There are many ways to organize your yard effectively. Raised garden beds are affordable and do not require any special carpentry skills from you. In this article, we will talk about the benefits of this option and how to make a beautiful raised bed with your own hands.
Raised Bed Advantages
This method of organizing garden space is attractive for several reasons:
- It is suitable for any backyards but is especially good where there is not much room for large flower or vegetable beds.
- It is a great and inexpensive alternative to alpine (rock) gardens. So if you don’t have enough space and funds to organize it, consider building raised beds.
- It is not very labor-intensive. Unlike other ways of organizing territories, you do not need much experience or special skills.
- Such beds drain well, warm up well in the sun, and are less susceptible to soil erosion and compaction.
- With this method, you will have to kneel and bend less, which will protect your legs and back from unnecessary stress.
Considering the overall simplicity and compactness, you can place such beds in almost any place you need: near the house, along the paths, in the middle of your lawn, and even around mature trees.
Tools & Materials
To create raised beds, you need to get the following tools:
- circular saw;
- drill and bits;
- measuring tape;
- triangle square;
- spirit level.
If any of these instruments are not in your arsenal, professional reviews will help you find the right equipment.
Now let’s talk about materials. If desired, raised beds can be made from anything, for example, stone, concrete, bricks, and plastic. However, the most popular option is wood, so we will analyze this particular method in this manual. Avoid using lacquered or painted boards as they can release chemicals that harm plants. It is essential if you plan on growing edibles.
How to Make Raised Beds
When all the tools and materials are collected, you can start creating raised garden beds.
Step 1: Site selection
Although we wrote that you could create such flower beds wherever you want, you should, of course, think about which place is best for plants. Remember that they need to get enough sunlight, so the spot shouldn’t be in the shade. We also recommend avoiding areas where the wind blows too hard and the so-called “frost pockets.”
Take the necessary measurements and mark the length and width of your future flower bed. You can make it any size and height. The main thing is that you can easily reach the middle of it without stepping inside. Use strings to outline the area, and don’t forget about a spirit level to make even marks. You can dig up the picked area to loosen the soil and remove the grass or use the no-dig method and cover the area with a thick layer of cardboard to kill weeds.
Step 2: Sawing lumber
Transfer all measurements to sheets of wood and cut them. If you make a small raised bed, you may not need corner posts; however, they are better to use in most cases. They give stability and reliability to the entire structure. If desired, you can install such support not only in the corners but also along the walls. If they are high, you can make the posts a little longer and dig them into the ground when you set the whole construction up.
Step 3: Assembly
When your planks are ready, you can start assembling the bed. Clamp the boards together and drill holes for screws. Don’t make too many holes; two at each end of a panel will be enough. When assembling, make sure all planks are overlapped. Fasten the boards with long screws, and don’t forget about the corner posts, which should be inside the structure, not outside. Try to tighten screws so that there are no gaps between the parts.
At this stage, it is worth attaching a protective mesh to the bottom of the finished frame. We recommend using it, as it prevents rodents and other pests from getting inside, but earthworms can still crawl into the flower bed. If this factor is not so important to you, you can replace the mesh with dense landscaping cloth.
Also, if you use untreated wood, you may want to sheathe it with heavy-duty plastic in this step to protect it from decay. It will significantly extend the life of the finished product without harming edible plants.
Step 4: Installation
Make sure the ground you are setting the bed on is level. Remove clods and fill holes if necessary. We do not recommend placing flower beds on concrete and other hard surfaces, as they interfere with water drainage and root growth. You can make small indentations in the ground for the frame to be more stable. Place the raised bed in these slots.
Step 5: Filling the bed
You should pour some drainage material at the bottom of your flower bed, such as rubble or sand. The soil mixture should be laid on top of this layer. If you do the mix yourself, keep in mind that the mulch should be about 40% of the total, another 40% should be topsoil, and the remaining 20% should be aeration materials (rice hulls or perlite). In order not to rack your brains with calculations, purchase a ready-made mixture in a store.
After that, water the flower bed and let the soil settle a little. Then, add some more ground. Once about 2 inches is left to the frame edges, you can start planting. You can pick vegetables and berries or opt for ornamental plants. In this case, choose flowers with different flowering periods so that they delight you from spring to autumn. Try to place the brightest and tallest ones in the center, and put the smaller ones around.
Beautiful Garden Is in Your Hands
As you can see, creating raised garden beds is not a very difficult task that even a beginner can handle. The result is so great that your efforts are really worth it. Processing and caring for plants in such beds is no different from the usual method. So choose flowers, vegetables, and berries to your taste, and go ahead and organize your garden!