Using garden beds as a front fence has not only provided a functional and beautiful feature of the home, but has also helped strengthen bonds with the local community - "a bridge between house and street”.
The genesis of these front fence vegetable beds was primarily safety, but also a sense of community according to Bunnings Workshop member Tim Jeffries. “When we bought the house there wasn’t a fence and sometimes cars speed down our street. We wanted to make sure our kids couldn’t easily run straight out onto the road but at the same time we didn’t want to build a wall between us and the footpath.
“We like the idea of connecting with our neighbours, of building relationships with those around us and sharing what we have. The idea of incorporating a garden bed into the fence came to me one day and it seemed to tick all the boxes. It’s certainly worked, it’s been a great place to grow and share food. Most people who walk past check it out and lots of them stop to chat if we’re around. There are lots of people around here who enjoy connecting with their neighbours so it’s a great place for that to begin.”
Tim used Cypress timber to build four posts down each side of the beds with 200cm x 50cm capping and tin "tying it together". He decided against firmly planting the beds into the ground with concrete and admits “the only element I would change would be to have built-in support across the beds as they bowed a little when I first put soil in them. There's so much pressure with 5 cubic metres of volume in there.” As for ongoing maintenance, Tim says the beds only need "a light sand back and another oil every year or two."
Although Workshop members were concerned about the garden beds becoming a dumping ground for rubbish or getting harvested daily by passersby, Tim reckons "so far we really haven't had any issues". A tomato trellis was taken but later rescued by "the little old ladies that live across the road". Both beds are filled with self-seeded cherry tomato plants and Tim expects to "feed the street".
You can read more about project creator Tim in our member profile story Good for the soul.
Popular raised garden bed projects
Whether you want to share your harvest with the street like Tim or add life to a paved courtyard, raised garden beds are a fantastic way to grow vegetables, herbs or flowers without the hassle of bending and kneeling. Find inspiration for making your own from our Top 10 most popular raised garden beds, including these bountiful garden beds that sit in Workshop member Pancho's front yard.