Clay Pipe Planter Beds

Finally, the clay pipes were listed on again.  I had seen them before for sale and always wondered what to do with them.  This time, I had an insect habitat in mind.  I went to Vintage Roof Tiles in San Jose, on Friday, May 12. I decided to get 120 because they fit in the car, and once I saw them, I really liked the thickness of the terra cotta tubes.


I ended up taking half the box pallet:


On Saturday, May 13, farmhand Will Burke unloaded them since I had a consultation with Rich from Rich’s Hauling and Clearing.


After I told Will my plan to line the garden border, he came up with a great idea of incorporating locust wood into the design. We decided a theme of 15 clay pipes and then a log.

I wanted to work on this particular garden bed because it is on the peripheral of the garden, and I want to work on the “outside” in.  I also knew that I did not want to use locust limbs as a mini-fence. The locust limbs are being used for the interior garden beds.  I also didn’t have enough river rocks to use, so this ended up working out perfectly.  I plan to use these clay pipes in other areas as well, now I know where to get them.

The garden bed in the morning at 11am, looking pretty drab:


The garden bed at 5:30pm after the clay pipes and locust were designed as the border. Also, redwood “gorilla hair” was laid down to protect the plants and soil.

As a finishing touch, wood chips will be poured into the walkways, and flowers and  herbs will be planted in the tubes to attract beneficial insects.

Having the clay pipes in the garden made me realize that we should use these in more spaces because they look cool, are taller than river rocks, and pretty stable.  I decided to contact Vintage Roof Tiles to see about delivery, and I learned that they were giving away the clay pipes.  The delivery cost was minimal so I requested 2 pallet boxes, 500 pipes.



The front of the garden and garage was overgrown with weeds, just waiting for the perfect timing to remove small river rocks and replace the border with pipes.  Now that I had the materials, Will and I got to it on Saturday, August 5 and Sunday, August 6.



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By mid-November, all the clay pipes from the delivery were used as borders in the front and left side of the garden.  Back to Vintage Roof Tile for another load.


With more tubes, we now focused on adding a side path and river rock retaining wall.  The river rocks were a good size, and they were taken from another area in the garden that was being replaced with locust limb planter beds.  Besides the river rocks, much of the soil was dug out in order to level out the cardboard and wood chips.

Walking into the Garden:

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Walking Out of the Garden:


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It was important to add the clay pipes to the right side of the garden for balance.


After the pipes were leveled in place, then cardboard was laid down.  Lots of soil was dug out of the garden, and at least 14″ thick of wood chips were dumped for the pathway.