Deck Plantings

Once we have the deck sides all trimmed off and everything sealed and railinged and everything, I need to install some raised beds around the deck. This is not an aesthetic choice; we got the permit we did based on a deck height of under 30 inches, so I need to bring the ground level up to be consistently in that range.

Deck planting sketch

So this is my little sketchy rendering of the plan for the beds. I considered doing a more varied planting, but there is a lot of room under there and as soon as I get this done I have to go inside and start doing a bunch of plumbing, so a massive planting of one type of hosta worked OK for me, with thoughts of maybe fitting some other plants in there over time.

Who am I kidding? I will definitely be stuffing plants in there willy nilly.

El Nino hostas waiting to be planted

I got the hostas a while ago, and have been nursing them along on my planting bench until the beds are ready. Basically, these planting beds are going to take all the compost I have stocked up in the chicken yard, and a whole heck of a lot of labour to sift that compost, build the little raised beds, and then mulch it all, so I didn't want to have to even think about the plants I'll be putting in there. Plus there was this sale, you see. I'm always a sucker for the 50% off plant sale.

Salvia canariensis var. candidissima

I also got this salvia, Salvia canariensis var. candidissima, this spring, and have been growing it in a pot. It's a biggish plant: 6' wide and tall, which is plenty big enough to fill in the corner of the raised beds near the deck and hide a multitude of sins.

For the raised bed walls, my plan was to use the same interlocking retaining wall pieces I used in the rain basin. They're called Verdura, and they are made by a company called Soil Retention out of Southern California. I like the blocks because you can plant in them and basically cover them up, and they stop shouting "I AM A PRECAST CONCRETE RETAINING WALL" quite so loudly when they are covered in plants. They come in two sizes and a few colours, and they're easy to handle, although they do weigh a ton (the larger blocks weigh 65 lbs. each).

Of course, getting the blocks was not quite as easy as I had thought. And not because they are heavy.

Six years ago when I made our little sunken garden to help percolate rainwater into the ground, I just went to Home Depot and picked up the blocks (I used the small sized one for that project). So last weekend we got in the truck to go to Home Depot and get the blocks -- I'd even checked to make sure they still sell them there, and they have a SKU and everything.

Only: no blocks. No sign of a place where the blocks could be, either. They do them only as special order. Since I actually can't know how many blocks I am going to need until I have them to try out, I had made a rough estimate and planned on going back to get more as needed. Special order was not going to work for me.

A couple days and a few phone calls later, I found out that Bill's Ace Hardware in Martinez stocks them, in the sandy colour I wanted. So Noel took the big truck and drove up to pick them up through horrendous traffic. Like a hero.

Verdura blocks in the car

What I don't have yet is the brugmansia, but I was offered one a while ago by a friend, and there is always the option of purchasing one. I'm just fine with letting that go for a while, anyway.

posted by ayse on 07/13/12