Our Revamped Veggie Garden and Patio Refresh

June 10, 2021

 Come on in and have a look-see around the vegetable garden. This spring my husband and son replaced our old, broken-down raised beds and watering system. The old garden had served us well for decades but the last few years have been challenging as any repairs we attempted simply did not stick. The raised beds were falling apart and the watering system had sprung a dozen leaks. The garden was in desperate need of a complete overhaul and it was long overdue. Enter our son who offered to help. This was a Godsend and literally took weeks if not months off this job. Even so it was still months in the making and in the middle of it all we found another well that had to be dug through and filled with fill rock that we had to order. After a few set-backs like this, the garden beds and watering systems were installed and are now efficient, beautiful, and water-wise. My husband and son had the lion's share of work with the installation, but after all that heavy work was over and the beds were ready, I finally came onto the scene. I'm in charge of the planting, weeding and harvesting (and the taking of pictures) so my work has just begun. 

The picture below shows the rose arch where you enter the garden from the patio. Raised beds are on the left and right of the center path. Out of sight and to the far right I have David Austin roses against the fence and to the left is our lawn and perennial flower border. At the end of the garden is an olive tree, our greenhouse and a new play area for Carter. 

This will be a busy summer in the garden, just the way we like it.

Above, I love the diffused light of twilight when the colors are saturated and intense
and the garden is quiet and cool.

Bright California sun works its spring magic on the garden. 

A few steps outside the kitchen door and I can pick chives, marjoram, basil, thyme, sage and rosemary.

We received these tiki torches as a gift. They flicker and are so handsome and I love them so much that I ordered six more. They run on batteries and automatically turn on at dusk and off at dawn. They look absolutely beautiful in the garden and make a great Father's Day gift.

After sprucing up the garden I felt the patios needed a refresh too. These pillow covers come in four sizes and eight colors and are such a great price--12 cost me less than $50! I ordered two sets in navy to recover my old, faded pillows. They have zippers and go in and out of the washing machine.

The patio off our family room is a favorite cozy spot and seats 6. I had a rug languishing in the attic for a decade doomed to never see the light of day again until I gave it a try it on the patio. I love how it warmed up this spot and made it even cozier. It feels great to breathe new life into something I once loved but was unused for too long. We try to sit here every evening and I keep a basket nearby with a warm blanket and some knitting. This is also a favorite resting spot when taking a break from working in the garden.

One day I'll finish the scarf in the basket. It only gets attention when I collapse here and didn't happen to bring any other knitting with me.

Narrow brick planters on our patio grow herbs and peppers.

time for happy hour

Try not to notice the Macgyvered water pipes. Next week's job is to make them invisible. They will either be painted gray, buried or covered with wood caps.

We have 30 tomato plants. Since this photo was taken they have grown much larger.

Green and yellow patty pan squash in the foreground.

beans and cucumbers

A nasturtium growing here amid chives and basil have edible leaves and flowers. 
They are crisp, colorful and lightly peppery in salads.

I asked for plenty of room around each bed so I can maneuver the wheelbarrow around the corners.

Carter's play area is a new feature in our garden. He calls it his HQ and can play back here for hours. The redwood rounds that were salvaged from a neighbor when he had to cut down a tree, are great for hopping and also make perfect surfaces for playing. It's here where he sets up his dinosaur lands and plays shield shop. He only plays shield shop with Papa and all I really know about that game is that he needs my large pot lids. I've seen Papa "drive" by and stop to ask the shopkeeper if he has any magical shields for sale. Carter told me I couldn't play the game because it would be too hard to teach me. It must be a difficult game filled with nuance far above my level of understanding. ;) 

I have to boast that I rolled these big dudes one by one down the entire street by myself. By myself! (My husband is going to read this and will insist that he helped too. OK, he did bring one, but mostly he stood around and chatted with the neighbors.)

We salvaged an old table and chairs from a neighbor's trash. One man's trash is another man's treasure, am I right? It was already covered with paint splotches when we got it so it's ideal as a painting table. It's missing a piece of wood and is on the repair list, and when it's fixed, it will be quite perfect!

