Posts tagged "Raised Planters"

Double Duty Built in Seating

built in semi circular stone bench doubles as a retaining wall in the landscape

Double duty built in seating in action. The semi circular stone bench functions as seating for the fire pit area and is also a retaining wall for the newly constructed upper garden level!


Functional Landscape Design:

Many homeowners start their landscape construction projects in the fall and winter in Los Angeles so that they can be “outdoor living and entertainment ready” for the summer.


If you have visions of hosting crowds that are bigger than your outdoor furniture can accommodate, you should seriously consider incorporating built in seating into your landscape.

The beauty of built in seat walls is that they serve a variety of functions.




My raised vegetable garden planter is both garden and furniture!


Double Duty Raised Vegetable Gardens

My kitchen garden is conveniently located across from the cooking area so that I can pluck fresh herbs and vegetables for my dishes  and entertain my guests while I cook.

Who wants to be alone when they are grilling?

I have a bar counter near the BBQ that seats two people, but my raised planter can seat ten more!

I love how I don’t have to rent dozens of chairs for my get togethers.

As a designer, it also gives me great pleasure to see people congregate in the areas that I designated for seating.




Seat walls should be 18″ tall for comfortable seating


Another benefit of the seat wall in my  outdoor kitchen area is that  it caps a raised planter for my vegetable garden.

The native soil in my yard is clay and deficient in nutrients making a raised garden bed ideal.

I don’t toil to prepare my soil for planting!

I just fill my raised garden planter  with my favorite soil blend, (Kellogg’s Patio Plus ) and plant away.

Weeds are not a problem in my garden.


Built in Patio Seating



Built-in seating near a fireplace is practical.

In this patio it also functions as a screen.



The  stone bench separates the spa area in the master bedroom retreat from the rest of the patio!


Privacy Screens and Seating


Built in seating can also be used to separate areas of your patio and create different rooms and destinations.

The long narrow patio runs  the span of the back of my house.

I built the arched bench to create privacy and carve out a separate master retreat area with a “hidden” spa.

Now my husband can take a dip while I have tea with my girlfriends on the other side!

I’ve ever done this, but I could if I wanted to!



built in semi circular stone bench doubles as a retaining wall in the landscape






*Construction by award-winning California landscape contractor,  Southern California Landscape, master stone masons and builders 818.834.7241.


More Resources:

Planning on adding an outdoor kitchen to your yard?

Read about important considerations so that your new addition is functional, practical and beautiful.

Before and After: Country Garden Retreat on Small Budget!

stacked concrete garden wall in country garden

Before Photo

I had an instant design vision for this backyard the moment I saw it.

I envisioned a romantic gazebo in the corner, a new handcrafted wood fence, and a raised tumbled stone wall with a swath of Geranium incanum cascading over it.

A country garden retreat!


In a flash, it all came together in detail and just as quickly, the elements started to disappear as I spoke to my clients about the budget.

Board by board, stone by stone my lofty design was deconstructed and faded into the thin air whence it came from.

The only thing left was the geranium and my positive attitude.


“Great, I’ll just have to get creative with materials,” I thought.

Up to the challenge, I assured my clients that they would have the beautiful garden they always dreamed of and I would do it on their small budget.

Take a look at the results which they were delighted with:


After- English Garden by Shirley Bovshow

The concrete block wall had to stay, so I had the homeowners paint it themselves to save money on labor.

The cost of paint was a lot less than a new wood fence and the dark green color made it less obtrusive.

Instead of the shady gazebo, I opted for two Cassia leptophylla “Golden Wonder” trees to form a natural shade canopy and crown the sitting area with it’s golden yellow flowers in the summer.



After- New sitting area and raised stone planters.

I had a stacked stone wall built along the entire backyard, creating a second level for plants.

Instead of expensive natural stone, (like in my vision), we used recycled concrete for a fraction of the price without compromising on charm and good looks!

The broken concrete pieces were also used to build the small pad for the garden bench.


Before- Diagram your new path and garden beds to make sure you like the flow before digging in.

The side yard was used to house trash cans but my plan was to reclaim the space as an outdoor dining and barbecue area.

Whenever I see an unused area, my instincts always prompt me to investigate if the area can serve a function, instead of just, “stand there and look pretty.”



After- The plan comes together just as I imagined it.

The white arbor stands at the entrance of the new dining area and creates a romantic transition between the backyard and new outdoor dining room!


After- A second level in the garden adds depth and interest.

A variety of perennials soften the stone walls on the bottom and top levels.

The raised area near the dining room is planted with veggies and herbs for convenient access.

I’m a firm believer in year-round color through perennial plants that flower different times of the year.

I do use annuals in containers and focal areas, but I don’t rely on them to “carry” my gardens.

In this zone 20 garden in Los Angeles, I am fortunate to have the type of weather that supports a year-round garden.



After- Garden art is always a welcome feature in an English garden, as are cute little dogs!

The “workhorse” plants that I selected for this garden were chosen for their extended bloom time, low maintenance and low water needs.

Alas, Paradise has its shortcomings- a drought issue!



Cassia leptophylla- (yellow flowers)

Citrus trees- variety



Tibouchina urivellana “Princess tree”- (purple flowers)

Lavatera “Red Rum”

Rose Trees- (coral)

Iceberg roses (white)

English Roses-(whites, yellow, dark red)

“Golden Shower” climbing yellow rose

“Joseph’s Coat” climbing multi colored rose in apricot/pinks/yellow

Hardenbergia vine (lavender flowers) a good wisteria replacement

Hydrangeas (pink)

Argyranthemum (white)

Hebe (purple)

Polygala fruiticosa (fushia)

Bay Laurel

Bougainvillea tree (fushia)

Salvia chiapensis (red)


Artemesia (silver)

Teucrium (blue)

Daylily (yellow, cranberry, apricot)

Gaura (pink and white)

Cuphea– (pink and white)


Ground Covers

Ornamental strawberry,Festuca, Erigeron “Santa Barbara daisy”, Rosemary, Scabiosa, Armaria, Huechera, Colombine


I invite you to visit my website to view other projects I have completed.

Look Who’s Waiting for the Veggies to Sprout!

My raised vegetable bed is in germination and growing mode with all my favorite lettuces, heirloom tomatoes, squashes, sugar snap peas, curry, chayote and more! Next to gardening, I love to cook and I can’t wait to see the first set of leaves burst through my 2″ layer of mulch. I’m not the only one waiting though …

I set out some whimsical sheep and geese garden ornaments to give me something to look at while I wait for my culinary babies. The birds are scared of the ornaments too, so I have a built in scarecrow. What luck!

Take a look.

“Mother Goose” waits on my Persian baby cucumbers called, “Green Fingers” from Renee’s Garden to sprout. I looked high and low for these small, crunchy cucumbers that are usually found only in farmers markets.

This sheep was cheap! Only $2 dollars at the market in the “Easter Decor” clearance bin. How do you like my wooden spoon plant marker? I planted “Runway Arugula” also from Renee’s Garden. It is supposed to be slightly less tangy than regular Arugula, but same peppery taste!

The sheep decor straddle my “square foot” wood dividers. Have you read the book, “Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew? It is a clever planting method for intensive and effective yield of maximum vegetables in small square foot garden areas!

A few weeks later when the veggies and herbs start to grow, the sheep and geese look like they are in a foraging field! As for me, I am in heaven.