Planting the Strip: Three Cheers for More Dirt!

Mighty Mouse offers up his own opinion

Mighty Mouse offers up his own opinion

In early January, I polled my readers on the pros and cons of re-planting the sidewalk strip. I wanted something other than lawn. The vote was split down the middle.

We’ve lived in this house for 17 years, adding trees, flowers, shrubs and vegetables, but that boring strip of grass never changed. I thought of planting summer vegetables in the strip or  veggies and a few flowers.

It’s not that people disliked the idea. The no votes worried about doggie deposits or thieves in the night. Others feared vandalism (they’d seen it before) or easy access for neighborhood cats.

The yes votes suggested flowers instead of vegetables (less tempting to passersby) and one reader suggested a raised bed. Head slap!  What a great idea.

My husband was happy with the status quo. I was ready for a change (and more garden). Once he knew what it meant to me, he agreed to the idea *and* built the planting bed.  It’s 16 x 4 x 1 feet or (5 x 1 x .3 meters)

grassy sidewalk strip

The sidewalk strip, planted with sod

Planting bed 4 x 16

Planting bed, newly delivered potting soil

What fun I’m having with all that extra space! I can’t wait till things start filling in. Plants include:

  • Status (transplanted from the back yard)
  • Nasturtium (started from seed in my kitchen window)
  • Cosmo (another transplant); and
  • Nursery finds including Candy Tuft ‘Masterpiece,’ Chocolate Mint, Heliotrope Blue, Lemon Thyme, Snapdragons and Verbena.
planting bed

Newly planted, irrigation installed

Yellow snapdragons

Yellow Snapdragons

Candytuft 'Masterpiece'

Candytuft ‘Masterpiece’


Feline Neighbor

Another reader comment suggested removing some of the lawn on the property side of our lot.  I did that as well, planting sunflowers, Alyssum and Forget-me-nots.  I covered all of it with a pop-up tent to keep the squirrels and snails at bay.  Nothing grew!  Finally I removed the cover and planted bedding plants instead.

Low and behold, the seeds are now sprouting and everything is filling in nicely. Apparently they weren’t staying moist enough to germinate.  Lesson learned.

Planting the corner

Planting the corner

So far, so good on the planting strip.  My neighbors are giving it a thumbs up and other than the character in the photo, above, no untoward behavior other than cat-napping between the plants.

24 thoughts on “Planting the Strip: Three Cheers for More Dirt!

  1. looking good Alys – it was so cold and windy here today I never made it outside – so sad – hopefully tomorrow will not be so windy


    • Hi Bonnie! Thanks for commenting.

      Sorry to hear about the cold, windy day. We had a mini heat wave this week, in the eighties and nineties. I try to garden early or late or (like today) chase the shade! I hope your weather improves. xox


  2. What a fabulous idea! The raised bed looks really great – and I soooo want to give your feline neighbour a squeezie hug. What a friendly chap! Can’t wait to see the raised strip garden’s progress. Lovely idea with the sunflowers, alyssum and forget-me-nots, too.


  3. Looks so great! What a good job Mike did building it, I see the braces now. Sounds like you’ve got a potpourri of the yummiest smelling flowers too. I love the smell of Snaps and Heliotrope. I used to plant that in my window boxes and it would waft into the house. Now when you are snuggling Mouse he’ll smell like Lemon Thyme and Verbena, yum! The two of you are so cute together :D, what good company he is for you. I bet you’ll have a lot of butterflies visiting too, they love all your selections. I planted Alyssum in all my pots too but it’s struggling since it’s been pouring rain and they hadn’t been able to get a foot hold b4 that began. I hope it hangs in there, it smells so good and reminds me of you whenever I’m going by. Can’t wait to see it in a month. Gads thing grow fast down there, just look at your walkway garden.


    • Thanks bunches, Boomdee! There we go align ourselves again: how cool that you also planted snaps and Heliotrope. Love that.

      Mouse is good company, that is for sure. I had to bribe him today, though, by bringing him in and giving him treats. He jumped up on the fairy garden again while I was decorating for birthdays. My clever plan, however, worked. I used the chains attached to the hanging bowl and attached to the bench. Now he can’t tip it over! Thwarted!!!

      Sorry to hear your Alyssum is struggling. I had to transplant my potted Alyssum too, but for the opposite reason: too dry. I’ve replanted the tower with draught tolerant plants that can weather it drying out between watering.

      I hope your heavy rains are finally done.



  4. I absolutely love that first picture of you! And what a clever idea the raised bed is for that strip of grass. Can’t wait to see photos of things as they progress! (love that candytuft!)


  5. I just love your new raised planter and all the pretty flowers you planted in it… this looks like way more fun than just grass! It is going to be so beautiful as everything settles in and sprouts up lush and happy.. I am looking forward to seeing the photos as summer progresses along!


  6. Pingback: Saving the Rain for a Hot Summer Day – Gardening Nirvana

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