How to Create a Mailbox Garden

Have you done any gardening yet this season?  We’re officially past Mother’s Day, so it’s now safe to plant in the ground without the risk of frost.  I knew for my first project I wanted to create a mailbox garden.

Last summer, the planter on the back of our mailbox was accidentally knocked off by the lawn guys.  I was bummed because I loved how the planter looked filled with annuals.  I noticed that a few of our neighbors have mailbox gardens, and my idea was born.

As it just so happens, I needed an outdoor home improvement project for this month’s At Home DIY Challenge.  I can’t wait to see what everyone has done this month!  Be sure to click the link at the end of this post to view all of the inspiring projects.  Many thanks to Eileen from Just Measuring Up and Megan from Two Feet First for organizing these challenges.

So this is what the mailbox looked like before.

Step 1.

Determine the desired size of the garden and section off with rope or a garden hose.

Step 2.

Based on the size of your garden, decide how many plants you’ll need and head over to the nursery to pick your plants.  I went to a small garden center and asked for some guidance.  The owner recommended perennials that will do well in my part sun / part shade location.  While you’re there, also buy some fertilizer/compost and plenty of mulch.

Next, decide where they’ll go by finding a pleasing arrangement under the mailbox.

I chose 2 bleeding hearts, a hardy geranium, 2 ladies mantle and 2 sweet woodruff.  Put the taller plants in the back, and smaller ground covers towards the front.

Step 3.

Edge around the perimeter and start removing the sod.  This is the most tedious part of the project!

Step 4.

Dig down about a foot and remove the soil.  This part can also be tedious if you have a lot of rocks to deal with.  I kept a bucket nearby to throw rocks into.  I removed 3 wheelbarrow loads of soil.  I kept the last wheelbarrow full of soil.

Step 5.

Empty the fertilizer/compost into the garden area.  I purchased two bags of a special soil, fertilizer and compost mixture from the garden center.

Step 6. 

Add the reserved soil back into the garden.

Step 7.

Mix the soil and fertilizer together.

Step 8.

Place the plants back on top of the soil where you want them to be planted.

Step 9.

Dig round holes about 2 inches wider than the plant and deep enough to cover the root ball.

Step 10.

Remove plants from the pots, loosen the root balls at the bottom and plant in the ground.  Fill in dirt around the plants.

Step 11.

Water the plants generously and mulch the entire area.  I used natural cedar mulch.  I prefer brown mulch over the dyed orange type.

And you’re done!  I’m pretty happy with the result.  I know the garden will look better after the plants have matured and filled out a little.  Another option is to add annuals to the garden for extra color and continuous blooms during the summer.

I think I’ll add some garden statuary, as well.  My concrete rabbit, who made an appearance at my Easter Tablescape , will be right at home in this garden!

I hope this inspired you to get your hands dirty and work outside in the garden 🙂

Until next time!


UPDATE:  Here’s a photo of the garden taken just three weeks later.  Everything has really grown and filled out.  I did add the concrete rabbit, too.  It looks so much better!

Don’t forget to check out what my fellow At Home DIY friends have been up to this month!

See more Make It Pretty Outdoor Projects

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  1. Hi Rebecca! It’s funny how some gardening can completely transform a space, isn’t it? I’m loving how your mailbox garden turned out! And yes, I can imagine it was tedious to remove all that sod, but your hard work paid off. Looks lovely! Thanks for sharing at Tuesday Turn About!

  2. I created my mailbox garden a couple of years ago. And I keep trying to get it “lush” looking, but so far, its still very sparse looking. It needs more watering than I am able to give it. But I keep trying. Maybe in about 5 years it will be fantastic looking.
    You did a great job!
    🙂 gwingal

    1. Thanks Nikki! I think it turned out so well because I chose plants recommended by the garden center owner. I still can’t believe how much it filled out in just 3 weeks. Thanks for visiting!

  3. Oooh! Flowers trump grass in my book all day long! I know you will enjoy this sooo much every time you check the mail now. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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