Vegetable Garden Paradise on a Shoestring Budget

Making Use of the Spaces Where We Live

Meredith Thomas is not a fan of lawns.  Not when you could use the same space to create a vegetable garden paradise.

She moved to a house with a back yard that was overgrown by vines.  Rather than cover the area with a traditional lawn, she started filling the yard with vegetables, fruits, herbs and various other useful plants.

The result is the beautiful gardens you can see in this video from Central Texas Gardener:

Upcycle Old Materials to Keep a Shoestring Budget

Meredith’s passion for reusing discarded materials started when she used some old cedar posts to create a fence around her yard… and she loved the result.  She built this whole setup while trying to buy as little as possible.

She started scrounging for other materials, and it looks like she got pretty good at finding interesting and useful items that needed a new home.  Limestone, cedar boards, wooden pallets – she did enough dumpster diving to get enough cardboard to cover her entire yard.

She used scavenged items like leaves, coffee grounds, and past-date produce from the grocery store to build her soil.  And while she was out scavenging, she found lots of nice artistic pieces to give the yard some nice flair.

Video: Convert Your Lawn into a High-Yield Food Forest

Create a Vegetable Garden Paradise with Permaculture

Many aspects of permaculture are visible in these gardens.  The garden bed designs incorporate sheet composting, a keyhole composting bed, and hugelkultur.

In addition to growing food, she grows many plants that have other uses, including medicinal herbs, and plants for tea.

And most parts of the yard are planted with an eye toward water conservation.  She hit the nail on the head when she said, “It’s very easy to become philosophical once you’re a food gardener.”


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  • Susan Bussel says:

    I am so inspired. Thank you!

  • Tammy says:

    AWESOME ! Very inspiring, LOVE her and her garden !

  • Paula says:

    Thanks for sharing this video! It is always fun to see how other people are making their gardens work – love all the random and free things she has put together. Meridith is so right when she said that seeing the circle of life in gardening helps us to see it in other aspects of our life.

  • Deborah Sauter says:

    What a beautiful, nurturing garden Meredith has made!

    I don’t really understand what function the cardboard had other than decomposing.

    Glad to see the video.

    Thank you

    1. Annetta Williams says:

      the cardboard helps to cover the weeds and kill them. Also for composting.

  • Kari says:

    Could you suggest what will grow in shade?

  • JM says:

    Her garden looks absolutely perfect to me, beautiful woman, spirit and life. Thank you Meredith.
    Thank you Grow Network.

  • Karen says:

    Thank you for your encouragement! I am just beginning to do what you have done and you have inspired me and also give me the hope that someday…beautiful garden and lady.

  • Gudrun B says:

    loved it!

  • Alana says:

    This woman is amazing! I feel like she is my kindred spirit. My very large back yard was barren and ugly. I knew that I needed to grow my own food. I am also against lawns 🙂 I started my garden last fall after reading a book by Caleb Warnock. Its about starting a garden without spending money. I have made all of my garden beds by myself out of things that I scrounged up. I asked friends and neighbors if they had certain items just laying around that they werent using. Whether it was tools, flower pots, or bricks, cardboard or leaves. Anything that would be useful. Mine is not nearly as large as this one, but someday it will be! I am again inspired to make it bigger! Thank you for sharing this womans story.

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