How to build a rodent fence

If you garden in a rural area where visits by rabbits, squirrels, gophers, and moles are quite frequent, you may save yourself some work and grief by building a fence like this around your lot, your vegetable garden, or around your most valued plants. Here are the materials you would need to build a rodent-proof … Read more

Build a floating concrete terrace

An overhanging edge gives this concrete garden slab a floating appearance. It creates an intimate area for conversation, re-freshments, or just sitting. The method for pouring such a slab is to mound up earth under the edge of the slab to be poured, then dig it away after the concrete has cured . The edge … Read more

Nine special ideas for the garden

Hose guide is made with two 1 by 2-inch stakes and two 1 by 1-inch crosspieces; it is 14 inches tall and 8 inches wide. Extension hose bib is made with two el-bow joints, two lengths of pipe; screen fence projects out from the side of house. Concrete basin poured between card-board tubes catches rain … Read more

How to make a frame to support plants

Most annual bedding plants and many perennials that grow a foot or more in height require support. The plant support described below works particularly well in beds bordering walks or adjacent to a fence. To make this plant support, you’ll need a 1 by 1-inch rail (length as needed); ¼-inch wooden dowels, about 1 foot … Read more

An easy-to-make soil sifter

To screen rocks and lumps out of the soil, sand, and leaf mold you use for seeding and potting mixes, you need a good garden sifter. A sifter is no trouble to make -just four 1 by 3 wood sides and a piece of galvanized hardware cloth (¼-inch mesh screen stapled across the bottom). But … Read more

How to build a concrete bird bath

This concrete bird bath is as spacious as a good sized puddle and shallow enough to make a pleasant splashing place for birds of all sizes; it also fills itself. To make one like it, follow these step-by-step directions: Making the base. Dig a hole about a foot deep and 20 inches square at the … Read more

Curbs and mowing strips

A curbing-mowing strip combination-separating a flower bed from a lawn area can cut down on the time needed for the trimming and edging necessary to keep a garden neat. Even a mowing strip alone has advantages. It contains the lawn in a fixed area, and it helps prevent excessive water run-off because it forms a … Read more

How to make garden flats

Even an inexperienced carpenter can build flats or boxes for starting plants from seed or cuttings; and if you build your own, you can suit their shapes and sizes to your requirements. Most nurseries sell flats but have them on hand only in the spring. Making your own is a worthwhile job if you need … Read more

How to plan a dog run

A dog run, just as the name implies, is an outdoor enclosure long enough to allow a dog to run. The floor of the run. The surface or floor of a dog run should provide a solid, rough footing. Concrete is generally regarded as the best surface, and, if possible, should be used for at … Read more

Barbecues and firepits

Most landscape architects will agree that a barbecue doesn’t have to be a garden monument in order to be efficient. Size alone means little. The thing that matters is whether the unit will perform efficiently without straining the owner’s pocketbook and without overpowering other features of the garden or patio. For many people, buying a … Read more

Low-voltage garden lighting

Often heralded as a new development is low-voltage (l-v) light-ing. It’s really not new -for decades it has been used for automobiles – but in a garden it is a relatively new concept and, with today’s equipment, it can bring exciting advantages. One of the most important advantages is safety. If a child removes the … Read more

Basic supporting elements for a deck

Plans for deck construction are usually based on two main themes: a great number of support posts capped with a simple horizontal structure, or a fewer number of posts supporting a sturdier horizontal platform. For example, a ground-hugging deck may have a random number of footings and not be un-sightly, whereas a hillside deck requires … Read more

Concrete block walls

Building a garden or patio wall with concrete blocks is perhaps the easiest approach for the beginner-it also is fast. The size of the blocks alone (8 by 8 by 16) makes a wall go together much more quickly and smoothly than with bricks. There are two basic types of concrete blocks used for build-ing … Read more

