RAISED GARDEN BEDS
Whether you’re growing delicious produce to fill your table or beautiful blooms to fill your yard, a raised garden bed is the perfect way to give your landscape the boost that your plants crave. Raised garden beds clean up your landscape and give your yard a little more visual interest and charm with their functionality. With this knockout combination of aesthetic and practicality, they could be the perfect fit for any garden - and they’re simple to bring home.
WHY HAVE A RAISED GARDEN BED
The step up in the looks department is easy to see with raised beds. They make your backyard landscape look cleaner, tidier, and more organized. They make for healthy plants that look their best, and they create a structured garden landscape you might otherwise miss out on with regular garden beds.
They can also help your plants stay healthier, which makes raised beds a practical solution as well. The raised bed will help to keep your plants safe from pests and disease, will offer great warmth to some of your plants that crave that extra heat at their roots in the summer, and they are much more manageable to weed and maintain. Also, you’re in complete control of the size and dimensions when you build, so you can tailor them to exactly your needs and the needs of what you’re growing. It’s like all of the benefits of container growing but scaled up to include more of your favorite plants.
HOW TO BUILD A RAISED GARDEN BED
It might seem simpler to just plant your edibles and annuals straight into the ground, but building a raised garden bed is straightforward and simple. You’ll also enjoy how much easier they make your gardening in the long run by making chores easier on the back with a lot less leaning over. Here’s how to build your own at home to reap the benefits:
Choose a spot for your garden bed. Consider the rest of your landscape and where it will complement your existing garden features, but also find a location that suits the needs of what you grow when it comes to lighting and shelter. Usually, you want somewhere that basks in some direct sunlight but is a little sheltered from winds.
Figure out how large you want your raised bed to be, and what dimensions. Then, measure out your area, placing markers so you know what your space is going to be.
Build your foundation. One way is to dig up your existing grass in the area you want your bed to be, and then building your bed on the cleared land. An easier method is to simply cover up your existing grass with newspaper or landscaping fabric and then simply build right on top.
Choose a way to fence in your raised bed. Many people opt for wood as it is easy to work with and traditional, but you can get creative and use other materials like rocks, bricks, cinder blocks, or metal.
Once you’ve built the perimeter, fill in your garden bed. What you want to grow might change what you fill the bed with, but sterile potting soil is often a good place to start, as it is multi-purpose, good for most plants, and doesn’t carry with it any pests or weeds from your existing soil. Avoiding using soil from the rest of your yard, which will invite pests and weeds into your raised bed.
Your raised bed is now ready to plant!
TIPS FOR RAISED GARDEN BEDS
Choosing your perimeter wood
If you choose to use a wood base for your perimeter, you’ll want to select something for safety, durability, and appearance. Pressure-treated woods are the practical choice, as they’ve been treated to ensure that they don’t rot even when in moist outdoor environments like your garden. These are labeled as safe for growing even organic foods, but some people choose to go for options with fewer chemicals. Woods like cedar and redwood have naturally occurring oils in them that make them last just as long as treated lumber. They may be more pricey, but your bed is sure to last for many years when built from these materials.
The perfect height
Raised beds are perfect for people that are tired of the backache of normal gardening at the ground level. Choose a height for your bed that is practical to fill in, but elevated enough to give your back a break when working! The added height will work great to get some extra heat to the roots of your plants, too. Consider using the side of your raised bed as a seat, or even making a seat between two raised beds with a plank of wood and a couple of stumps to help make working in your garden more fun and less painful. When you don’t have a backache to look forward to, you’ll be much more excited to get outside and work with your plants.
STRAW BALE GARDENING
Straw Bale Gardening is a type of elevated garden bed that is one of the easiest and lowest-maintenance ways to make a raised bed with fewer materials. Straw is easy to maintain, organic, and it’ll break down slowly into fertilizer for your plants. These beds are more temporary as they’ll break down in a year or two, but they take less commitment and labor in the meantime. If you like them, you can build another one to replace them without too much work. We love the rustic aesthetic of these more temporary raised beds.
Simply use rectangular wheat straw bales and treat them with a high-nitrogen fertilizer daily or every other day for a week, letting it soak into the bale with daily waterings. If you’re starting from seed, simply sprinkle some potting soil on top of the bale and seed normally. If you’re transplanting, make a small hole in the bale, plant your seedling, and fill in with potting soil. Your bales will do a great job of nourishing your plants while keeping weeds and pests away and looking like a perfect cottage garden. From small flower plots to garden plots full of vegetables, this is an alternative to raised beds that offers all of the advantages in a new and creative way.
Raised garden beds are a great way to take your gardening to the next level in more ways than one! They are beautiful, practical, and totally customizable to what you want to grow more of at home. You’ll love how much easier they make tending your garden and how stylish they look in your backyard. If you have questions about how to make these beds a reality in your home, we’re always thrilled to answer questions and get you started - ask us today!