August 1, 2014

Building Tips: How To Build Your Raised Garden Bed Right!

Knowing how to build raised garden beds is a great way to allow your own creativity to make a truly unique piece, or series of pieces in your yard.

Once you know how to build raised garden beds, the only limits to your creation would be financial, space and your preferences or ability. It’s not hard to learn how, but you may need to experiment with a few different designs before you fall in love with one. Although raised garden beds are not necessarily permanent, you may not want to tear down and rebuild new ones each year, so experimenting with them before you fill them with new soil and plants is usually a good idea. Raised garden beds permit someone to grow organic, even if their yard or soil was contaminated previously.

For the purpose of simplicity, there will be a focus in this article on learning how to build raised garden beds from scratch, with the belief that most people could follow the very simple directions that are provided if someone is using the raised garden bed kits.

Start at the Beginning

raised garden beds sampleWhen building something, obviously the beginning is the ground level. That means, quite simply, that you will just need to take a moment to decide where in your yard you would like to build. This will also be a good time to decide what you will be growing, and how much of each item you would like to have. If you are new to gardening, you should make sure that the items you will be planting are going to be compatible with one another. If they are not, then you’ll know you need to build more than one raised garden bed and to plan accordingly. Determining how much sun your plants will need is a good idea, as well as verifying that your garden bed is small enough to lean over it, as opposed to stepping into it.

The first thing to do is “mark” where you plan to build. For this, you will need a weed barrier fabric and NOT, as many people use, black plastic. You can use fabric pins to secure it the ground. The goal with this step is to prevent weeds from sprouting up, which should last at least through the first year.

Conversely, you could also use newspaper or cardboard instead of weed barrier fabric for a similar result.

Building the Actual Raised Garden Bed

Click image for TONS of landscaping ideas!

The actual bed itself can be virtually any size and shape that you like, as long as it is convenient, attractive to you, and it meets your needs. By far, the most common shapes are either square or rectangle. Using 2×6 lumber is a good idea here and if you use wood, cedar or another wood that is resistant to rot, is crucial to long-term plans..

You have a lot of freedom to decide how you will be attaching the pieces. You can create small protuberances and notches that work together, or you could buy a butt joint at most hardware stores for the same purpose. You can put it together and then move it, or you can place it over the weed barrier as you put it together. Take a moment to use a level and make sure that your bed is level. If it’s not, you will have uneven amounts of water in your garden, which could impact what grows.

Anchoring the Frame

To anchor the frame, after you are pleased with its location, you can use garden stakes. If you are in an area that has a lot of wildlife or stray animals, you are likely to need the largest size of garden stakes. Between those stakes, attach adequate levels of deer fencing so that animals can’t snack on your crops.

Last Steps

When you are pleased with the overall appearance and quality of your raised garden bed, it is time to add the soil that you will be using. This soil should be the highest quality possible, and may include compost or manure. This is a personal decision, so you may want to research your different options before settling on one.

Finally, nestle your seeds into their new home, allowing room between plants for future growth. If you are planting more than one item in the raised bed, it would be appropriate to mark in some way what item is planted where.

Knowing how to build raised garden beds is an important step to having a beautiful yard that has the potential to save on groceries. The appearance alone of a well-tended and well-maintained garden bed has been known to improve property values. No-one could argue that a raised garden bed looks harder to build then it is actually is and allows the owner to take credit for their work quickly.

Now that you’ve got the basics down you’re ready to start with your own project – click here for our step by step guide to building a raised garden bed!

Don’t want to build your own? Check out this article on ready made kits!


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