It pays to get expert help

While I like to think of myself as a do-it-yourself kinda gal, I learnt from my father (who was not a handy man) that often your time is better spent doing what you do well and paying someone else to do what they do well for you. That doesn’t always hold true, but there is definitely a time and place for getting expert help, and in this case, it was well worth it.

Note: this is one of many blog posts I would have liked to do much earlier, back in November 2014, when this building occurred. However, for the same reasons I didn’t do this particular job myself (we were ridiculously busy) I didn’t write it either. 

Late last year, I was keen to get a vegie garden established in time to reap the rewards of summer’s abundance. However, time was not on my side and it seemed that the stockpile of iron sheeting we had been storing forever would never actually get used to build the raised garden beds of which I dreamed.

Enter my saviour, Brad Miles.

Brad is a roof carpenter and did a great job building the roof of my new house. While he was on site, we had the opportunity to chat about my garden and he showed my some pics on his phone of the raised garden beds he had built for himself, friends and family and listed a few on Gumtree for sale. Perfect. I think I was so excited I pretty much hired him on the spot.

So one blistering hot Sunday, Brad rocked up with his ute full of professional carpentry tools and set to work building me three new garden beds 4.25m L x 1m W to “match” the dodgy one Jeff and I had cobbled together much earlier. Boy, is it a sorry cousin to the new ones! Brad reused and cut down to size all our old iron sheeting and bought new treated pine boards to build a solid frame. (Some people might wonder why I used treated pine instead of something like Jarrah, which is naturally resistant to rot. To be honest, I didn’t do my own research before giving Brad the go-ahead. But he had, and assured me that while it wouldn’t be considered organic, it wasn’t harmful. Cost was also another deciding factor. Jarrah was simply unfeasible for me at the time.) The beds are solid enough to sit on, stand on and, of course, rest your beer while you’re gardening, a very important design consideration. Brad charged us very reasonable hourly rates for his time and built three huge beds in a day – a bloody good effort while working in the blazing sun. And that’s exactly why I didn’t attempt this job. Not only would I have passed out from sun stroke, we didn’t have the proper tools, knowledge, skills, time or freedom (with two little kids at foot). 

While we didn’t exactly have a lot of cash to throw at this venture given that we were coming to the end of the very costly exercise of building a house. The cost benefit analysis for this was pretty easy. So much so, I’ve asked Brad to build me four more to mirror the others and complete my kick-arse vegie patch!

Five months later, I have just planted my winter vegetable crops and the beds look fantastic. Ages ago, I’d bought a huge piece of reo (that builders use to reinforce concrete pads) to create an arbour but had never used it. It’s now found a home spanning two beds and the walkway between creating what I hope will be a blushing arbour of fragrant climbing sweet peas in a few months time.

Postscript: Brad has a small selection of completed raised garden beds for sale and is able to build them made to measure. If you’re interested, contact me and I’ll be happy to pass your details on to him to follow up.