Elevated raised garden beds DIY

Contents

The 5 Best Veggies to Grow in a Raised Bed

There’s little in life that’s more satisfying than the crunch of fresh veggies grown right outside your door! Whether you’re a gardening newbie or have a seasoned green thumb, raised beds are a great way to make that happen.

These simple structures offer some serious advantages: For starters, the soil can be catered to your needs, as you will be filling your beds rather than using what’s already available. This dirt is also then protected by walls, meaning it’s never stepped on and compacted and therefore drains excess water easily. Lastly, the soil in these beds warms more quickly in the spring, giving you a longer growing season.

On board? Now you just have to decide what to grow!

Raised beds are wonderful for growing almost anything, but there are some real stars that rise above the rest.

1. Root vegetables

When you’re growing plants for their roots, it’s important to have complete control over the soil. Raised beds can be filled with the perfect soil to suit your needs; free of rocks, clay and debris that could hinder the growth of roots or cause misshapen veggies. Carrots, beets, radishes and parsnips flourish in the loose, rock-free soil where they have space to spread out.

2. Leafy greens

Greens such as lettuce, spinach and kale perform marvelously in raised beds. These cool-weather crops need to be planted just as soon as you can get a trowel into your soil. The fact that soil in raised beds warms more quickly than the ground means you can get started earlier and get several great harvests before summer hits. Leafy greens also despise soggy roots, so your bed’s fast draining soil means your lovely lettuces will never have to stand in the water for too long.

3. Onions

There are three reasons that onions are the perfect vegetable to grow in raised beds: They love quick-draining soil, they need plenty of organic matter, and they require a long growing season. By nature, the soil in raised beds can be catered to your needs, so if you know you’ll be planting onions in the bed, you can be sure to incorporate plenty of compost. Onions grown from seeds can take over 100 days to reach maturity. If you live anywhere with four seasons, you’ll want to give these babies the longest time in the garden you can manage. The warmer soil in a raised bed gives your onions a head start!

4. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are heavy feeders that need nutrient-dense soil to thrive. So as with onions, you’ll want to customize this soil to have extra compost. The only downside to growing tomatoes in raised beds is it’s harder for tomato cages and stakes to stand up in the loose soil.

5. Potatoes

Potatoes not only grow well in a raised bed, they are also much easier to harvest this way. These plants benefit from hilling soil around the shoots as they grow. In a raised bed you can easily contain your hills, and even create a bed that you can add to as your plants grow. Potatoes need loose, loamy soil that drains well. They grow best when they are able to easily spread out in the soil, and this loose soil will keep them from rotting. Potato crops grown in raised beds tend to have higher yields with bigger tubers.

These are just some of the crops that will grow well in a raised bed. While these are the crops that will grow most easily, with careful planning you can also have success with growing vining crops vertically on trellises. Now that you know what your raised bed is capable of, get out there and get your hands in the dirt!

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Table of Contents

Are you figuring out what to plant in your raised garden beds?

The really nice thing about garden planning with raised garden beds is that you know your exact growing area. Another bonus about garden planning with raised beds is that many of the free garden planner apps use raised beds as examples of what you can grow.

There are many plants for raised garden beds, from vegetables to flowers and herbs

This post will cover:

  • How to choose plants for your garden beds
  • Tips on increasing yield from your raised garden beds
  • Visual design examples of a spring, summer and fall/winter raised garden beds with detailed crop lists

Figuring out what plants to grow in your raised garden beds will depend on what you like to eat

I created a printable food garden planting guide which has a questionnaire complete with garden planning cheat sheets and tables and charts for garden planning.

In general deep roots are great for raised beds because the soil tends to be looser and deeper allowing for better growth.

This does depend on the depth of your raised beds though, depending on your raised garden bed design (see lots of raised bed ideas here).

Larger plants like corn, pumpkins and winter squash can be grown in raised beds but remember they tend to take up a lot of space. If you are growing pumpkins or squash you can save space by planting them on the ends and allowing them to spread outwards from the bed instead of taking over the whole thing.

I’m a big fan of trying to get the most from your garden (which is why I wrote this book) so when planning your raised beds think about these things:

  • Can you grow crops before or after your main season ones? These are called pre or post crops (sometimes bumper crops) and simply means if you wanted to grow tomatoes in your raised garden beds, could you grow a quick crop of radishes or baby greens before transplanting your tomatoes?
  • Can you grow upwards to increase space? I love adding bamboo poles and creating a tunnel trellis in-between raised garden beds to add vertical growing space.
  • Can you practice interplanting or underplanting? This means growing crops either under your taller ones or around them. I wrote about and shared some visual examples for interplanting here
  • Can you maximize your garden in other ways? Growing in blocks versus rows for short crops like baby greens increases garden yields. Read garden planning like a rockstar or check out my garden planning book.

