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Raised garden beds add a rich aesthetic to your garden while providing ease and convenience to your gardening. If you think raised beds aren’t your style, think again. With the growing trendiness of homegrown food, home gardeners have gotten creative with raised bed designs and styles. Raised beds aren’t only for vegetables, however; they also make beautiful flower beds.
From simple ground-level boxes to intricate waist-high garden boxes, there is a raised bed style for everyone. Many of the designs and aesthetics also bring an added charm to the look of your garden. The best part is, raised garden beds are easy to order online and even easier to build yourself. Read on to learn how to build one so you can add this highly practical and popular element to your yard, too.
Why a Raised Bed?
There are many reasons why gardeners choose to use raised garden beds. Aside from their good looks and convenience, here are some of our favorites:
Tending to raised garden beds is much easier on your back and knees. Say goodbye to bending and squatting and hello to easy pickings. Taller raised garden beds and garden boxes allow for waist-high gardening.
Soil control. Raised beds allow you to control exactly what soil you’re growing your beloved veggies, fruits, and flowers in. Fill your raised bed with the perfect combination of topsoil and compost for the perfect growing environment.
Weed control. It’s hard for weeds to creep in when your garden is a foot off the ground.
Pest control. Raised beds are great deterrents for all kinds of critters and furry annoyances that like to wander into your garden beds for a midnight snack. For very determined pests, add some mesh.
Space-saving. Raised beds are a great alternative for those who have less yard space for an in-ground garden or cannot dig down deep enough due to landscape or soil limitations.
Healthy veggies. Sometimes the fruits of our labor can get lost in leaves, grass, mulch, and dirt. Planting your vegetables higher off the ground will prevent rotting and loss of crop.
Now that we’ve convinced you that raised garden beds are for you, let’s see how to build them.
Choosing Your Materials
Raised garden beds are typically made of wood, though we’ve seen them also made from upcycled metal sheets and concrete blocks. Despite the wide range of creative options for raised bed materials, we’re going to talk about wooden raised beds. There is a lot of debate in the raised bed world about what material is best to use. Woods like cedar, oak, and redwood are more expensive, but they’re also rot-resistant and more durable than other types of wood. Although pressure-treated lumber is also rot-resistant, it’s not often preferred by organic gardeners, as it can leech chemicals into the soil. Pine and other woods will work, but you should expect to replace them every few years.
Many home shopping centers and online stores will have do-it-yourself raised bed kits for purchase. Alternatively, head to the local lumber yard to do it from scratch. Another option is to upcycle fallen trees or logs. No need to dig or saw — simply line the bed with the logs and fill with dirt. The rotting logs will also seep nutrients into the soil to feed your plants.
You may need some hardware to keep your raised beds together. Sometimes the types of metal screws, bolts, and joints you use will depend on the type of wood you’re working with. Be sure to choose hardware that is designed for use outdoors. Some DIY raised bed kits don’t require hardware and can simply be puzzle-pieced together. Instead of screws, you can also use rebar or another inexpensive metal reinforcement to support the sides of the raised bed.
To get started, choose the perfect spot in your yard. Unless you are growing a shade garden, make sure that this spot receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. Next, determine how much space you’ll need. This has everything to do with what you plan to grow. It always helps to draw out a garden design to get a better idea of the space requirements. Then, do some rough calculations to determine how much lumber you will need.
Now it’s time to source your materials! For a basic 4’ x 8’ raised bed, you will need two pieces of lumber that are 4’ long and 10” to 14” wide. For the length, you will need two pieces of lumber that are 8’ long and 10” to 14” wide. You can use 1’ strips of rebar hammered into the ground to hold the pieces in place or use some outdoor quality screws and brackets to hold the bed together. Fill with top-notch soil and voila! Your simple homemade raised bed is complete. For higher raised beds or more intricate designs, be sure to look up the many designs available for free on the internet to inspire your DIY raised bed project.
Because raised beds warm up sooner in the spring and stay warm for longer in the fall, midsummer is still a great time to plant! Fill your new garden bed with soil and plant some fall-friendly seeds, such as lettuce or carrots. You can also plant fall-friendly crops such as broccoli and kale from transplants to get a bountiful harvest before the first snow. Raised bed gardening is all the rage, so jump on board, build your raised beds, and enjoy the convenience and aesthetic of raised bed gardening for years to come.
Get Inspired with These Raised Garden Bed Plans
While do-it-yourself projects can be fun and fulfilling, there is always a potential for personal injury or property damage. We strongly suggest that any project beyond your abilities be left to licensed professionals such as electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. Any action you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk, and we assume no responsibility or liability for the contents of this article.