Construct A Raised Garden Bed

Raised beds are a great way of growing a wide range of plants, and are particularly popular for growing fruit and vegetables.  First of all, since they’re designed to hold water, they won’t drain, which is not a good thing in an outdoor garden bed. Like the previous reviewer stated, moving the boxes into the back yard and unpacking them was more of a chore than putting the bed together. Because it is above ground, your raised bed will not retain water as well as the soil in the ground.

Cloth that will cover the inside walls should be weighted with stones or some loose dirt, then folded towards the middle of the bed and if necessary tied there, like a sheaf of corn, to keep it out of the way. Soil should always have something covering it, wherever it is, raised beds or in the ground – in the heat of the summer the soil should be covered with a heavy mulch or with groundcover plants. This is what an overstacked, companion planted, food garden actually looks like.

All of these things are true, but it doesn’t always follow that a raised bed will require more water than one at ground level. Stock tanks, which are typically round or rectangular with rounded ends, are generally used to feed farm animals, but they’ve been gaining popularity in recent years as a great way to add urban chic to the garden. A traditional garden laid out in narrow rows devotes over half its space to paths.

Experienced gardeners use raised beds to sidestep a long list of gardening challenges. Raised bed gardens can be entered and maintained soon after rains or irrigations without compacting soils. Raised bed gardens are typically more convenient to work (less bending is required by the gardener). Soil in raised beds drains better, which means wet weather won’t stall—or rot—crops.

Tomatoes are well suited to a bed 24 to 36 inches wide, with one row of plants down the middle. To add nutrients, compost can be laid over the top of the bed in spring and fall; worms will do the mixing work. The choice of framework to use for walls depends on the availability and cost of the construction material and how you want the final product to look in the landscape. Before filling a frame with soil, it is imperative to line the bottom of the bed with either corrugated cardboard or several thicknesses of newspaper. Drainage is built into the bed walls, which hold the soil in place to keep erosion in check.

Set a stiff board (2×4) on top of the bed sides, across the span, and set your level on this board. In this story, we’ll show you the easiest, most time-efficient way to build a stone planter that will last for decades. There are advantages of using something that will enable drainage of the raised bed, otherwise you are unintentionally constructing a raised pond !

In both the blog and the resulting book by the same name, Sanders describes the innovative and inexpensive techniques she uses on her Toronto roof garden. A bed of this height will enable the person to partake in their interest in gardening without having to step in the garden bed has the benefit of being able to tend to the garden, that is, sow, plant and harvest, whenever you want, even when the ground is wet because you won’t be stepping in mud!

If you really want to do it on the beautiful side without any concern for those terrible poisons waiting to attack your children and pets, then go with masonry or stone. To dig in raised garden beds, we needed only four tools: a fork, a rake, a shovel and a hand trowel — all inexpensive. Build the wall on a gravel base for stability and drainage, and cover the back with landscape fabric and more gravel before filling in with soil. Raised-bed builders often sink posts into the ground for stability, either at the inside corners of the bed or halfway along the side walls. Pros: Wood raised beds are easy to install, and the material is readily available in most areas.


The general shape of your bed or beds depends on your available space and what you plan to plant inside them, although sticking to a width of 4 feet or narrower ensures that you’ll be able to reach into the bed’s center from either side. According to the numbers and my situation… it was actually cheaper in the long run to just buy the concrete blocks up front vs. having to rebuild wooden beds 3 or 4 times.

For extra stability, drill holes through the timbers at a 20 degree angle and drive rebar through them and at least twelve inches into the earth below. Fill the raised bed with a compost and topsoil blend, and plant with your favorite vegetables or flowers. There are many raised bed garden kits available for purchase if designing your own bed seems overwhelming. This raised bed garden design by Blueberry Hill Crafting combines a few great ideas.

When you are ready for raised garden beds preparation of soil in your beds, fill them with commercial soil or mix the existing soil with compost or manure As beds are built up, keep adding compost to further improve its soil structure and drainage. I love the stepped up version of this square foot garden inspired design Not only are you giving depth to crops that need a little more depth to grow well, but you’ve got a versatile design to work with your comfortable level of movement. You can also create beautiful custom shapes using the raised beds and a number of materials.

I paved the paths between beds with pea gravel, and then enclosed the entire garden with wire mesh attached to pressure-treated posts. Because red cedar has fewer knots than white, it is easier to work with and will generally give your garden a smoother and cleaner look. The compact rotational garden utilizes a small space efficiently while maintaining easy access to each section.

Hold landscape timbers and railroad ties in place with construction rebar, which is a steel reinforcing bar (Figure 5). Drill holes all the way through each layer every 4 feet, staying 6 to 8 inches in from the ends of timbers. While the garden beds (carrots, beets, turnips, cole crops, chard, spinach, etc.) were protected on top with a foot of hay, the frost froze the moist earth in the wide paths between the beds, attacking the roots from below.

To build the supports, secure a 6- to 12-inch length of 1″ PVC pipe to the inside of the frame, using pre-formed tube straps. Allow your child to choose one or two plants to add to the garden that they can tend and harvest themselves. There have also been studies that show that wood pallets carry 15% less bacteria than plastic pallets. The length of the bed is more flexible, and you can use whatever length makes the most sense for your space. Begin by discussing the long-term vision and goals of your congregational garden. Wait until it rains before pulling them out, or you may rip the landscape cloth.

It’s called Botanical Edging, the reason being, if you have something as large as a Botanical garden with thousands of beds, it’s not practical to install edging, so you just dig them. I guess in 1985 it wasn’t common knowledge how incredibly toxic to the environment even OLD railroad ties are – as well as treated landscape timbers. A slightly more complex design from Popular Mechanics adds a ‘cap railing’ to the top of the bed to make it look more finished and offer a place to set tools when you’re not using them. I am 51 yrs old and planting gardens my entire life and always wanted to try a raised bed, so this year I AM having an underground and raised garden.

The leaching of chemicals out of MCQ is practically non-existent and using the treated lumber for a vegetable bed is safe because the chemicals do not leach out into the soil. Bricks are great to work with as they can be adjusted to create any shape; if you don’t want a rectangular bed, you can create a round, oblong, or free-form organic structure instead. There’s ongoing debate about what timber you should use to build a raised garden.

If that ground, however, is already inhabited by an aggressive, rhizomous grass, or by weeds such as bindweed, kudzu, or creeping bellflower, it’s best to kill off the existing vegetation before building the raised bed. And if you decide to use cinder blocks or pavers, make sure you use concrete block made with ordinary aggregate. You can either buy potting soil at a garden supply store, dig it up from surrounding areas, or buy it by the truckload from a larger outlet. Mulch or landscape fabric offer more affordable options for paths to help prevent muddy walkways. Temporary raised beds are simply mounded earth, usually in rows two to four feet wide.

In fact, conventional gardeners would be well-advised to reduce their garden area when converting to the deep-compost method, unless they plan to feed the neighbors or start a roadside stand! As you select a site for your raised bed garden design, choose one near a water source to make irrigation easy. Raised beds are a great solution where the underlying soil is very difficult to work, and cedar makes great wood for raised beds; it’s very long-lasting. When it comes to the best way to build a raised garden bed, areas that get at least five to eight hours of full sun is recommended.