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Garden Makeover: Before and After! | Almanac.com

Garden Makeover: Before and After!

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Take a look at our dream vegetable garden makeover

The Editors

Take a look at our dream vegetable garden makeover! There’s still time to transform your garden. Here’s how to take your garden up a level to both beautify your growing space and maximize your harvest yield.

There’s nothing like the promise of spring to galvanise that resolve to get your house in order, and—for us—the garden! Whether it’s throwing up a couple of arches, slamming in some garden furniture, screening off any bits that still don’t look awesome, and/or tuning your layout to squeeze even more produce from your plot, we have some idea that just might help you!

See our video to get the most out of the garden makeover as well as our article below.


New Garden Beds

First up are the garden beds. If you want to grow more this year, you’ll need space to do that! Let’s get on and remove this old bed and drop in a replacement.

  • Pull away the sides, put the soil in a wheelbarrow temporarily so you can add a new, replacement bed.
  • Unfold and drop in a new pallet collar bed. These beds are convenient and instant. Perhaps put them parallel to existing beds to create a pleasing symmetry and so paths line up. Up the aesthetic appeal of the vegetable garden this year.
  • Get the bed level if your garden lies on a slope. This means digging into the bed into the slope, using a spirit level to get it just so.
  • Then refill the bed. Fill it halfway using the existing soil removed from the old bed, then top it up using a fresh delivery of compost. If you’re sowing direct, then perhaps finish off with a layer of potting mix to sow into.
  • Drop in another bed to line up with those around it. Again, get it perfectly level to make watering easier, and then it’s the same process of filling it: half of the existing soil kept over, and then a topping of the compost. And there we are – we’re all set to go!

New Bench and Arbor

Something we’re all guilty of is forgetting to sit back and enjoy our gardens.  How about dropping in a garden bench with a wonderful view?

  • Chop back vegetation and set the bench into position. Chopping back can help get more light down to lower levels. Level the ground and then sit bench legs on thick tiles, to help protect the feet of the bench and stop them from rotting too quickly.
  • A great idea is a bench that comes with an integral arbor to grow something up and over. If it’s too shady, perhaps clear the area behind the arch here.
  • Consider what to plant on either side of the arbor to sprawl up it. How about a Japanese wineberry, which has gorgeous red stems covered in thousands and thousands of tiny spines. It looks incredible, even in the winter when it’s leafless. The berries themselves are incredibly sweet, and it’s self-fertile too.
  • After planting according to the plant tag instructions, add a generous mulch of organic matter to turbocharge its growth.

More Fruit Bushes

How about planting fruit bushes? (See video.) Many prefer direct sunshine, but will still produce a reasonable crop even in light shade. Ideally, fruit bushes are in a location that will get plenty of afternoon sunshine in the summer, when the berries are ripening.

Perennial Vegetables

If you have perennial vegetables growing (those that keep coming back year after year), plant them in separate areas that won’t be disturbed. (See video.) Gorgeous perennial kale, leeks, and rhubarb are excellent choices. Be sure to mulch in the spring.

New Vegetable Arch

Add a new vegetable arch or replace an old vegetable arch. This will be a permanent feature so do it right! It’s important to line up and secure an arch in the ground so it’s level and firm. (See video demo.) These will look superb with climbing beans! 

Final Touches 

Want to add more vertical height? Consider dropping obelisks in your bed or side beds for cucumbers, squash, and other climbing vines. Adding a little height not only creates more room for growing but also offers a repeating visual rhythm throughout the garden.

If you have something to screen (such as a trampoline!), screen it slightly with traditional terracotta pots on a tall, fast-growing bamboo that’ll swish and sway in the wind. 

If any trees have died, such as an old apple tree, consider replacing it.

Once the bones are in place, just wait for spring to arrive!  What do you think of the garden makeover? And are you going to “pimp” your plot or just tidy it up at the edges? We welcome your thoughts below!

Gardening Calendar