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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.

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Wow, Needham recalls thinking, "this spot gets eight hours of sunlight a day, it's the right size and it's not being used."

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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.

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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.

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It's so low maintenance, it practically calls for drive-through gardening.

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