Raised-box herb garden

Easy-to-build wood planters provide perfect conditions for growing herbs in tight spaces
Kathleen N. Brenzel

A sliver of ground with heavy clay soil was the only site left for an herb garden on a hilltop lot in Cupertino, California. Yet landscape architect Jim Ripley found a way to shoehorn the garden into the space and overcome the poor soil at the same time.

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He designed five raised planter boxes and arranged them corner-to-corner in an inverted V formation. Filled with rich soil mix, the boxes provide the perfect drainage that herbs need.

The garden's sunny exposure and its proximity to an outdoor kitchen make it an ideal spot for growing culinary herbs, as well as compact summer vegetables and flowers for cutting.

The 4-foot-square boxes, made of redwood 4-by-6s capped with 2-by-6s, stand 20 inches tall, making it easy to harvest crops from them without stooping. Click on the small image at left to see how to build these raised boxes, then fill them with your favorite herbs.

To hold the tiered box together, attach 18-inch 2-by-2s with wood screws to each interior corner and the middle of each side. Use landscape fabric to cover the ground beneath the box.

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