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Building Raised Beds

Category Raised Beds
There are a variety of reasons to build raised garden beds, from poor soil to creating a more orderly garden space. This is a guide about building raised beds.
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June 23, 20051 found this helpful

If your ground is solid rock, the best way to raise veggies is in a raised bed. My husband built a raised bed garden this year. The "blocks that hold the garden together are, believe it or not, Styrofoam. This was salvaged from boat docks a few years ago when they banned its use in the local lakes. Its insulating capacity, helps to keep the earth cool. The first picture was taken before the topsoil was added. The second picture, taken a few days ago, shows the results of our Mother's Day planting date.

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We are about to start picking squash and tomatoes... at least for fried green tomatoes. :)

By Harlean from Arkansas

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August 19, 2011

I love my raised beds. It helps keep different gardens separated and makes it easier to keep weeds out. They can be watered separately, depending on what you are growing in them. Herbs don't need as much water as vegetables. Tomatoes can be separated so they aren't taking sunlight from other vegetables.
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In the foreground bed (5.5ft x 5.5ft) is asparagus, parsley, jalapenos, yellow and green sweet peppers, carrots, radishes, lettuce and green beans. To the right is 3 tomato plants (4ft x 4ft). To the left (4ft x 4ft) is where I grew garlic (which is now harvested), dill and sorrel. In back of the 3 beds is my Herb area, also cucumbers and snap peas on trellises. The dill comes up from seeding itself every year. I pull out some. The rest I use for pickles and so the butterflies can munch on it. There are various flowers throughout.

By Melissa from Lincoln Park, MI

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November 20, 2008

We made a 30x20 foot garden in our back yard with plastic and cement blocks. You do not have to remove grass. Put down plastic or a thick layer of news papers, and place cement blocks on top around the edge of the space. Then, fill it with compost or manure. You have a garden without weeds or grass for years. Add more compost as needed every year. I get manure from Lowe's in 40 pound bags, I have a garden all the year, I also make flower beds the same way.

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By Kathleen from Dothan, AL

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November 21, 20080 found this helpful
Top Comment

Yes I have already posted the picture of my garden but here it is again, very easy & you have a garden for years. Thanks, Kathleen, Dothan, AL

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By 0 found this helpful
February 8, 2007

If you're short on space or the soil in your area is riddled by sand or clay, building raised beds may be the best solution to your gardening woes. You'll trade the time, money and effort required amending poor quality soil for maximum yields in a minimum amount of space.
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Small Spaces with Big Advantages

Once built, raised beds don't compact as easy as conventional garden beds so they are easy to work by hand and never require tilling. In the spring, they warm up more quickly than regular garden soil, which is a real advantage for cold climate gardeners. Pests can be spot treated and fertilizers applied only where you need them, saving time, money and resources. Beds built tall enough reduce attack and damage by moles, rabbits and other small animals. If your building beds from the ground up, you can experiment with soils and plants not normally suited to your soil.

Building Your Beds

Raised beds easily adapt to any site and can be constructed in any size or shape-triangles, rectangles-even arches. The most important consideration is to construct beds to a height and width comfortable for working. The taller the bed, the more materials and dirt you'll need to construct it. Construct the beds to a width that allows you to reach halfway across them from each side. Most people can easily reach across 3 feet so a six-foot bed works well.

Three Easy Options

There are several ways to construct raised beds, but before you begin, make sure to remove any weeds or sod from the site you select. It can be helpful to place a barrier like plastic landscape edging around the inside perimeter of the bed to prevent grass from encroaching in the future.

Mounding:

To create raised beds from already existing beds, simply loosen up the soil and heap compost and other organic matter on top. Rake it all together to create a mound. If your soil is poor add in some purchased topsoil and amend it as needed.

Tilling and Hilling:

Till up your garden site to a depth of 6-8 inches. Mark off areas designated for raised beds with rope or stakes, making sure to leave space for pathways. Now dig down the pathway areas and use that dirt to mound up the beds. If you live in a dry, windy climate, try creating sunken beds-beds dug down lower than the pathways. These beds will protect seedlings from wind and hold on to moisture more efficiently.

Bag 'O Soil Method:

This is a really fast and easy way to make raised beds. Purchase a large bag of topsoil (50lb bags work great) and lay it out flat and unopened in the area you've prepared for your beds. With a sharp knife or scissors, cut open and removed the topside of the plastic bag. Mix in a little compost and you have a ready-made bed for planting! Leave the bottom portion of the plastic bag in place to kill off any weeds. Punch a few holes in it for drainage, and simply remove it at the end of the season to prepare for next years crops. Easy!