Retaining walls

Stepped concrete forms a series of low terraces; these are less likely to lean or to topple down-hill than is one high wall. Cast concrete posts can be anchored with keyed posts run back into bank or with rods embedded in mass of concrete. Poured concrete walls should have ex-tending foot on the downhill side, … Read more

Brick walls

Building a brick wall is involved enough that you will benefit by having had some experience handling the material before-hand, even if you have done no more than lay bricks in sand. Still, there is no substitute for working with mortar and brick. No matter how much you read about handling a trowel you will … Read more

Natural-stone walls

Perhaps the most challenging part of building a stone wall is fitting irregular shapes and sizes into a pleasing and effective pattern. A carefully fitted stone wall has a natural sculptured beauty that few other materials can match. Almost any type of stone that is available in quantity can be used. The easiest stones to … Read more

Garden and patio walls

The purpose and function of a garden or patio wall varies con-siderably. Some people build a wall for the same reason they build a fence -to provide privacy, to screen off an undesirable view, to act as a boundary line, or to simply define areas within the garden. Others build a wall to delineate a … Read more

Thirteen choices of garden steps

In constructing steps from house to garden or terrace to terrace, one of the first considerations is the tread and riser rela-tionship. There is a preferred relationship for every situation. If steps are built for a leisurely approach, for example, you’ll use one combination; if steps lead to a service area, you’ll use a different … Read more

Pebble paving

One of the most favored paving methods is to press stones into a concrete base. This paving holds up well and is easy to reset should any of the stones become dislodged. There is no limit to the size, color, or texture of the stones you can use. Many building supply yards carry a wide … Read more

Asphalt paving

Asphalt has long been accepted as a paving for driveways, paths, and service areas, but it also is being used more and more for patio and terrace surfacing because of its low cost. Some homeowners use it in combination with other materials such as brick or concrete. Because of its flexibility, a 1-inch asphalt pavement … Read more

Paving with concrete

Concrete is the most versatile of all garden paving materials. It can have a surface plain and smooth enough for dancing or roller skating, or it can have a rough or patterned texture. These extremes are possible because concrete is a plastic material which will take almost any form and which can be finished in … Read more

Paving with tile

For paving and garden flooring, tile ranks high in durability, color, and stain-resistance, but like flagstone, it is expensive. However, tile has some unique advantages. It is suitable for large or small areas; it cleans and waxes easily; it is especially good around a barbecue, in a potting shed, on a walkway around a swimming … Read more

Paving with flagstone

A flagstone pavement not only is durable and solid, but if properly constructed, it can last forever. For many people this lasting quality far outweighs the fact that flagstone is a relatively expensive paving material. There are many different types and colors of flagstone to choose from. The colors are subdued-yellow, brownish red, gray, buff-any … Read more

Paving with bricks

The basic form, composition, and fabrication of brick have undergone little change over 5,000 years. Heavy clay and soil and water are mixed, molded, or cut into blocks, and then baked in a kiln. Properly fired brick is hard enough to last for centuries and shows only minor wear. There are two basic kinds of … Read more

Wood edgings for patios, walkways, paths

Wood edgings (often called header boards) not only make neat demarcations between lawns, flower beds, and other planting areas, but they also make handsome edging and division strips for brick, concrete, or other garden paving. Here are some suggestions to consider when installing wood edgings: Use heart redwood or cedar-both are highly resistant to rot. … Read more

A variety of paving choices

No one type of paving will meet an individual’s specifications 100 per cent. Here are some points that you will want to take into consideration before making a final decision: 1. Surface Texture: Does it provide a pleasant feeling under-foot or is it too rough? Is it soft enough for young children to play on, … Read more

How to build raised beds

The raised bed is one feature in the garden that justifies the expense and time required to build it. Well designed, it has a strong architectural value. It also introduces into the garden interesting color and texture in wood, stone, brick, adobe, or other materials. When you plan wisely, a raised bed displays plants impressively, … Read more

