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A driveway turned kitchen garden

Story highlights

  • Decorative items add visual interest to a hardworking vegetable garden
  • Flowers such as marigolds can help deter pests from your plot
  • By planting strategically, you can maximize your space for flowers and vegetables
When documentary producer Nancy Steiner moved into a new house in upstate New York a few years ago, she wanted a big vegetable garden for her family to enjoy.
But she did not see a spot for it. After she and a landscape-designer friend, Leslie Needham, walked around the property they finally stopped at the gravel driveway beside Steiner's detached garage. The answer was right in front of them.
Wow, Needham recalls thinking, "this spot gets eight hours of sunlight a day, it's the right size and it's not being used."
Within a few weeks, they had erected six 5-by-7 foot raised beds on the space and filled them with organic soil. They left paths around each bed to allow for easy access and built a low stone wall at the entrance to help define the space.
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"My goal was to create a neat, organized area and let Nancy take it from there," says Needham.
Flowers provide beauty and also serve a practical purpose: The marigolds help deter pests; the nasturtiums go into salads.
The nontraditional location has other advantages-- The raised beds allow Steiner to easily control the soul quality. And the plot's proximity to the garage keeps tools and supplies close.
"This is a working person's garden," says Steiner.
It's so low maintenance, it practically calls for drive-through gardening.