It is worth learning how to construct a raised garden bed. They provide endless possibilities for growing crops and flowers and are easy to add to your backyard.
How to build a raised garden beds
(Image credit: Future/Mark Bolton)
Timber beds can be built on a DIY basis using scaffolding boards. Follow this step-by-step guide to help you get started.
1. Prepare the soil
First, level the soil by digging over it and clearing out any weeds and debris. The main reason raised beds are built on top of existing ground is that the new soil sits on top of it, allowing for better drainage and less soil compaction. Claudia de Yong explains, “Burrow any turf that has been removed in the new bed to enrich the soil as it decomposes.”
2. Make sure you are in the corners
This can be done using wooden posts. They should be approximately 2×2 in. If you want to add netting to protect crops, then make the posts taller than the planks’ width.
3. Place the boards
After putting the scaffolding boards in their place, bed the edges of the boards about an inch into the ground before fixing or nailing them to planks.
4. Soil the raised beds
Fill the hole with a soil mixture that is specific to your needs. A good general mix is two thirds’ multi-purpose compost to one third garden soil or John Innes. This mix can be enriched with organic matter such as compost made from well-rotted manure and homemade compost. The addition sharp sand will improve drainage.
5. Keep raised beds low maintenance
You can keep weeds at bay by using no dig gardening techniques in your raised garden beds. This will enrich the soil’s health and help to prevent future problems.
Selecting the best location for a raised mattress
When building a raised garden bed, the first thing you should do is choose the right spot.
Many fruits and vegetables can benefit from sunlight, so you might consider adding raised garden beds to your vegetable garden.
The importance of a raised bed is important because it allows for more sunlight to warm the soil faster, which in turn aids plants in germinating and prolongs their growing season. Claudia de Yong.
Raised beds also allow you to grow blueberries in a different soil type. This also means that if you have ‘problem soil’Claudia continues, “You can amend the soil to provide better growth conditions for your plants, so such heavy clay,” Claudia says.
You can make your flower beds more attractive by creating areas that are suitable for certain types of flowers.
Consider access to your water supply and drainage – avoiding low, waterlogged areas. Don’t position a raised bed right next to a wall or fence, as it will shelter the plants from rain.
You should consider drainage when building a raised gardenbed on a area of gravel or hardscape. Water must flow from the foundation of your raised garden bed onto the concrete or gravel. However it could hinder drainage. The less likely that this will be a problem, the deeper you build your beds,” says TV gardening expert. Joe Gardener.
What type of wood should be used to make raised beds?
Claudia de Yong explains that although most raised beds are made from timber, even the strongest woods like oak or cedar will rot over time if not treated.
All types of untreated wood need to be replaced. The type of wood used and the environment in which it is placed will determine how long your wood will last. Joe Gardener explains that wood that has not been treated can last several years in an area with a dry climate. Wood that has been treated in hot, humid areas will only last a few years.
It is recommended that any new timber be treated prior to installation and retreated at least once per year to prevent the spread of rot. Claudia adds that most timber will naturally fade. Claudia suggests using a stain, color or paint to prevent this.
It is important to ensure that your wood comes from sustainable sources, especially if you are interested on sustainable garden ideas.
(Image credit: Claudia de Yong)
Other options for raised garden bed materials
You can also use other materials to make a raised garden bed.
- Railroad ties – ‘Using railway sleepers – or railroad ties – to build raised garden beds is very popular, and they can be purchased new untreated, green, or “tanalised”Claudia explains that they can be used around the garden thanks to their safety features. She adds that old creosote railway sleepers should be avoided due to the nature the harmful chemicals used.
- Hard landscaping materials – Brick and stone can all be recycled to make a raised garden bed. Just be sure to consider drainage.
- Woven willow or honey – ‘this is a favourite in the traditional or country garden to edge raised beds for a more rustic look,’ says Claudia.
- Scaffolding planks – These planks are heavy and thick. You only need to place a post at each corner in order to support their strength. If you can’t get hold of scaffolding planks, you can ask a local sawmill to cut pieces of wood to the same proportions.
- Kits for raised garden beds pre-made – in addition to building a raised garden bed from scratch, there are many pre-made kits available, including both permanent features and moveable, modular options in a variety of shapes – which can be flexible and useful for small vegetable garden ideas. These kits are easy-to-assemble and can be made of a variety different materials, including steel or recycled plastic.
(Image credit to Future / Colin Poole
Is it necessary to line the bottom a raised garden bed?
To help reduce grass and weeds, you can line the base of a raised garden bed. ‘popping’You can lift your bed up by incorporating new soil.
Claudia De Yong explains that you can use old cardboard or landscaping fabric to line the base of the raised bed. You can also add drainage holes to the bottom of the new raised beds. To keep the soil away, you can also line the insides of the upstands using black plastic liner.
She says, “When building a raised garden on concrete, make sure there are adequate drainage holes. Fill the structure with a free draining mix to a depth not less than 23 in (60 cm).
(Image credit: Claudia de Yong Designs)
How deep should a raised garden be?
There is no set rule for how deep a raised garden bed should be. It will depend on what you plan to grow and where it will be placed.
“It is important that you recognize your reach without having to step on the soil. You should be able to reach the middle. Don’t make it hard for yourself stretching across the bed, which will inevitably hurt your arms and back,’ Claudia de Yong advises.
The beds should be approximately 4 feet (1.2m) in width. This is practical for easy access from the sides. If you’re building more than one raised bed make sure the path between them is wide enough for a wheelbarrow to pass.
Be sure to consider the height of your beds. ’12-18” (30-45cm) is ideal, but building raised beds even as low as 6” (15cm) can work and still be productive,’ says Joe Gardener.
If your bed is not as deep, you might consider including crops that have shallow roots, such a vegetable garden container.
“The higher the bed, more soil will be used. This will create a better environment. “heave”For the retaining walls. Claudia suggests that cross bars may be needed to prevent the walls bowing.
(Image credit: Future / Annaick Guitteny)
What plants to plant in a raised garden?
A raised garden bed can house almost any type of plant. However, certain plants will be more successful than others.
Evergreen shrubsWhen planted in raised gardens, you can make striking architectural features all year.
A cut flower gardenIt is best to grow roses in raised beds as you can plant more densely. A dahlia garden would look amazing in the late summer, sweetpeas require support.
Salads, Because they prefer well-drained soil, such leafy greens and lettuce are perfect for raised beds. Access to cut-and come-again varieties is also easier.
HerbsA useful and aromatic addition to your kitchen is planting them together in a raised garden.
Crops with long growing seasonFor raised beds, onions are a good choice because the soil warms faster than the ground, which extends the growing season.
Root vegetablesThey require rock-free soil to work well. You can net your crops more easily by using raised beds made with taller posts to protect them against pests.
Specific soil requirements for plantsRaised beds are ideal for them. Raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries all prefer acidic soil so you can add ericaceous organic compost to the bed.