Help Dad & Build an Amazing Garden




Introduction: Help Dad & Build an Amazing Garden

IN THEGet in the Garden Contest!!!

I created this Instructable, Build an Amazing Garden, for the Get in the Garden Contest.

Its been redone and ramped up!

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So, your obviously reading this because you're interested in raising a better, more appealing garden and outdoor paradise. But you want an amazing garden, not the extrodianary price. Right? What better way than to get out and do it yourself? Well, that's what I set out to do in my own backyard.

This project really is all about personality. Some people love an easily maintained garden, others love to be highly involved in their gardens. Either way, I recommend that you read all the way through this Intractable before you run out to the nursery-PLUS, I have handy tips and trick at the end of this Instructable!

As for the cost of this project? Its also a matter of personal preference. When I built my garden, I wanted something easy to maintain, that was also easy on the wallet. But some people seem to have no budget for this type of project, so read on to find out more!

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Step 1:

Unfortunately, I started this Instructable far too late to include picture-it would have been nice- but alas, I wasn't thinking.

Here's what in this particular picture:

12x Pavestone 12 In. x 12 In. Tuscan Square Fieldstone Stepping Stone
28x Pavestone 24 In. x 12 In. Tuscan Square Fieldstone Stepping Stone

1x Van Zyverden Clematis
1x CobraCo 14 In. Flatwire Hanging Basket (Impatiens)

8x Millstead 2 In. x 4 In. x 8 Ft. Prime Pressure Treated
2x Millstead 2 In. x 10 In. x 10 Ft. Pressure Treated Lumber
5x Millstead 6 In. x 6 In. x 10 Ft. Pressure Treated Lumber
7x Millstead 4 In. x 6 In. x 10 Ft. Pressure Treated Lumber

1x Minwax Stainable Wood Filler 16 Oz.
2x Minwax Wood Finish Red Oak Quarts
20x 90d nails

But, here is what you're really going to need:

A pair of gloves
Garden Stakes
Plants (to taste)

Step 2: Terms to Know

These are plants that die in the fall or winter. They are usual characterized by their vibrant colors, large blooms and flowers, and bountiful aroma. They usual require the most attention. Annuals include plant families such as Impatiens, Marigolds, Begonias, Black Eye Susans, etc.

These are plants that won't die off in the fall and winter. They are broken down in several families. They are usual characterized by their smaller blooms, other characteristics can vary by species. They usually require the most least attention, only need to watered intermittently, and cut back when they become over grown Annuals include plant families such as Lilies, Daisies, Hostas, etc.

These perennials will stay green all winter long and add color to a bleak landscape. This family includes Pines, bushes, and some ground flowers.

Step 3: A Kingdom for My Garden!

Flowers can be a lot more expensive than one would think! (I would know, I work in a nursery)

A single annual can cost as little as a dollar and some change (when their on sale), and some can cost $7 each!.

So when you start this project, its a smart idea to figure out how much you can really afford. For this project I used the Home Depot's 6 months "same-as-cash" payment plan.

After figuring out how much I wanted to spend I took a trip to the local nursery.

In this Instructable, I redid my entire back yard (an area or less than an acre) for about $2,000--but you can do this project for as little as $10 if you so please.

Step 4: Tools of the Trade

When building my dream garden I used a lot of tools, and it always helps to have these handy. You dont have to run out and buy these to start your garden though! You can always borrow most of these items from friends and neighbors. Only buy them when you know that gardening is really for you--then these tools will become your bestest friends!


A good pair of gloves
Gardening trowel
Hose (50+ foot )
Knee Pads
Watering can


Weed Mat
Plant Pots

Feel free to improvise, create, add, or omit any supplies you want! This is just a basic list of things I

Step 5:

Once your ready to start designing, I recommend getting a notebook (one of those marble ones worked wonders for me). Read through a few design magazines at your local hardware store while you're waiting in line. If you find something amazing, take notes or sketch it down. There's no need to be amazingly artistic. All you need need to do is get down the basic arraignment of items in the picture. Jot down some keywords, such as the color scheme and varieties of plants (if listed). If you find something that is close to (or exactly) what you want in your garden, it's particularly helpful to buy the magazine!

Just keep in mind that you want your garden to be beautiful as well as functional!