Now let’s see some visual raised garden bed examples for spring, summer & fall

Plants you can grow in raised garden beds throughout the season

This 3 season garden design example is to give you an idea of what you could grow in the spring, summer and fall. Depending on your temperatures and snowfall your fall garden could even extend into winter.

Spring

Spring gardening tips

If some of your spring garden beds are ‘pre-crops‘ to your summer crops, you will still need to make space within a couple of months for the main season crops. The best thing to do is pull up a few plants, transplant or direct seed your warm season crops, then leave the rest of your spring crops until the summer crops need more root space and/or they’ve bolted (gone to seed with the heat).

Summer

TIP

Make sure you amend your garden beds with more compost or fertilizer before sowing your fall crops as your summer crops will of used up a lot of the soil nutrients.

Fall

You might need to use season extenders like hoop tunnels, or polytunel over larger raised garden beds in the fall as heavy frosts will affect your cool season crops. The lettuce, mustards & radishes will be more susceptible to frost damage; the arugula, spinach and kale can handle more frosts and even a little snow. It really depends on the variety too, be sure to select better cold resistance when choosing your seeds for fall and winter gardening.

More tips on planting a winter garden:

  • Crops for frosts and snow
  • Winter garden plans + planting schedule
  • Ultimate guide to fall gardening
  • How to grow year-round

My name is Isis Loran, creator of the Family Food Garden. I’ve been gardening for over 10 years now and push the limits of our zone 5 climates. I love growing heirlooms & experimenting with hundreds of varieties, season extending, crunchy homesteading and permaculture.

Raised Bed Gardens

How to lay out and build raised beds for growing delicious vegetables at home

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Kevin Lee Jacobs’ kitchen garden features 12 raised beds built with hemlock and pine.

Raised bed gardens are one of the most productive ways to grow your own food. They give you better control over the soil conditions and allow for quick and easy harvesting of your crops. Raised beds can be simple or quite elaborate depending on your needs and the overall aesthetic you wish to create. Use the information below to determine what type of raised beds you would like in your own garden.

HOW TO BUILD A RAISED BED

Building raised beds is an excellent DIY project for those wanting to grow their own food. You’ll just need a few tools and some hard workers. See a step-by-step slideshow of one of our columnists creating a raised bed garden.

  1. Pick the perfect spot

  • Full sun is an absolute must for growing vegetables.
  • Level ground will make installation a breeze.
  • Tuck veggie beds away so they don’t detract from the rest of your garden when out of season.

  • Choose the material for your raised bed

    • Untreated rot-resistant wood is the most popular choice.
    • Avoid railroad ties because they are treated with creosote, which will leak toxins into the soil.
    • Here are some of our favorite options:

    Photo by: Susan Seubert.

    Stacked Stone.

    These raised beds, shown at the height of the growing season, are made from stacked stone. Some gardeners prefer stone to wood for their beds because there is less maintenance. Others chose stone because they love the way it looks. The only downside is that the upfront investment is typically more with stone.
    See more of this garden: Portland Garden by a Dream Team of Eco-Friendly Designers

    Photo by: Marion Brenner.

    Recycled Redwood.

    These eco-conscious raised beds hold eggplant, squash, tomato, and herb plants. Redwood is a good choice for planters like these because it is more resistant to rot than most types of wood. In fact, this wood has held up so well that it has found a second life in this application. A small shaded table provides an idyllic spot to sample produce at its freshest-straight from the garden.
    See more: Eat, Play, Lounge

    Photo by: Tim Gainey/Gap Photos LTD.

    Woven Wattle.

    Nothing is ordinary about these raised beds. First, they veer from the norm with their circular shape. Second, they are made of twigs woven together in a basket-like fashion. To complete the look, handmade tepee trellises add vertical support for climbers.
    Learn more: Arbors, Trellises, and the Edible Garden

    Photo by: Gemma & Andrew Ingalls.

    Redwood Box.

    If you’d like to grow veggies on your deck or patio, try a redwood planter box like this one. Much like raised beds, self-contained planters, offer better soil control and easier harvesting, plus they can be moved around if necessary.
    See more of this garden: The Path Less Taken: A Silver Lake Garden

  • Determine bed size and layout

    • Don’t make your beds wider than 4 feet, this way you can easily reach to the center.
    • The ideal depth is between 12 and 24 inches.
    • Leave at least an 18-inch path between beds, more if you want wheelbarrow access.

