could span two 6' spaces). Husband went through and dug a hole at each spot about 6" deep. Ideally we would have gone a little deeper, but it turns out our soil turns pretty rocky after 6" and we just had a little shovel to work with. Anyway, 6" ended up being good enough for this application.
Nice little hole. I don't know how he made them just the right shape. Mad shovel skills.
We cut our posts 36" long, so we got four posts from each 12' board. I put the corner posts in first, used a level to get them nice and straight, then packed some dirt around them to keep in place.
Once the corners were in, I tied a string to connect them. The string worked as a guide to help me make sure the boards were perfectly in line. I worked my way around making sure each post was level and in line with the string. I also would lay a long board across the top of the posts to make sure the tops were level. If something was off I would dig a little deeper or raise it up a bit to get it back in line.
Which got us to here:
For the most part just packing dirt in around the posts was good enough, but I knew the posts for the gate would need something more. On the hinge side of each gate there are two posts close together that have to support the weight of the gate, along with one post 3' away that holds the lock so it will get smacked around quite a bit.
The easiest solution we came up with was to just pour a little concrete around the base of these posts.
We used some left over mix from our concrete countertops. You know, because we're all about free.
I just used a bucket and trowel to mix up a little until it was a nice consistency. Think thick pancake batter.
Then I just dug out around the base of each post a little and poured concrete in up to ground level.
Then we just attached 2x4s around the posts, about 2" down from the top. Just make sure you let the concrete set up completely before you do those posts. If you want to make it sturdier you could add another row around the bottom. Ours feels pretty good for now, but we may add another row down the road if we need to.
This is why it's important to make sure you get boards that aren't warped:
Then we unrolled the chicken wire around inside the fence. We lined it up with the top of the posts and put a couple staples in near the top of each post. The wire was 36" tall and with our posts 6" in the ground they were only 30" tall, so we had about 6" of extra around the bottom. It was perfect because we wanted to run it into the ground a few inches in case the bunnies started digging. The easiest way we found to do that was to dig around the bottom of the fence and use a spade to push the wire down into the space we dug, then pack the dirt and grass back around it. When that was done we went back through and added a couple more staples near the bottom of each post.
Then we just had to do the gates. We made them about 27" tall and 35.5" wide to leave 1/4" space on either side and about 1" of clearance underneath. We also added a diagonal support board to help make it a little stronger.
Then we stapled chicken wire across the gate and left several extra inches of wire past the bottom edge. We added some hinges and a latch from Lowe's and attached the gate to the fence. After the gate was in place we kind of roll/folded the bottom chicken wire so it was was just long enough to drag on the ground without blocking the gate from opening. This is definitely our weak point for the bunnies, so we're hoping having the extra wire bunched up down there will help keep them out. Guess we'll know soon enough!
Oh, you're wondering about those boys in the shade? No. They didn't stay. Big Brother got out his "pointy shubble" to help daddy with the digging.
Baby Brother just followed us around and ate grass.
But even with the extra help, we managed to finish our fence!
Between building the fence and digging up the new garden beds, we probably worked on it for two weeks. But we got it done!
We sowed a few seeds in one of the beds and they are sprouting too. I don't know if it was too late in the season for starting from seeds, but I guess we'll find out! We're definitely taking the "learn as you go" and "at least we'll know for next year" approach. These are our little potato plants peeking through.
They live in the third bed with a few bean plants and Big Brother's dill plant that just had to go right here.
So now we just wait and water and wait. I can't wait to see what these plants give us now that they aren't being all eaten up by the neighborhood fluff balls.
And yes, we are planning to leave the grass between the beds! I see a lot of fancy raised bed gardens with wood chips or paving stones filling in all the pathways. They always look so pretty... and hot and pokey and splintery. As much as I would love something so picture perfect, I know how much time I'll spend bending over this garden, and mostly on my knees, so I knew grass was going to be the perfect filler for our garden. Nice and comfy.
What are you guys working on this summer?
p.s. This is your last chance to enter the Sherwin-Williams giveaway! Check out our big boy room reveal and get your name in the drawing!