Liza Greis

Do-it-yourself projects and Home Decor

Raised Garden Beds {The Secret Garden Makeover!}

Aaaaaah! I have been so excited to share this project with you. Just like in my favorite childhood book, my secret garden has come full circle. It started out beautiful, got neglected, and then was restored. If you want to see what it looked like 8 years ago, you can read my post Welcome to My Secret Garden. My secret garden was basically a large flower bed, and while very pretty, it was a lot work to keep it weed free and looking its best. Last year I closed the gates and forgot about it. In just one year, it was overcome with weeds. I decided to revamp my garden and create a more useful space that required less maintenance. I created raised garden beds for herbs!

The Garden Before:


Raised Garden Beds

Now only these 5 raised garden beds need to be weeded. Actually, since it is new, organic dirt and I use Preen, I probably will have very little, if any, weeds.


raised garden beds with herbs


Herbs and Cool Weather Vegetables

I planted mint, basil, oregano, lavender, rosemary, thyme, chives, and sage. Since my larger vegetable garden is rarely ready for planting in March when cool weather veggies need to be planted, I can plant things like lettuce, spinach, and peas here too. I have one box full of lettuce and another has some celery.


woman planting herbs in garden



By having the herbs closer to the house, it is easier to collect what I need for making meals.


basket of freshly cut herbs


Hooks for Tools

I took down the moss art and added some hooks for the garden tools. This tall juniper hides the ugly telephone box.


rack with hooks and hanging garden tools


Morning is my favorite time to be out in the garden. I also love the crunching sound the gravel makes.


view of garden with raised beds


All of the details on how I created this space, including all materials used and the tutorial for the planter boxes, can be found on the Home Depot’s blog. Head over for more pictures (including an above shot I took hanging out my office window!) and all the information you need to created a raised garden beds :)


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before and after of garden area

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  1. Deb says

    While I loved your perennial garden, I like your new garden very much. Radically different but practical and lovely!

    • Liza says

      Thank you! Part of me was sad to see it go, but the part of that had to weed it was not as sad :) It helps that all the flowers and plants are now happily growing in my front yard.

  2. Cheryl Major says

    Wow ! What a wonderful garden . It is so refreshing . You did an awesome job. Love the raised herb beds.

  3. Cindy says

    Wow this is wonderful. I love every herb you planted. Fried sage is a favorite in this home. I too love the sound of gravel beneath my feet.

    Enjoy your garden.


    • Liza says

      Thank you! As often as we cook with herbs, I have to say that I am new to sage. I have been looking up recipes all spring and look forward to trying them out. How do you prepare it and eat it grilled?

  4. Jean Clayton says

    Fabulous. I can’t believe how long I have been following you. I remember your secret garden post! But I have a question. Where did the pea gravel come from, bags or a truck load? Just wondering about the logistics of it. Thanks. Happy gardening!

    • Liza says

      Thank you! The gravel was delivered by truck and we had to bring it over from the driveway to the garden with a wheelbarrow and dump it one load at a time. That is when having teenage boys comes in handy!

      • Danita says

        Ah, yes! Farmers always had huge families for a reason…free labor was just one of the perks! I’m teasing! I love what you’ve done and I know your boys enjoy being in on the goings on! I love our raised beds too! We can ONLY garden with them as we have clay for earth otherwise! Happy gardening and growing those lovely herbs! I can almost smell them from here! ;-)

  5. beverly e says

    Such a pretty space! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. You can still hang a pretty basket of flowers on the fence if you miss the color and I’ll bet the herbs smell amazing. I enjoy my lavender & rosemary so much, especially after it rains.

    • Liza says

      It does smell amazing! One of my office windows overlooks the garden and I like to open the window while I work :)

  6. Danna says

    Wow! I love it. Your old backyard looks exactly like mine does right now. We’re getting ready to destroy it and put some golf course grass in and a pathway. I’ll put a raised garden in somewhere just not sure where yet. It’s a small yard.

    • Liza says

      That sounds great! The planning phase can be really fun. I need to create a pathway in my backyard because the grass dies every year right at the entrance because of all the foot traffic.

  7. cmt says

    This looks like a dream garden. I’d love to have herbs close to the house for last minute picking while I cook dinner. The pea gravel and landscape cloth is an interesting idea. Looks like it will last a good long time. Wondering what will happen when the leaves fall. Will you rake, blow, vacuum? What happens to rain and snow? Is the landscape cloth able to let water soak through it? Otherwise it would be a swimming pool.

    • Liza Greis says

      The landscape cloth does allow for water to go through. After I installed it (and before the gravel was delivered) we got a few storms and we got drenched! It drained nicely. When the leaves fall you can rake them up and the gravel stays put pretty well. We just has a huge wind storm come through and it blew down those orange fuzzy things from our pine trees. The gravel was covered! I was able to rake them up pretty well. Leaves will probably be even easier since they are bigger.

  8. Chris Moe says

    I love your raised beds but your original flower garden was so wonderful! I love plants & flowers and out the time in to take care of it. But my four children are raised & gone so I have plenty of time to tend to the weeds. Thanks for the update!

    I am a master gardener in Indiana and you have shown to awesome ways to utilize growing plants, flowers & herbs!

    • Liza says

      There are four sprinklers (one in each corner) That spray the boxes. You can see one of them in the before photo :)

  9. LaDonna says

    I love this! We’re building a small greenhouse close to the house instead of our regular large garden area. I have some herbs in a small planter in my kitchen window, but it seems like the green thumb has disappeared with these. I get burnt (brown) looking spots on the leaves and I don’t know why. The planters aren’t in direct sunlight. Can you help?