How to avoid drainage problems

Whenever anyone builds a house or garden structure on a piece of ground, the ability of that piece of ground to absorb and gently drain away a downpour of rain is greatly reduced. Roofs and patios do not retain water; they run it off somewhere immediately. And the excavations, fills, and leveling made during any … Read more

Greenhouses you can assemble yourself

There exists a wide choice of designs now available in small, pre-fabricated greenhouses which can be easily assembled by the homeowner. The time required for assembly depends on the type of construction and the size of the structure. Most of them require only a few standard tools. (For more information on where to find them, … Read more

Substantial shade structures for plants

As soon as the weather turns warm, most gardens require some sort of shade structure to protect young and tender plants. You may feel that all you need for one or two summers is a portable shade – something that can be dismantled or put away until needed again. Actually, there is no reason why … Read more

Building a garden bench

With the variety of garden furniture that you can buy ready made, why build a garden bench? The most obvious reason is to gain a piece of garden furniture that is tailor-made. Another good reason is adaptability. At times a garden bench may be-come a garden shelf for the display of plants in containers or … Read more

Trellises and frames for plant support

There are many reasons why a young shrub or vine needs more support than just what a stake can give. The crossbarred structure of a trellis offers more width and more places to tie a sprawling plant. When a plant is splayed out in graceful curves and masses against a background grid, it often looks … Read more


ALLOW FOR RAFTER THICKNESS: (FROM TOP OF LEDGER. TO BOTTOM OCEAVE) Six choices of patio overheads LACE-ON CANVAS COVERS The trim nautical look of canvas pulled taut in pipe panels has captured the imagination of many homeowners. Installation is quite simple because tension on the canvas tends to be evenly distributed when it is laced … Read more

Roofing, siding, and flooring for garden structures

Unlike the roof, siding, and flooring for a house, those for a garden structure can usually be quite simple and inexpensive. Most homeowners desire only a reasonably waterproof shelter for garden equipment or a place to relax and entertain during good weather. YOUR CHOICE IN ROOFING A shake or shingle roof is a good choice … Read more

Basic framing pointers for garden structures

Most garden structures are designed to aid the homeowner in caring for plants and flowers; for storing garden tools and sup-plies; as a shelter against the sun, wind, or rain as an enter-tainment center; or simply as a place to relax. Whatever the purpose, the discussion below presents some basic methods of building garden structures, … Read more


Garden and entry gates normally take a sound beating. They’re exposed to the wind and weather and to young garden gate swingers and hurried deli very men. And they often hang from a fence that is not too rigid a structure and one that tends to expand and contract with the weather. So gates often … Read more


Here is a gate building project for you to follow -from the first step straight through to the self-satisfying stage of opening and closing the gate for the first time. Before you begin the actual construction of the gate, first measure the distance between the posts at the top and bottom. If the space is … Read more

Building a garden gate

To many people a garden gate may be simply a movable part of a fence, convenient for getting through to the other side. Others may think of a gate as something that should be especially attractive, as the focal point of a garden or an invitation to enter. Ornate or simple, all gates must meet … Read more

How to set and align fence posts

Sooner or later most homeowners face the prospect of building a fence. Probably the most involved part of this task is setting and aligning the fence posts. For long fence life, use posts of Western red cedar or California redwood. These woods inhibit the decay-causing action of fungus and insects. Specify heartwood, the reddish brown … Read more

How Lay Paving Slabs

Choose your paving according to type of construction, colour, surface finish, shape, and size. Hydraulically pressed slabs are about 37mm thick and are strong enough to support the weight of a car provided that they are laid properly. Cast concrete slabs are about 50mm thick and are heavier but their method of construction makes them … Read more

Pathway Materials

GRAVEL This is the commonest form of utility path, as it is comparatively cheap and, if kept in good condition, long lived. A thorough preparation of the foundation is essential and it should be rolled periodically. It has the disadvantage of becoming weedy, unless it is continually treated with weed killer, and is inclined to … Read more