by TORI MORRISON

Summer emerges each year with a bright and sunny entrance. Here in San Diego we wait in anticipation for that final school bell, or for the skies to open up for a relaxing day at the beach. Once beach weather settles in it’s pretty difficult to stay motivated, however why not mix it up this summer with a do-it-yourself-project in your garden? There’s plenty of crafty ideas out there for raised vegetable boxes, and with their versatility it’s easy to turn a garden bed into a piece of artwork. You can even put your summer seashell collecting to good use and style the beds with beach-sytle decor. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Corrugated Metal Bed

For a cool, industrial look, cut eight panels of corrugated metal to size and lay them out so that they cross over each other by two inches. Begin at one end of the panels and start attaching them panel to panel by drilling three evenly spaced holes down each seam so that it goes through both panels. Using a rivet gun, place a rivet in each of the holes. Next, rivet the final seam. Place support rods on the outside of the beds and pound them into the ground until they are at an even level with the top of the bed. To make a bottom, cut pieces of hardware cloth to fit inside the bed. Next, place them in the bed so they overlap and curve up the sides.

Stone-Lined Bed

Create a raised bed in a frame that sits on the surface of the soil. Use stones, rocks, bricks, or shells as accent pieces. In this case ensure that the soil is properly mounded as it forms part of the landscape of the bed. When you dig, clear the soil and then use a sharp, square-bladed spade to break up it up. Next, change to a round-pointed shovel for evening out the surface.

Water Trough

For those who aren’t so handy with tools, there’s always the option of purchasing a galvanized water trough and drilling holes at the bottom for drainage. Place rocks in between the holes and the soil to create some room and an additional layer to catch water.