Dungeness Barn House – raised bed with purple cabbage
Su is the mastermind behind all of the building projects at Dungeness Barn House. She applies her talents and skills from working at Habitat for Humanity and her own construction business to create original designs.
When asked “What do you like about building?” Su’s philosophy of designing and building is to create something out of someone’s idea but that they didn’t know how to make – and “…make it happen. It makes me happy to see them happy with the final result.”
Which is a good thing because Clare is always thinking up new challenges for Su!
Clare wanted raised beds to be designed so that she could “… still garden at 80.” Waist high, and made of materials that will weather well over time, with a deep base to allow for the roots to grow. Bales of straw at the bottom provide organic matter that decomposes into a rich mulch and holds moisture. The beds are drip irrigated because as Su puts it: “I didn’t want want to spend all day watering the garden.” Whatever your age – making gardening easier and being able to easily access the plants (and weeds!) can make the difference between a garden that is maintained over time, versus one that gets neglected because it’s not “user friendly.”
Dungeness Barn House – raised bed with nasturtium
The raised beds are planted with a wide variety of vegetables – from potatoes to lettuces, spinach and heirloom-variety tomatoes. Guests are fed from the garden and from local farms from whatever is in season. The Dungeness Barn House chickens supply the eggs!
From the gardens of Dungeness Barn House
Late summer and early fall is the height of the growing season in the Dungeness. Hardy crops: potatoes, garlic, spinach and kales can be harvested even into the early winter months.
Peas and cucumbers are trellised from four corners of two of the larger beds.
Dungeness Barn House raised beds in early spring
Sequim is a cool-weather growing climate – and because the Dungeness Barn House is located on a high bluff waterfront, there are additional challenges of wind and salt air. The gardens are sheltered behind the buildings, where it’s warm enough for roses to bloom in a mild winter.
Dungeness Barn House – raised beds, sheltered
This design is flexible; make one, see how it goes and add on.
Dungeness Barn House Raised Bed
Dungeness Barn House Bed and Breakfast at Two Crows Farm
Raised Garden Beds
So my beautiful and wonderful partner/wife, Clare, decided she wants to be able to garden when she’s 80…and figures since she won’t be able to get on her hands and knees any longer, (or most likely won’t be able to get up if she did get down there), she asked me to make these raised beds for her. Now, she can garden (and possibly with her walker later in life) standing upright and the boxes make it easy. So I’ve tried to put together what I did and some of the tips I found while making them for her. I love her creative energy. She’s always got something new for me to try and make.
Materials needed for one 3 x 5 box:
8 – pressure treated 2 x 4 x 8 (base structure)
2 – doug fir 1 x 2 x 8 (trim boards)
2 – corrugated metal (patina or rusty if you like) approx. 27” x 16’ long
2 – bales + 2 flakes (straw per box)
3” screws (make sure for use in pressure treated material or they will rust)
1” screws for metal corrugated roofing (small rubber washer attached)
6 p nails 1 1/2” long
Landscape fabric (under the boxes and over the straw)
1 yard (approx.) (Organic) Soil
4 – 2 x 4 x 57” pressure treated lumber
4 – 2 x 4 x 36” pressure treated lumber
8 – 2 x 4 x 21” pressure treated lumber
2 – 1 x 2 x 32 3/4” doug fir
2 – 1 x 2 x 55 1/4” doug fir
2 – 27” x 56 3/4” corrugated metal
2 – 27” x 31 1/4” corrugated metal
Take 1 – 2 x 4 x 57” pressure treated lumber and attach to the inside end of 1 – 2 x 4 x 36” pressure treated lumber with the screws. This forms and “L” shape. You will repeat this step 3 more times. Once you have 4 “L” shapes you will connect 2 of them together to form a box (  ). Repeat with the remaining 2 “L” shapes. Now you have 2 boxes.
Take 2 – 2 x 4 x 21” pressure treated lumber and screw them together for the side corners (long side to long side of the lumber). Repeat 3 more times. You now have all the side corner pieces ready to install on the boxes.
Toe nail the side corners to the boxes with the 3” screws. (I placed the side corner cuts opposite of the way the cuts were for the boxes so it would be stronger and it helped for screwing on the metal later.) (I also found it was easiest to screw on one side at a time to the bottom all four corners and then flip the entire unit onto the top (which is now laying on the bottom) and then screw it into place.) (It forms a 3 D box). After all the corner sides are screwed on the box, it should be pretty sound and you are ready for the metal.
Install the long metal on the long sides first with the metal screws. Then attach the smaller sides with the metal screws. (again, I found it easiest to place the boxes on their sides so I wasn’t crawling inside to try and attach the metal to the lumber) (learned that the hard way, ha!) Once all sides are attached place the box upright and you are ready to install the trim.