We have a battery run bubble machine here too.
Bubbles have a way of turning a plain old day into a magical day.

Another attic find that got a second lease on life was this iron tiered stand
that I moved to the center of the garden to hold my garden tools. 

Purple basil in the foreground.


Not the vegetable garden; zinnias line the front of the perennial border.
 I'll make a flower border post when these are blooming.

Lots of sun!

Thank you for taking the garden tour. I'll keep you posted with pictures throughout the summer as we start to harvest produce and the flower border starts to bloom. 

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  1. The vegetable garden is coming along beautifully. I'm hoping Carter will invite me over to play.


    1. LOL Carole you are too funny. I'll let Carter know you have an interest in playing with him. A little shield shop maybe.

  2. Gosh, you make me feel lazy. I love all the colors you've chosen. Thanks for the bubble machine link. Chloe

    1. Thank you pal. I even put the bubble machine on during happy hour when we have our friends over. It's kind of unexpected and they have no idea where the bubbles are coming from until they do some exploring! Kinda funny.

  3. I love your posts and watching Carter growing up!! Your garden is beautiful and wonderful to watch plants growing and producing. Thank you for sharing and all your hard work!! ❤️

    1. Thank you so much Linda. It's totally my pleasure to share my garden and I'm glad you enjoy it. :)

  4. Labor of love. The veggie garden is wonderful, you could feed a army!!

    1. Thank you Margie. We picked a handful of beans last night, not enough for an army exactly but enough for us. We will have way more produce than we can eat, that's for sure, but I can and freeze and share!

  5. Kristen, your gardens are beautiful. So many lovely plants and veggies. I have tried planting a veggie garden for years, however those squirrels come in and wipe out everything, even flowers.

    1. Thank you Fairy Blog Mother! I'm glad you popped by. We fight squirrels here too. Also raccoons and skunks and gophers. This year the squirrels pulled almost every bloom from the wisteria, took a bite and threw it down. They pick unripe fruit and do the same. It kills me to see the damage they do, without even feeding themselves. To me, a squirrel is like a rat.

  6. Kristen, I love your garden, your knitting and watching Carter grow up. I live in Australia and we just bought an acre block, I would love copying your garden design with your permission. It is perfect and give me so much ideas and a lot of work ahead for us but I can't wait. We have a two year old granddaughter
    Charlie Willow and she lives very close to us, so I am going to have a little helper in the garden as well. Thank you for sharing with us. Christa

  7. Thank you so much. We are the second owners of our 80 year old home. The front and back garden, as well as many elements in the house itself, came from Sunset Magazine and Publishing House, a popular magazine in the Western States that celebrates western living. Australia and California have so many similarities that I think many elements of our western style would work well in Australia. You've got a big but fun job ahead of you and I wish you the very best. I'd love to think that a design we love is also being loved in Australia! Don't forget to add a little children's play area!

  8. What type of wood did you use for your planter boxes? They look beautiful. We are planning out a garden and really love what you did. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Well, I knew it was inevitable that someone was going to ask me about the planter boxes! I'm embarrassed to say that we purchased plastic planter boxes from Wayfair. We also bought a few from Costco. They were identical. I loathe purchasing plastic for many reasons, but I caved on these because of these main reasons: First, they were much easier to put together. My husband didn't think he could physically put together wooden boxes this time around (20 plus years have gone by since he made the deteriorated wooden ones we were replacing). Second, the price point was much less expensive than our wood would have cost. And third, everything would be delivered to our door. My husband put this foot down and I felt this was the only way I was going to get new planter boxes. So, do I like them? I'll be honest in that they took me a while to get used to. At first I only saw their plasticness, even though they mimic wood. But now, months later I am a fan. They are sturdy and I can see how these will last long after we have left this house. Anyone who sees them never guesses that they are not wood. They were made by a company called Vita and were made in China :( so there's that unpleasant thing.


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