Raised garden beds, or garden boxes as they are sometimes called, are a very popular way for homeowners and garden enthusiasts to create a small growing plot that can be used to grow flowers, shrubs, and even vegetables. If you want a raised garden bed you could simply buy a ready-made one from a garden center, however, that has its pitfalls.
The first is the cost which can be steep, especially if you wish to purchase a large one. Second, they will be manufactured in set sizes which may not always suit your garden and that may also be the case for the materials used and colors too.
The alternative is to build your own raised garden bed, and in this article, we are going to explain how you can do so including how to plan it, what materials you’ll need, the options you have, and obviously how to build it too.
Benefits of a Raised Garden Bed
Before we get into building your raised garden bed, for anyone who is unfamiliar with them, or unsure if they have any advantages, let’s take a look at some of their main benefits.
First, they are suitable for those who might have small gardens or have limited space, and it also follows that they are easier to organize and maintain. By using a raised garden bed, you also have complete control over the types of soil you use and can thus determine its quality and nutrient levels.
The scourge of most gardeners is weeds but, with a raised garden bed, weeds have a much tougher time becoming established thanks to the bed being further away from and raised above other weeds.
Finally, and for many, the biggest benefit of a raised garden bed is that with deeper rooting and better drainage, it allows for quicker and stronger growth of plants and flowers.
Planning Your Raised Garden Bed
The planning of a raised garden bed doesn’t just apply to it alone but also to your entire garden as you will need to determine how many you want and thus where they will all be positioned. This can be a problem for many who want a raised garden bed, to the extent that they give up before they even get started.
To solve this, it helps if you have a proper plan to work from which is why ‘Ideas 4 Landscaping’ can come to the rescue, thanks to it having over 7,000 different landscaping designs into which you can place your raised garden bed. You can find out more about it at Ideas 4 Landscaping.
As well as the design and layout of your garden, you will specifically need to take account of the types of plants you are going to grow in your raised garden bed. This is due to different plants needing varying exposure to sunlight which will have to be considered with regards to locating your raised garden bed.
Equipment and Materials Needed
It is hopefully obvious that if we were to list what was needed to build every conceivable type, shape, and size of raised garden bed, we would need to write a book rather than an article. For that reason, we are going to focus on a very basic type of raised garden bed, made from wood, and with dimensions of 8 feet by 4 feet.
The type of wood you use is up to your own preference, however, if you want a wood that is water-resistant then redwood and cedar are what you need. Another longer-lasting option is pressure treated lumber, but you need to check that it is deemed safe by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The downside of these materials is their high price so if you want woods that are more affordable then you could use pine, fir or hemlock.
So here is the list:
- Two wood panels: 8 feet x 12 inches x 2 inches
- Two wood panels: 4 feet x 12 inches x 2 inches
- 12 pieces of rebar measuring 2 feet each
- Newspaper or cardboard — enough to cover the base
- Soil of your choice
The only tool you will really need is a rubber mallet, and possibly a roller.
Instructions for Building a Raised Garden Bed
- Before you start building, you need to ensure that your raised garden bed is going to be located on a flat piece of ground. If necessary, use a roller to smooth out any raised bumps on the ground.
- Place the four wood lengths flat on the ground so they are touching at the four inner corners.
- Stand one of the long lengths of wood on its edge. Take two pieces of rebar and place each of them 12 inches from each end of the length. Using the rubber mallet, hammer each piece of rebar deep enough into the ground so that it is secure.
- Take each of the short lengths of wood panel and in turn and place one piece of rebar at the center of each one. Push the rebar pieces into the ground by hand so that they provide temporary support to these two short lengths.
- Stand the other long length up and adjust all the pieces so that they are all properly aligned. Once all aligned, take two pieces of rebar, and position them 12 inches from either end of the second long length, and hammer them into the ground to support it.
- For each short length position a piece of rebar 12 inches from each end and hammer them into the ground so that only 6 inches of the rebar is above the ground. You can then remove the temporary rebar supports.
- For each long length, add two more pieces of rebar 2 feet from the existing rebar supports. You should now hammer every rebar support so approximately 6 inches is showing above the ground.
- Finish by placing the newspaper or cardboard so that it covers the ground inside the raised bed and wet it completely. You can now add the soil.
You are at liberty to alter the sizes, the shape or even the materials to suit you to own needs. For ideas about how you can custom design your entire garden, you should check out Ideas 4 Landscaping. It has designs ranging from basic to professional, and they all have full instructions.