Below I have a simple sketch of (part of) my backyard. You'll notice its not very detailed, because it doesn't need to be! Even though I have a lot of things drawn here, some got deleted and others where added. This is perfectly FINE! And this is what makes this step so much fun. So relax a little and have some fun with this step before you move onto the next one.

As you look at the sketch, I've included a piece of my (unpainted) house for scale. But more importantly, the garden flows well, and can easily be walked through. It also shows some important barriers such as walls, hills, and fences.

As a reminder, you do not have to draw your entire yard on a single page. You can draw parts and pieces. Just keep the theme similar from drawing to drawing.

Step 6: Lets Get It Started Out Here!

Once you have figured out what you love, and what you hate, its time to take the plunge and go look at the nursery. Bring that sketch book! You're going to need it!.

My first suggestion is to look and not to touch! What you want to do is grab a sales person buy the arm and show them your idea book. This will make it so easy for them to help you (I would know) and make it even easier on you. They can help you in a million different ways (and keep you in budget)

When your ready to start buying, keep in mind how large your budget is, as well as how much time you are willing to spend building this garden, as well as on day to day maintenance.

Ask them questions. Ask their opinions. Ask them relevant questions such as soil and water needs for plants in your particular climate. Walk around the store with them, finding flowers that suit your needs, designs, and desires. 9 times out of 10, they are thrilled to help, and most times they'll give helpful hints and trade secrets. As an additional bonus stores like The Home Depot will help load you vehicle.

Step 7: We're Going the Distance!

Heres where your hand get dirty.

Once you get home, you need to get to work! Getting plants into the ground as quickly as possible keeps them from drying out and dying. So it's advisable that your first few trips home contains your soil, fertilizer, tools, and supplies (this includes items such as weed mats, retaining wall block, mulch or stones, etc) before you get too carried away with the plants.

Its also a good idea to bring a truck if you plan on doing a larger project. A friend is always a help too. In my case, I brought two trucks, two friends and their kids. This enabled me to get alot in one trip, as well as some extra hands to hold the odd flower or two.

A word to the wise: buy only as many plants as you feel comfortable working with at one time.

Once you have a vast collection of flowers on your shopping its time to bring them home!

Step 8: Hands On!

If you need help at this point, this simple instructable will help you with the actual planting of your newly acquire greenery:

We started with the raised beds that we used to line some of the walkways with. From their we moved on to the walkways themselves. Meanwhile my wife worked the tiler, and turned up the ground so we could get the garden in earlier this spring.

After getting a good majority of the ground broken up, and the boxes made, we brought the soil and fertilizer home from the store. We started about a dozen vegetable varieties in egg-carton pots in a tiny tabletop greenhouse earlier this year. So we placed these in the box, and we've been ejoying them ever since.

Once we got that done we moved on to the other elements of our drawings. Since this is so different for everyone, I'll stop here.

And here's the kids giving us a hand getting them in the ground.
They spent the entire day, and had a ton of fun! It was a real plus having them around.

Step 9: Maintaining

In order to keep your garden going, you need to water it.
When it comes to watering you have many options. Many people rely on the sky for their water, but this can often lead dead or wilted plants, and therefore, isn't the suggested method.

For small gardens, its often practical to use a watering can. If you have a small or medium sized garden you may want to use a hose.

With either of these, you will need to water once or twice a week up to two times a day--depending on plant species.

For those who are planning on a larger garden (especially those who don't want to spend all summer watering plants) you may want to look at some soaker hoses. For those that are more ambitious, you may want to look at buried water lines and corrugated pipes. (I would share mine but alas--I started this guide to late)


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Step 10: Tricks, Tips and HELP!

As a side note--but not essentail to your garden:


Raised beds also can be used for low walls, and to line or define pathways.
They are ideal for vegetables, and are ideal for starting seed. Also, in cold regions they thaw and drain soil earlier, assuring a successful spring planting.

Even a tiny window box is better than nothing! It can help your garden get the boost it needs, and its one of the best places to start and grow seeds.

A cheap method of growing things from seeds involves using egg cartons filled with Miracle Grow under a grow light. Keep well watered!


You can assure a long supply of various edibles (of your favorite variety) by succession planting--that is, plant another (or the same) crop every two weeks or so. This way you won't get all of your favorite vegetables all in the same week.

Lettuce, Spinach, and Radishes are all mature fast so you can get 2-3 plantings in a single season before you have to start on warm weather vegetables-and therefore are perfect for succession plantings.


