2011 / railroad crossties, stop signs, steel cable, rebar, lumber, hardware

For the spring 2011 project with YouthBuild, we elected to build a community garden for our parent non-profit, H.E.R.O.. A dilapidated, barely-functioning arrangement of low-lying beds, interspersed with piles of scrap lumber, an old shipping container, and hundreds of feet of broken irrigation tubing was transformed into a well-graded field containing seven raised beds, two shade structures with benches, a tool shed, and a grill.

The raised beds were constructed from used railroad crossties laid in compacted-gravel foundations and staked together with 1/2" rebar, painted to prevent rust. At the end of the beds, crossties are cantilevered out to create benches, sheltered from the southern sun by a trellis of steel cables and a roof of stop signs leftover from the construction of the road sign fence. Water lines were run to a standpipe in each bed, feeding a drip irrigation system. Now, the garden raises food for a local restaurant, PieLab, and serves as a hub tying together the various buildings of the H.E.R.O. campus.