new container garden before and after

My top priority for Memorial Day weekend was getting a container garden put in a very unused space in our backyard.  We have a very small lot, and so we really try to maximize what we have to our advantage.  Our house is in an East / West direction- we get the morning sun on the backside, and the afternoon sun at the front.  On the side of our house is a space measuring 20' x 7'.  It's tiny, and really wasted space.  Now that we've lived here for 3 years, I've been able to observe that this area actually gets 8 hours of sun.  Perfect for a little garden!

Our last house was on 1/3 of an acre, and had a nice big raised garden bed.  What I've missed most were the strawberries we had there. 

I now have strawberries to look forward to again!  I'm so excited! 
We had planned to build our boxes- the maximum size we could've done was 2' x 8'.  As we were shopping for the materials, we came across the wine barrels, and thought, why not?  No building, easy to install, up high enough for Bella to stay out of, and movable!

Here's the space we had to work with- the before:

Long and lean. 
Now you know where we hid the hammock frame in the off season....
And here's how we made it a usable garden space:

The ground was slightly sloped, to allow for drainage away from the house, so we had to dig out spaces for the barrels.  We decided to lay them out in a curved shape- more interesting than a straight line.

Next we filled the bottom with packing peanuts:

It makes the barrels less heavy if we ever decide to move them, allows for good drainage for the plants, and saves us using a lot of extra dirt at the bottom.  A great way to recycle!  You could also use pine cones or nut shells as an alternative.

Last summer, a friend of mine gave me several starts from her herb garden.  I put them in some temporary pots, and they've sat here on the other side yard, until now.  They definitely survived, but were looking a little stressed.  Not to mention it's just a sad little line up of hodge podge.

Here they are now in their cozy little home.  I had an extra strawberry plant that needed a spot, so it's in the middle.  :)
Chives, parsley, oregano, and thyme.

I also added in some basil and sage to the last barrel.  I always love having a cherry tomato plant every summer, and so it's here too.

We have more plans for this little garden area- some rock pavers to show the curving path, and some jasmine to grow up and over the fence.  Our dining room window is right above this area, and it would be heavenly to smell when the windows are open.  For now, this was all the budget allowed, and I couldn't be happier to have it started!

Here's the before and after, once again:

Can't wait to eat some summer yumminess!

What projects did you do over the weekend?


  1. MMMM...nothing beats fresh herbs and strawberries. Hope your strawberries do better in a container than mine did. We had fresh ones last year, but not this year. They didn't come back. :-( But then again...I live in Indiana and the winters are very cold. I hope you have success! I will be jealous.

  2. Hi Denise,
    What a great use of space using the barrel for your herb garden. I never would have thought of that, but it's not only functional, but it! I hope you have great success. XOXO ~Liz

  3. looks great...wonderful use of space! i've got my little container garden of lettuce and strawberries right now...i love growing my own produce!!

  4. love the wine barrels...wish you could ship me some!!
    we put in roll-out drawers in our nice to get the pots out!

  5. You are inspiring me. Thank you =)


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