Practice restraint! garden accessories are most affective when they don't clutter a garden. It's tempting to buy nifty garden items when you see them, but too many often looks trashy.

Garden accessories should fit YOUR style. If you have a laid back garden, don't bother dropping mega dollars on a formal sets that class with your personality. If your garden is rustic go with rustic items. If you planted a formal rose garden, you might want a formal decor.

A simple garden a chair and table setup always looks great and functions well too, so don't skip out on this accessory.


Its never too late to expand, shrink, and modify your plans!

Provide a good, clear access to your house through the garden.

Design and build pathways so that you can move around the garden easily. (You don't want a garden that you'll hate spending time in do you?)

Use lengths of garden hose to 'draw' your paths. Unroll two lengths of hose between the points that you want to join up, leaving them slack so as to round out the shapes. As soon as you're happy with the shape, keep the hose in place with U-shaped wires, then mark the line (using light-colored sand, lime, or spray-on marker paint). This is much faster and just as efficient as using small garden stakes and cord.

Allow for narrow pathways between hedges and fences, behind banks, or around a vegetable garden, so that you have access to planted areas you need to trim or structures you need to repaint. These paths should be approximately 24-32 inches (6080 centimeters) wide so that you should be able to use an edge trimmer or a hedge cutter.

kylara70 says:

Buy flowering plants that are marked down in the outside garden section at the hardware store or grocery. Make sure their greenery is nice and don't worry if the flowers are all dying. Do some research before hand to see what kinds are repeat flowers. Gerbera Daisies like the above are wonderful and can last through a mild British winter. You can even offer to take home throw-away plants and see what happens

If you're too cheap to buy dirt, place an ad on under "WANTED:" for "free fill dirt" .

Aside from this, have fun designing and building your own wonder world!

If you have a comment, please do so!
I'll add your suggestion right into the Instructable (plus you get a link)
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    16 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

     Your garden is absolutely gorgeous and must bring you hours and joy and tranquility!  I have been relandscaping a huge yard by myself, and can only imagine--after the weeks and weeks of 10-12 hour days--the amount of work you've done in order to get these results.  Bravo and a remarkable job!  You obviously have a knack for envisioning the aesthetics and bringing it together (something I've yet to master, personally!), so I'm a tad envious!

    Thanks for sharing, at any rate.  You've reignited my inspiration to get this damned yard done and make it something I can be proud of! 


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Hey guys!

    Haven't been around to update this instructible or create a new one....I've joined the United States Navy. So I won't be around much for the next 6 years (I'm a nuclear machinist's mate in case you're wondering)

    Anyways. 20,000 views!
    Never thought i could have so many. Thanks for the support!



    10 years ago on Introduction

    The roots from those purple coneflowers are medicinal too. Echinacea Purpurea!


    10 years ago on Step 10

    I truly loved your instructable. Thanks for adding my comment. You've inspired me to make my own raised beds and I am going to build them with cob. I will make an instructable for that and publish next spring when I get a crop started.


    10 years ago on Step 3

    Buy flowering plants that are marked down in the outside garden section at the hardware store or grocery. Make sure their greenery is nice and don't worry if the flowers are all dying. Do some research before hand to see what kinds are repeat flowers. Gerbera Daisies like the above are wonderful and can last through a mild British winter. You can even offer to take home throw-away plants and see what happens.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I was just about to add this (after a long streak without the internet), Thanks for the tips!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Anyone have a suggestion of another outdoors/garden ible they'd like to see? I'm taking suggestions!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Hey guys! Thanks for the comments, ratings, and subscriptions!! I appreciate!


    Are those photos on sticks in your garden? Your garden is very beautiful!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    LOL on my wall? Yes...It is. I took the picture while I was still trying to figure out what i should put around the wall. I took the pictures in a neighbors garden and placed them there to see what would look best....Yet another tip (Just for You)!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    That's a brill idea! I need help deciding what to put in front of the little cottage I live in. I wish I knew how to put up a picture . I'd be really interested in suggestions....I am not a gardening fan, but I love beautiful gardens.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    what kind of lumber did you use for the planter along the edge of the patio (dimensions, type of wood)? It all looks beautiful!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Perhaps i should re-re-edit this to include all this info....wood, plants and the like?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    If time permits you to do so i am sure appreciation will be given.