Crazy Charlie’s Pickle Patch – A Raised Garden Bed

by | May 12, 2013 | Food, Michigan

Building a raised garden where we could plant our favorite vegetables has been on our home improvement list for a while. Chuck and I were also smart enough to know that we do not have the necessary talents or tools to build a raised garden but that didn’t stop us.

Crazy Charlie with his Pickle Patch

We contacted a professional.

When it looked like spring would finally happen in Michigan, we got an estimate from a local landscaping company to install a raised garden bed. The estimate was shocking! So we regrouped. Steve “Wise Guy” Wieczorek to the rescue. He knows how to build things and has all the necessary tools, plus he loves us.


If you don’t have a friend like Steve and want to build your own raised garden, there are plenty of DIY websites with instructions. Steve also said that you could call him and he would be happy to build one for you too. For a small fee of course.

Locating the perfect spot for the garden.

We had the perfect location for our garden, lots of direct sunlight and close to the waterspicket. It is also where Ann Arbor’s Northside deer herd loves to frolic. We may be building a perfect deer garden.

Location for Raised Garden

Creating a design.

Math! Believe me you need math to build a garden.

Raised Garden Plan

Purchasing the materials.

Steve and I made a trip to Lowes to purchase the materials. Steve had many questions:

  1. Should we buy the more expense cedar lumber? Yes, I said.
  2. How high should the fence be? “High enough to keep the deer out” I said. Steve said, “deer can jump 12 feet.” I decided that a 4 foot fence will need to work.
  3. Do you want the heavy duty fence posts? “No,” I said, “we aren’t keeping cattle in, only deer out.”
  4. What kind of weed-suppressing fabric do you want? “The kind that works,” I said. Who knew there were so many different kinds. Another Lowes customer offered this advise, “Don’t go cheap! You’ll regret it.” So we bought the expense stuff.

We finally left Lowes and my credit card didn’t melt when I handed it to the cashier.

Preparing the location for the raised garden.

Chuck mowed the grass but we did not remove the turf and weeds. The weed-suppressing fabric had better work! Charlie and Steve outlined the garden and staked the corners.

Setting the garden's corners

Weed-suppressing fabrick

Building the beds for the raised garden.

Do not try to carry lumber like this unless Steve shows you how first.


Chuck was assigned some of the more difficult tasks.

Chuck working

Charlie the dog was the site supervisor. I think he was a bit concerned.

Charlie supervising

Raised Garden Bed Construction

Charile doing more supervision

Garden Bed Ends

Raised Garden Bed Essembly

Charlie wondering when we will be done

The site super thinks a few safety regulations were being broken here.

Steve working

Moving the garden bed to the location

Installing the raised garden beds.

To be sure the beds don’t move, we anchored it to the ground by digging holes to set the corner posts. (This was Steve’s idea.)

digging holes

final location

Fence Installation.

I could hear the deer laughing as the fence was installed. I actually had a dream that the deer ripped the fence to shreds while we were sleeping and left it in a pile for us to find.

Garden fence installation

garden fence installation

Read for the dirt

Gate building.

Steve made me a custom gate for Crazy Charlie’s Pickle Patch.

Gate building

Gate Building


Break Time


I had 8 yards of premium garden soil delivered from the Rock Shoppe a few days prior. My only caution here is to make sure that you do not ask the driver to dump the dirt near any important cables to your house. When our dirt was delivered the driver did not look up and managed to rip a cable off the house. This did not make Chuck very happy.

Moving the Dirt to garden bed

Chuck would like you to know that DIRT is very heavy.

Moving the dirt to the garden bed

shoveling the dirt

dumping the dirt

Finished. (Well almost. Waiting for the mulch.)

The site supervisor is especially glad we are done.

Charlie happy that we are done

Let the planting begin.

Brenda planting peas

Stay tuned for the woodchip post. Urban Foresters are removing several trees from the backyard and we are using wood chips from that project as mulch for the garden.

1 Comment

  1. Nice post and photos on your new garden project. The perimeter fencing could be a useful place to put some everbearing Raspberries. I have canes that fruit in June and late September if you’re interested in some ‘volunteers’. 🙂 -J


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