Our small urban garden

I’ve been meaning to start a picture thread for a while. We got the place in March 2019. The summer of that year was spent working on the house proper. The work on the yard started in October 2019. Fortunately, the previous winter was mild, which allowed us to do a lot of work on the infrastructure. I was cementing fence posts in January! The structural work continued through the growing season, alongside planting trees and vegetable gardening.

Here are some before pictures, from the house listing. It was a neglected expanse of brown grass and blacktop, with the latter predominating.





In the last picture, the strip of grass between the chainlink fence and the neighbors’ driveway is over 6’ wide, and is actually a part of our lot. I guess it was easier for the previous owner to just align the fence with the corner of the house. Reclaiming that took the neighbors aback a little, but they were understanding.


Here’s the master plan (I’m not good with design software)

The area is about 65 x 50’. The far end (about 15’ deep) is a steep hill that was overrun with kudzu, poison ivy and trash. There is also a huge maple tree in the far (south) end of the property.

The idea was to plant some dwarf and espalier fruit trees around the perimeter, have raised vegetable beds in the center, a sunken patio (to level off the slope) with a pergola/grape arbor on top, to cut back drastically on the blacktop and to use the rest of it as a driveway container garden. Eventually, there will also be a shed on stilts, to utilize some of the hillside.


First section of the fence - October 2019:

Mid-March 2020, right before the start of the pandemic. Two sides of the fence done, along with some smaller raised beds:

The third side of the fence involved some stump removal and thus dragged on until September.


First raised bed - early April 2020:

Two more added by the end of April as I had some time off work due to covid:

Tomatoes - way too crowded and way too early:

Some apple trees ready to be espaliered:

The final two vegetable beds didn’t go in until September. The partially excavated driveway/lumber yard can also be seen.


Rainwater collection system (later expanded to three drums):

Gutter garden:

Driveway farm (mid-June):

And six weeks later in late July:


Good work! I particularly like your new fence and the gutter garden


Thank you, Annie!

August - building a retaining wall for the final section of the fence, along with some steps:

And… done

The driveway is trimmed down to its final size (24 x 24’). More lumber, and dumpster #3 or #4

At this point, the area south of the lumber pile was re-designated as a rock/herb garden:


Just a few more random pictures


Great garden! Congratulations! :+1:


Thank you, Luis!

The current state of affairs - excavating the sunken patio area:


Impressive work! :+1:

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Fantastic! Really nice job turning a bleak urban lot into something amazing. What is that vine you have a picture of growing up and over the walkway? It made a lot of progress in one season. I think it would take me about 20 years to do all that work you did in one year.


my guess is luffa or bitter melon

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Good eye - it’s both! They did put on a lot of growth during the season, then promptly died at the first sign of frost

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Thank you, Holly! Having extra time off in spring definitely helped. I also need to give credit to my husband - he was both the artistic brains behind the design and the muscle for menial tasks, like sealing lumber, digging up gravel and watering the garden. I had to figure out and execute the technical details.


Love all the pics! Great looking garden oasis you have!


Very nice, watch out for year 2 and 3. That’s when the pests show up. Any favorite varieties so far?


It is a huge job done here. Congratulations!

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Awesome, Awesome, Awesome! What an inspiration! Do you have a YouTube? You’d have tons of subscribers in no time. :slight_smile:


Very nice job! Please keep posting pictures along the way.