DIwYatt: Lining the Garden Boxes

By | May 3, 2013

Remember when I wrote about building the garden bed boxes here? Well that was step one. Step two involved limiting the contact between the boxes and the soil and water inside the bed and in the ground. Long story short, we needed a lining. Here’s our playbook (AKA: step-by-step guide) for how that all went down.

They waited patiently in the basement between step one and step two.

Garden Bed Liners

We decided to use some sort of plastic tarp to line the insides of our wooden boxes to help protect them from the water and soil, which will hopefully help them last longer. Plus, the plastic should help protect the soil and the plants from potentially absorbing any harmful chemicals from the paint or lacquer on the doors. (We weren’t super concerned about this, but it’s always good to be cautious.)

We found 4 mil black plastic sheeting that came in 50 ft x 3 ft rolls in the painting aisle at Wal-mart near the drop clothes.

Garden Bed Liner 5

The 36 inch width was perfect for this project, because we wanted the plastic to line the entire inside of each box with about 6 inches folded over around the bottom outside of the box. This outside layer is to protect the bottom on the box that will be buried in the ground. I started with this step.

We had to buy a staple gun to secure the plastic to the door, but I’m sure we’ll need it for future projects, so it was a good investment, and a small one at that.

I started by measuring 6 inches from the bottom up the door (it is upside-down in the picture) for the overlap that will protect it when set in the ground.

Garden Bed Liners 2

Once I made it all of the way around, I started stapling the plastic on level with the markings. When I made it around the second time, I overlapped the plastic a couple of inches and cut it from the roll.

Garden Bed Liners 4

I flipped the boxes over and started securing the plastic to the top edge.  The corners were a little bit scrunched together, but the inside will be partly filled with dirt and won’t be visible.

Garden Bed Liners 5

Here’s how it looked once it was all lined:

Garden Bed Liners 7

Once I finished this step, I realized I put a bunch of holes in the plastic with the staples. So we decided to seal those little holes with tape. We choose Gorilla Tape*.

Garden Bed Liner

We liked this tape (instead of duct tape) for a few reasons, including because it is supposed to be weather-proof and it was black to match the plastic.

First, we taped where the plastic overlapped on the inside of the boxes. One strip down the seam was enough for that.

Next we taped the bottom outside edge where the plastic ended and where the staples were. One strip covered the bottom layer of staples and the edge of the plastic. And because we are trying to seal the edge as much as possible, we used one continuous strip of tape all the way around each box. I could have done this project on my own, but having an extra set of hands will be helpful, so I’d recommend teamwork if possible.

Garden Bed Liner 10

There were other staples on the bottom outside edge, which I’d used to keep the plastic smooth and secure, so we needed to cover those, too. Instead of using one long piece of tape to go all the way around again, we decided to cut pieces of the tape and just cover them individually. This saved us a lot of tape, plus it blends in pretty well and it should be sealed well enough to hold out most of the water.

Garden Bed Liner 3

Then, we turned the boxes over (now they were right side up), and I trimmed off the excess plastic on the top to make the edge of the plastic easier to seal.

Garden Bed Liner 1

Finally we used one strip for each side on the top to seal the plastic.  

Garden Bed Liner 6


Make sure you press the tape down as smooth and tight as possible. The point is to hold out water, so we tried to make the seal as waterproof as we could, even though we know it won’t be perfect.

Garden Bed Liner 9

It turned out looking a lot better than I imagined. From a distance, they look like we painted them with the black bands as an accent. And even from up close, they are pretty neat. We even cut and folded in the corners on the top to make a nice, even edge.

Garden Bed Liner 8

But if you are thinking to yourself, “This isn’t looking very attractive…” Don’t worry, we realize that and we have plans for that and I will post about it at a later date, if it ever gets warm enough for us to actually plant a garden! Stay Tuned!

I realize I could have bought that black sealant that come in an aerosol can that you see on TV making a boat out of a screen door, and that would have been cool to use. But this was more practical I think as we would have needed a bunch of cans to coat the inside of our boxes. (See the Product video below)

Have you ever tried lining something like this? What about with the sealant spray? How did it turn out?

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