The beginning of a bee yard

We are getting our first two packages of bees at the end of March. I can’t wait to have these little beauties living on my property, pollinating my squash. So we wanted to make sure that they would be happy in their new homes.

The site: Inside the fenced vegetable garden, where the dogs won’t crash into it when they race about. The hives will face east. That’s our property fence behind. Neighbor’s tree to the Southwest will be in full leaf by the time summer heat gets bad, so there will be afternoon shade.

Fenced vegetable garden with straw bales
Bee yard site viewed from asparagus bed

Our ground is decidedly UN-level, so I am building what amounts to a short raised bed to site the hives. The boards will allow me to constrain my leveling sand/gravel in a small area without worrying that every rain will wash sand out from under the hive stands and into the low areas near the fence. I also made a lot of decisions based on straight esthetics; if it’s going to be in my garden, I want it to be pretty.

Composite and natural wood lumber on ground
Decking boards laid out for bed construction
Detail of corner join on box, mitered corners
I chose ChoiceDek composite decking material for longevity, in the color “Beach House Gray” to coordinate with the aged cedar of the rest of the garden. I mitered the ends and screwed them into standard decking 4x4s.
Rectangular wooden frame on ground.
Finished bed construction, with ChoiceDek endcaps added to corner posts. Bed size is 12’x6′.
Lumber frame lined with corrugated cardboard.
Cardboard for weed suppression.
Rectangular frame lined with straw.
A layer of straw to keep the cardboard from blowing away until I come back with leveling sand and gravel.
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