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  • Writer's pictureKyle Brunel


Updated: May 30, 2020

City living is wonderful, but it can be tough without the right 'gear'. We have loved our apartments in San Francisco, but they have never felt complete without some kind of garden element. Over the years, we have experimented with outdoor gardens and have gone through our share of store purchased planter boxes. Needless to say, with the store-bought versions, we have been disappointed with some basic aspect of their size, materiality or durability. This year, it was finally time to try our hand at designing our own.

We feel we have finally cracked the code with this one. Not only are our boxes big enough to contain adequate roots, soil and water, they are also light enough to hang easily and are simple to fill, change and evolve as the act of gardening evolves through the seasons. Reused scraps of redwood from the back yard fence project came together with synthetic felt bags, sturdy shelf angles and adequate soil to result in what has become a decidedly bountiful kitchen garden.

We are delighted with how versatile these planter boxes are, and our neighbors have expressed interest in making their own just like these! The synthetic bags allow for drainage while protecting the redwood shell from root intrusion over time. We started with a simple sketch back in February of this year, just when we knew the sun was going to be out long enough to begin growing some seeds. We now we have three (all made from scraps that were waiting patiently in the garage for this inspired reuse project), one of which was gifted to me by my children for Mother's day!

Tomatoes, potatoes, kale, three kinds of mint, sage, carrots, oregano, and blackberries are all lifted from the ground plane and out of harms way from dogs, and other lovely backyard visitors. We hand water so we can keep an eye on overall health and every day we see something new from the dining room window. The variable vertical slats on the front of the boxes protect the shoots from intense wind when they are young and also provide a location to hang herbs when we want to air dry them.

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