I love Raised Bed Gardens. I have learned the hard way about how much easier they make gardening. After spending years trying to keep the grass from encroaching on my vegetables, I’m a huge fan of raised beds.
Since I’m spending so much time this spring building, filling and maintaining my beds, I thought I would share them with you.
Benefits of Raised Bed Gardens
Raised Beds make gardening much easier, versus just tilling up a patch of ground. They allow you to control key aspects of your gardening environment.
They give you control over the quality of your soil & water
Due to the fact that you need to fill your bed with dirt, you can fill it with good quality organic soil and compost.
Raised Beds are also easy to fit with drip or spot irrigation.
Raised Beds make it easier to keep weeds and grass out of your flowers and veggies
Since raised beds are above the surrounding grass area, it is easier to keep them weeded.
The higher the walls are of your raised beds, the easier it is to keep the grass out!
They can add structural interest to your landscape
Your imagination is the limit to height, structure and placement for visual interest in your landscape.
Raised beds can be made to be any height
If you don’t like to bend or kneel while you garden, make a raised bed that is at waist height. There are kits, like this one below, that make it super easy to garden your way.
Materials for Making Raised Bed Gardens
You are certainly not limited to the kits and plans available at your home center. While these kits and plans can make it easier to get started, you can let your imagination run wild.
- Use treated or naturally rot resistant wood such as cedar.
- Stone & Concrete
- The availability of stacking retaining wall stones makes it easy to plan out and build a raised bed.
- You’re not limited to pre-formed stones, however. You can take on a project of stacking natural stones available to you.
- If you’re skilled with concrete, you can also form and pour your own bed.
- Cinder blocks are also a fantastic choice for raised bed materials.
- Up-cycled & Recycled Goods
My Raised Beds
In this yard, I wanted the raised bed to be a focal point of the yard. Therefore, we created an open Half-Hex design. This garden changed nearly every year we had it. It was originally our vegetable garden, with marigold planted in the front parts. Then, when we built the beds you can see in the back, it became a mixture of perennials, with a large elderberry shrub in the back.
This flower bed is made out of the stacking stones for retaining walls. Their shape allows for easily making circles, ovals and other curves.
Raised Bed Garden Square
This is a fenced in Garden Square of Raised Beds. These shallow beds originally had weed barrier cloth in the bottom of them, with only 2″-4″ of soil on top. This is far too shallow for most plants to grow. Grass and weeds, however, thrived in them. The walkways do help keep the weeds and grass from creeping into the gardens. That being said, since this garden is in the country and surrounded by wild fields, you still have to keep up on the weed seeds that do blow in.
Upcoming Vegetable Garden
This is our current project. We pulled out the shallow raised bed that was in the center of the lawn. Then, we bought 12″ wide boards and built a bed next to the fence. There is a backer board next to the fence to keep the soil contained, as well as to protect the fence from rotting. Rather than have all the plants growing along the ground, we are going to try some vertical gardening. We will bring in some trellis material and plant beans, peas and cucumbers in the back where they can grow up. Then, we will have tomatoes and peppers in the front.
Raised Bed on Hillside
Last, but not least, is this bed built into the hillside. We have planted Raspberries in this bed. Raspberries spread via root growth, and can become very invasive. So, this bed is meant to keep the plants contained, without so much worry about keeping the grass out. We have also set up this bed with the means to have drip irrigation, since it is outside of our normal watering zone.
Raised Beds are a great way to simplify your gardening and provide structural interest to your yard. They also allow you to have the greatest control over your soil quality.