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6 raised beds, potted herbs, fruit trees and more.

Design: A Mother’s Garden

We recently completed installation of a mother’s garden – a gift from a son to his mother. The homeowner is an elderly woman with a full-time caregiver, and her son wanted her to have fresh fruits and vegetables steps away from the door.

We converted a wide grassy area into a space for tall raised beds (to keep the dogs out), and added fruit trees around the perimeter. The rest of the garden gets shade, so we added native CA shade-tolerant plants and a pathway to make getting around a little easier.

Grass covered the entire backyard, and existing fruit trees needed some pruning.

Bringing A Mother’s Garden to Life

We excavated most of the grass, leaving a strip for the dogs, and converted the irrigation to drip for six raised beds and surrounding plants. The shadowy places in the photo above get a little morning sun, but we designed around these shady spots for a high-yielding, productive garden.

We outlined a decomposed granite pathway to the side gate from the porch, and assembled tall beds (24″ high) for easy access and dog protection.

The orange circled X’s in the photo above indicate placement for a new apple tree and four pots with herbs, as well as some in-ground artichokes, and potted blueberries.

Once the path was installed, we placed native plants in shady spots and planted the apple tree.

We filled the beds with high-quality soil, situated the perimeter plants and pots in place, and completed the irrigation. Next it was time to plant.

The homeowner and her caretaker wanted salad greens, potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes, squash and cucumbers. We added in onions, shallots, peppers and eggplants into the mix.

Finishing Touches

Pots with herbs, blueberries and in-ground artichokes frame the garden as you approach. The beds are planted with seedlings and seeds.

A thick layer of mulch will keep weeds at bay and will feed the soil microbes over time. We added a white trellis in the back for boysenberries, a new Meyer lemon tree, and a tangerine tree. We also added posts and wire (background left) for a grapevine.

In the raised beds we grouped Solanaceae-family plants together (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and potatoes) in two beds, and used the shadiest bed for salad greens. Then left room for two more trellises in other beds for cucumbers and pole beans in back.

Harvests are already coming in from this garden. We look forward to seeing how productive it can be over time. Now the caretaker and homeowner can enjoy a mother’s garden for years to come. Check out more design ideas on the Gardenerd Blog here.

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