Choosing Materials for Framing

Bricks, rocks and stone pavers all work well for framing raised beds. Wood works well, but will eventually rot. Cedar and redwood are naturally less resistant to rotting than most other wood and will hold up the longest. Pressure-treated or chemically treated woods are rot resistant, but should not be used around beds containing food crops because their arsenic based toxins may leach into the soil. Old railroad ties are also suitable, but newer ties may leach creosote, which is harmful to plants.

No matter what method you choose to build them, or the shape or materials you use to frame them, raised bed gardening offers you space and crop versatility in a minimal amount of space.

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April 28, 20171 found this helpful

There are many advantages to gardening in raised beds. Making your own can not only save you money, but allow you to tailor their size to suit your needs and available space. This is a guide about how to make square raised garden beds.

Square Foot Raised Garden Beds - Two Completed Garden Beds

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October 9, 20080 found this helpful

This idea is very old, my grandmother used to have straw bale gardens. It was great for her not to have to stoop over to pick and weed her garden.

Straw Bales For Gardening

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March 30, 20170 found this helpful

Raised garden beds do not have to be a complex job. There are many good ideas for building simple raised beds for your garden. This is a guide about directions for building simple raised beds.

Beautiful raised garden beds filled with plants.

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March 26, 20170 found this helpful

There are good reasons to create a raised garden bed, and concrete blocks can make it easy to build. This guide is about making raised beds with concrete blocks.

Raised Beds
With Concrete Blocks

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July 24, 20170 found this helpful

Raised beds can be constructed in a number of ways. Making a stacked stone bed or even one that is mortared together can be attractive as well as functional. This is a guide about raised beds made with rocks.

Raised Bed Made With Rocks

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July 10, 20170 found this helpful

Making a raised bed edge from various sized stones that you collect can be a thrifty, decorative, and functional garden feature. This is a guide about raised rock flower beds.

finished rock wall around flower bed

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March 16, 20170 found this helpful

Raised beds are usually made from wood, concrete or stone. You can use something as simple as a large cardboard box however, it will last likely only last one season. This is a guide about making raised beds using cardboard boxes.

Cardboard Box

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September 7, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about making a raised be vegetable garden. There are a number of ways you can create a very successful raised vegetable garden, whether you build with new materials or use recycled items.

Several raised garden beds full of lush plants

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By 0 found this helpful
January 16, 2012

In the summer of 2011, I had raised beds made to accommodate a wheelchair and my short arm width necessary to reach across to weed. They have landscape fabric to control weeds on the bottom, a layer of sod face down, then layers of newspaper and leaves that will decompose and on top, regular soil.

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July 2, 20101 found this helpful

Here is a raised bed that my husband put together this weekend. It is 4x10 feet and 20 inches high.

Raised Garden Bed

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
October 30, 2008

My husband and I are looking for a platform bed. Does anyone has a good suggestion? Where can we find a good deal on a good quality platform bed? Thanks.

Peggy from Mcallen, TX

Answers

By guest (Guest Post)
October 30, 20080 found this helpful

I have seen some cute ones on walmart.com. There are reviews so you can judge for yourself. I don't know if there is an ikea where you live but they also have them or ikea.com.

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November 2, 20080 found this helpful

Sometimes people just plain want to get RID of a frame for a water bed. They get tired of it, or the mattress leaks, or whatever....Free for just hauling it off.
You'd be surprised what people want to give away!!
And what people are asking for too.

Do you have "Free Cycle" in your town ?
(You can check the list and see if yours is there, then your state, Subscribe) Free Cycle is full of things that people don't want anymore. Just as it says, it's Free.And they are yours if you tell'em you want it, and agree to pick it up when they tell you to.
And of course, there is also "Craig's List." It isn't all Free tho. There is a category of " Wanted", you list what you want. People "talk" thru the Craig's List e-mail. And there is a "Free" category too.
But, a platform for your bed isn't a difficult thing to build. There is probably a How-To that you can Google,and find.

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By guest (Guest Post)
December 5, 20080 found this helpful

A VERY INEXPENSIVE PLATFORM BED
When I was still in grade school, my parents put their mattress on plywood that was laid on travel trunks. This may sound cheap, but they slept on it for years.

