“Gardening is all about making really good food a part of my life on a daily basis,” says Joan Caine, who used to teach cooking classes out of her home north of Seattle. That’s why—after years of gazing wistfully out her front window at the property’s only sunny patch and imagining a kitchen garden there—Joan hired landscape designer Cameron Scott to make the potager a reality.
Cameron dug up some lawn, put down gravel, then built bottomless raised beds of oxidized (and recycled) Cor-ten steel that look more like sculpture than planters. “I love working with it because you can build such sexy curves,” says Cameron. And the 1/4-inch-thick metal absorbs the sun’s heat, helping to warm the soil in cool weather.
Joan packs the beds with herbs and salad greens in spring, then beans, cucumbers, and zucchini in summer. “We pull our table right up by the raised beds,” she says, “and eat out there.”
For these raised beds, looks, growing speed, and happiness in tight quarters are the qualities you’re looking for. Most of these grow rapidly from seedlings—start beans and carrots from seed, though, since they don’t transplant well.
Design: Cameron Scott, Exteriorscapes, Seattle (