Since the metal sticks out a bit and can be very sharp, I used the 1 x 2 to hold it in place and protect the edge. Using clamps to hold the 1 x 2 and the metal close to the 2 x 4, nail the 1 x 2 to the 2 x 4 holding the metal in-between. (I used my pneumatic nailer for this, you could also use screws if you don’t have a nailer, although you might need to pre-drill so the wood doesn’t split) Either way, once this step is completed all the way around the top of the box you are ready to install the straw.
Take landscape fabric and place where you are going to be putting your boxes. I use 20 p nails 4” long and fender washers to hold down my fabric as we have a lot of rocks and harder soils. Once that is down and you’ve placed your box where you want it take 2 bales of straw and place side by side inside the box. You will find that there is a gap at the end or they look short and they are, that’s where the 2 flakes of another bale will fill in. Then cut some of the landscape fabric to cover the top of the straw to prevent it from sprouting up into your box. You’re now ready for soil.
It will take not quite a yard of soil per box giving you about 8” – 10” of planting depth. As the straw decomposes, you can fill the space with more soil, compost, manure etc. Thus, reviving the soil each year. You are now ready to plant.
Have fun and enjoy!
On a separate note, I installed a drip watering system on a timer so I’m not spending hours (although I’d like to sometimes) watering the garden. So far, it’s worked out great.
Any questions you can reach me on my cell at 360-821-9294 or leave a message. I’ll get back to you.
Clare had decided that she wanted to paint her office a perfect barely there, seashell pink.
“Growing up, I have always been against pink and I hated wearing it as a little girl. But I wanted to do something different and fresh. So I decided to take a chance on pink, and this would be a very subtle version of it. Not the bubble gum color of my childhood.”
She showed me a beautiful picture from a paint catalogue of that featured the perfect barely there, seashell pink.
Then we went into her office, and she pointed at wall covered with sploches of colors that varied from a pinkish mud to pink puce. Pink puce is a color that I never want to see again.
“There! THERE!!! Look at it! That’s the exact color from the picture in the paint catalogue!”
It was the pink puce patch. And it looked horrible. It was surrounded by it’s variations like an evil mold that had spawned and mutated on Clare’s wall.
Trying to be optimistic, there was a slight silver lining in that we both agreed that the charcoal color on the trim was perfect. At least that was nailed down.
Clare: “It’s ridiculous! I’m so mad! You think it’s going to take 4 hours and then 4 days later, you are still working on it. I decided to try and experiment and make my own shade that the paint store could then color match, but it’s not working at all!”
We compared the catalogue picture to the puce patch – and no… not a match at all.
Clare: “I WANT ANSWERS!!!”
So… trying to be helpful – I showed her the Shinola watches that had this beautiful shade of champagne pink that I had been admiring earlier that day. Like Clare, I had also fought against wearing or being associated with this color in any way as a child, yet now was strangely attracted to it. Maybe it was some sort of odd virus going around that we had both caught: “The Pink Virus.”
I wished her luck and went on my way for that day. Clare has excellent taste, she’ll figure it out.
The next day I returned and asked her how it was going… She sighed and said: “I decided, fuck it, paint it white.”
She had returned to paint store and had looked at colors that were more in champagne zone, and started to fall down the rabbit hole of multiple paint swatches, but then decided to “Stop the insanity. Fuck it, paint it white.”
The paint consultant had shared with her that the problem with pink is that if you want it to be a more muted pink, like a “dusty rose” then they add black to tone it down. Then if you add more white to the color, it becomes gray looking because of all of the black in it.
Clare: “Pink is now a “four letter word” in my vocabulary. I hate pink. Enough insanity!”
So Clare painted the walls with primer… and I didn’t want to tell her this but the primer had a slight PINK TONE!!!! Unfortunately, she noticed it and asked me if I could see it to and because I can’t lie about art-related things, I had to agree. She decided to carry on. Maybe the pinkish primer is the answer… and maybe we just both have “Pink Eye” from the virus.
This seemed like an especially cruel twist of fate for Clare and pushed her over the edge: “Now where ever I look, I see pink… I’ll show you about pink, you know nothing about Pink – John Snow!!!! I want answers!”
The next day, she texted me to say that she had found the perfect way to get that kiss of pink… She had made her own white glaze with a kiss of pink and applied it with a rag roller over the white wall.
I told her that the blog would now have to be a novel.
Clare: “I’m very pleased NOW. I am inspired to get it done and all together. The dark gray trim will be stunning. Furniture will be functional, rustic, charming and with the yin and yang that I am always talking about. Contrast, layers, texture and light.”
Clare just rocks home decorating.
Fuck it, paint it white…. with a kiss of pink.