Raised gardening is nothing more than growing plants in soil that is higher than the ground. See? I told you it was easy. Raised bed gardening can take many forms. Even a simple flower pot is one version of a raised bed. It’s a tiny version, but I think it still counts.
Most raised garden beds are created with some type of enclosure or frame made of wood, stone, or other materials. They can be simple and sturdy, or elaborate and ornate. They can be bright and colorful, or a simple wooden box. Once in place, raised beds are no more expensive to maintain than traditional gardens, and they offer a lot of benefits.
Benefits of Raised Bed Gardens:
· Portable: The first benefit of raised beds is the fact that you can put them wherever you want/nee them. They are (mostly) portable. There are some built-in options that wouldn’t be portable, but you can still install them anywhere you’d like.
· Healthy: Second, plants are often healthier and more productive in a raised bed. You have more control over the quality of soil, drainage, and pests in a raised bed so they often eliminate common gardening problems.
· Ergonomical: Third, they are easier to care for. Now you can comfortably sit while you tend to your plants instead of spending hours bent over in the garden. Depending on how you build your beds, you might even be able to sit in a lawn chair while gardening.
· Extended growing season: Because raised bed gardens sit above the ground, the soil warms up faster and you can start growing earlier than a traditional garden. If you need to increase the heat even more, you can build your beds out of sheet metal to retain the heat and give you better results with heat-loving plants.
Raised Bed Designs
You can create a raised garden bed out of just about anything. We’ve gathered a few of the most popular and easy ideas to get you started. Think outside the box of what you already have that you can use. As long as it is deep enough to hold soil and has drainage (or holes can be drilled into the bottom), you’re good to go.
1. This first raised bed is your most basic wooden box, build by thehandmadehome.net. These are simple, easy to assemble and can be placed nearly anywhere. If you’re thinking about starting your first garden box, this is a good place to start.
2. Sheet metal is another great option. It gives a totally different look, and allows the bed to sit a little bit higher than a shorter wooden box.
3. If you don’t have a lot of space, stacked planters work perfectly. Smaller plants like herbs work great in this type of garden bed. Thanks decorandthedog.net for this great idea!
4. If you don’t have a lot of space, narrow beds are the perfect solution. They can fit up against your fence line and don’t have to take up a lot of space.
5. A square foot garden is a good idea for planting separate plants and keeping things organized. Even a small 3-foot square can hold nine separate plants if you plan it correctly. Thank you removeandreplace.com for the great photo.
6. If you have critter issues in your area, you might want to add an additional net around your plants to keep them protected. This is simple to do on a wooden frame, and you can keep out the pests and still grow beautiful plants.
7. How amazing would it be to add a beautiful garden AND additional seating in the backyard?! Railwaysleepers.com created this project so you can now enjoy your garden, and create an entertaining space for friends and family. That’s the ultimate two-fer.
8. There are lots of materials you can use that are already available. Like this raised bed made from nothing but old tires. They work perfectly. Simply remove the side wall and fill the middle with landscape fabric on the bottom and soil to the top and you’re ready to plant.
9. A garden bed doesn’t have to be just a garden bed. It can serve several purposes. This bed provides space for tool storage, seating, or even just benches for flower pots to add to the setting.
10. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can build amazing options like this one from The Design Confidential. This allows you to plant five different types of plants with strong barriers between each one.
11. Hay bales also make good raised gardens. They are easy to find and use. You may need to replace them over time, but they are simple to create. Simply take a sharp trowel and stick it down into your straw bale, wiggling it back and forth to make room for your seedling. Make sure to plant seedlings no deeper than they sit in their nursery pot.
12. If you’d prefer something a little more permanent, concrete makes a great planter as well. This is particularly helpful if you have a strict HOA where there are specific restrictions on gardening. Oftentimes a concrete bed provides a streamlined look where you can still nurture your green thumb.
13. A watering trough makes a great raised bed. You can find them at most hardware or animal supply stores and there is no assembly required. All you need to do is drill holes in the bottom and you’re ready to go!
Let’s get started
Ready to build your own? Getting started is simple. You’ll just need a few tools, sunshine, and a few helpers. Start by picking the perfect spot. Full sun is an absolute must for most plants, so find somewhere in the sunshine with level ground to make installation easy.
Next, Decide on your dimensions and materials. This is a matter of space and budget. Choose materials you can easily work with, and don’t go bigger than you can handle. Most raised beds are no more than 4-feet wide. This way, you can easily reach the center. Ideal depth is 12-24 inches. This allows roots to grow healthy without making the box too deep.
Be sure to line the bottom of your beds with cardboard, newspaper, or landscaping fabric to prevent weeds or grass from growing up through the bottom. Now you’re ready to fill with soil and plant! Be sure you start with a good soil, a good recipe for raised beds is start with 1 part topsoil, 1 part composted manure and 1 part sand. Bagged soils can also be used if your bed is smaller.
Plant your veggies and enjoy!