An East Nashville Edible Garden

creating an edible garden in the heart of Tennessee

How To Turn Grass Into A Small Garden Bed For Under 20 Bucks.

In every yard there is at least one small patch of grass that is neither use nor ornament. Mine is at the side of my house between the heat & air system and the gate into the back yard. Leaving enough room to walk either side, it’s just over 6′ x 5 1/2′, but that’s plenty of room to make a new bed (which will feed you enough lettuce for the year, or give you a wonderful strawberry patch!). If you want to start small, this is the way to go…. and all for about 20 bucks.

Using a straight edge or string as a guide, mark out the bed with a manual lawn edger, if you have one. A spade will also do but the edger will be neater and quicker and will make the rest of the process a little easier too. Then mark a second border about 3 inches in from the first and while the edger/spade is still in the ground, pop out the turf to give you a border.

And now comes the digging. Just try to get as much green out as you can.


March 26th 2015


A simple border will protect the bed against grass  and weeds when you mow, and will look much better. (Your neighbours might thank you for it.)  I used untreated cedar from Lowes. I’ve tried not to use treated wood at all in the garden and this option is the cheapest and most convenient I’ve found. The cedar should last for years.

You’ll need enough planks to go around the outside of your bed, plus a minimum of 2,  10″ stakes, made from the same boards. The cedar is 6′ long so if any dimensions of your bed are bigger than that (my longest side was just over), you’ll need to join two together with extra stakes. I used 4 1 1/4″ exterior screws like this:


26th March 2015 a


When you get to the end of your front piece, attached another stake, with enough room at the end for the perpendicular edge. You can use the wood width as a guide.


March 26th 2015 b


Since dirt will have likely fallen back into the trench as you’ve been digging, re-dig it, going deeper where the stakes will go.

Now you can attach the other two sides. I found it easier to do this when the first edge was upright, and I used the trench for that since I didn’t have a human around to hold it. Use another couple of screws to attach each side, and that’s it.


March 26th 2015 c


Then you can lay your border in the trench and make a few adjustments by digging or filling in, until it’s level. The top of my borders sit about 3 inches above ground. The grass will eventually grow and cover any dirt spilled over onto the lawn to give you a tidy bed.

Included in the 20 bucks is also 3 bags of general composted manure to give the dirt a few more nutrients.


 I’ve also used this edging between some beds and a brick path.


March 26th 2015 d



1 Comment

  1. Love how simple this system seems – and how good it looks!

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