Mom like it because she was able to store things underneath the slipcovers. We used to play hide and go seek.

Dad did drill some holes in the board for air circulation. We lived in Japan, and the moisture gets so bad, you end up having to clean clothes that are in the closet. THINGS GROW MOLD.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 2, 20090 found this helpful

IKEA has some really nice ones for less than $300.

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April 26, 20090 found this helpful

We bought our bed from llbean.com, it comes in several flat pack boxes that are shipped FedEx. I put it together myself and have slept on it for over 3 years.

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June 25, 20100 found this helpful

Fake one like we did. I wanted one too but couldn't afford it. So we took 2x12's sanded, stained to match bedroom furniture, put the box spring on the floor and boxed it in. Mattress on top no headboard. Looks like the pretties you see in the magazines. I also wanted Asian furniture like the Mino collection which cost about 2500.00 for livingroom set. We made a couch,settee and two chairs for under 300.00 which included all materials. We reused our old cushions and I sewed covers for them. This stuff is stout and can withstand active children and all the cushion are removable to be washed.

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June 25, 20100 found this helpful

babbles5,
We'd love to see photos of the furniture you've crafted. :)
Marz

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By 0 found this helpful
January 4, 2011

I am looking for an economical way to edge my raised beds. I have a large garden and lumber is just way too expensive to do all of the beds. Any ideas?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

By Heidi from PA

Answers

January 7, 20110 found this helpful

Heidi, you could use old wooden pallets. I know at work, we gets lots of spare ones. We give them away to people for putting firewood on, temporary flooring, broken ones are ideal for firewood etc. Most businesses are pleased to get rid of them. They make good compost heap frames. Most are made of untreated wood, which is ideal. No chemicals leaching into plants. Best of all, free. I have heard of freecyle that may be another option. Many lumber yards also have offcuts and they will sometimes give them away or even packing crates are good, if companies import heavy items. Just a few ideas. brentnz

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January 11, 20110 found this helpful

I have used 8x8x16 cinder blocks as the edging for my raised beds. I do "nail" them down with rebar so they don't shift. If you get a sale, they aren't too expensive, or check around colleges when school gets out and pick 'em up for free when the students leave them behind.

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November 1, 20130 found this helpful

I have read how straw bales are used to build a raised garden. I was wondering if straw could be used to line the bottom of a wood build raised garden? I was thinking that the straw would decompose and provide nutrients for the soil as well as help to maintain moisture. Please help out.

By Faye B.

Answers

November 5, 20130 found this helpful

That would depend on what kind of straw you're using and what kind of plants you're going to put in. Pine straw (needles) are acidic. The straw that's left over from cutting hay is full of seeds. Also, as the straw breaks down the level of your soil will drop.

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October 24, 20110 found this helpful

Can you turn an old fridge into a raised veggie bed? I would need to put drainage holes in the back and lay it back on ground. What are potential hazards?

By Bec B

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October 25, 20110 found this helpful

Refrigerators are an environmental hazard that need to be specially disposed of, so turning one into a veggie bed isn't a good idea I'm afraid. Depending on the age of the fridge it might contain CFC's, mercury, and other baddies. Even newer ones have things you wouldn't want leaking into the soil. Better to see your fridge properly recycled. There are plenty of ways to make raised beds from reclaimed materials that would be a safer bet. Good luck with your garden!

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August 22, 20140 found this helpful

I would like to construct a raised bed garden on a hilly area. The best plan would look like 3 beds of 3 feet by 10 feet. Any suggestions? The is soil is poor and possibly rocky so I think just placing the boxes on top and filling with good soil is best. To avoid tons of soil I am thinking of raising the bottoms up on the lower box. I need advice on drainage too.

By Nancy

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By 0 found this helpful
April 9, 2007

Here is my raised garden.

By Ross from Merryville, Louisiana

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July 2, 2010

I upgraded my boxes this year, bigger and taller.

By Melissa

Photo of raised bed made with wood.

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Related Content
In This Guide
Gardening in Raised Beds
Gardening in Raised Beds
Categories
Home and Garden Gardening Raised BedsAugust 12, 2011
Guides
Several raised garden beds full of lush plants
Making a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden
Raised Bed Made With Rocks
Raised Beds Made With Rocks
Beautiful raised garden beds filled with plants.
Directions for Building Simple Raised Beds
Cardboard Box
Making Raised Garden Beds Using Cardboard Boxes
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