    DIY: Raised Bed Patio Planter

  • Build your raised beds

    • Wooden beds can be easily secured together at the corners with galvanized screws (corner posts are optional) or use planter wall blocks for the corners and joints.
    • Stone or block beds can be installed with or without mortar.
    • Want instant gratification? Try galvanized stock tanks or prefab raised beds that go together in no time.
  • Line the bottom of your beds

    • Corrugated cardboard or newspaper will prevent weeds or grass from growing up through your raised bed.
  • Fill your raised beds with soil

    • A great soil recipe for raised beds is 1 part top soil, 1 part composted manure and 1 part sand.
    • Bagged soils can also be used.
  • Plant your veggies

    • Digging will be easy in the soft dirt and your back will thank you come harvest time.
    • If you have more than one bed, rotate your crops each year.

    HOW DO YOU WATER RAISED BEDS?

    The best way to know when it is time to water is to feel the soil. You want it to feel slightly moist, like a towel that’s been wrung out. Vegetables don’t like their soil to be too dry or too wet, so find the right balance. You’ll have more success watering in the morning so that the soil has all day to dry out.

    Hand watering.

    Although it can be time-consuming, many gardeners prefer to water their raised beds by hand because they like being in the garden and use this time to check in on their plants. In fact, you may even find the process therapeutic! Some people prefer using a watering can because they don’t have to worry about hose problems, such as kinks, and plant damage. However, watering cans can be heavy and you may have to make many trips back to your water source. A watering wand attached to a hose is a nice alternative that will speed you up and easily get water to all the plants in your beds.

    Automatic irrigation.

    For those that don’t have the time to water their raised beds daily, soaker hoses or drip irrigation are good options. Soaker hoses, which slowly seep water into the soil, can be laid throughout your beds to provide consistent water to all your vegetables. Drip irrigation features small emitters that deliver water at the perfect rate directly to each plant’s root zone. Both options can be set up to run on a timer so you don’t have to lift a finger. Check out this video from Garden Answer: How to Install a Drip System in Raised Beds.

    Also, see Irrigation for Your Garden for more on garden watering.

    Related Reading

    My Garden: Vegetables in New ZealandA compact garden of raised beds near the beach in New Zealand produces “six packs” of vegetables all year round for this couple, a pair of fine art photographers.Gardening Advice: Raised Vegetable BedsA reader’s question about designing and building raised beds is answered with tips for creating the ideal raised bed.Growing Potatoes in Raised BedsLearn how to plant and grow a bountiful potato harvest in raised beds.

    Design Ideas for Raised Vegetable Gardens

    How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

    The wood to use for a raised bed is your decision. Here are some options:

    Cedar and redwood are naturally water-resistant but can be expensive and hard to find. Hemlock, fir and pine are suitable materials for raised beds but aren’t very long-lasting.

    Pressure treated lumber is an option. Pressure treated lumber has been a controversial topic for many years. The purpose for chemical pressure treatment is to protect wood from rot, decay and wood-ingesting insects. Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) was the most controversial treatment and was banned for consumer use by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2003. Current treatments such as alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ) are deemed low-risk by the EPA and designated safe for use around humans, pets, plants and vegetables. Creosote-treated wood is not a good option for vegetable raised beds.

    Compared to untreated wood, pressure treated lumber lasts longer and is available at a comparable cost. Some types are specifically treated for ground contact. But keep in mind that even water-based treatments such as ACQ contain the fungicide and pesticide necessary to make it effective. Here are some practices that may address concerns about using it in raised beds.

    • Let the wood dry before use. It can take six months or longer for treated lumber to dry. You can then use as-is or paint or seal it.
    • Line the interior sides of the bed with sheet plastic or pond liner.
    • Plant edibles nearer the center of the bed, a few inches away from the wood.

    Follow these guidelines and safety precautions anytime you use pressure treated lumber:

    Guidelines

    • Use fasteners and hardware labeled for treated lumber — stainless-steel or hot-dipped, galvanized screws.
    • Butt lumber tightly. Pressure treated wood shrinks as it dries.
    • Drill pilot holes to prevent splitting when nailing or screwing boards.
    • Use wood rated for ground contact when necessary for the project.

    Safety

    • Wear gloves, a dust mask and eye protection when handling or cutting wood.
    • Wash your hands after working with treated wood.
    • Dispose of sawdust and waste according to local regulations.
    • Don’t burn pressure treated wood.
    • Don’t use pressure treated wood as mulch.

    Read more about pressure treated lumber and wood preservatives on the EPA website: Overview of Wood Preservative Chemicals.

    How to build a raised vege garden

    Instructions

    If you want to grow the biggest, healthiest, fastest-growing veges, build yourself a raised vege garden. Because everything’s contained you can fill your raised garden up with all the very best soil, compost, mulch, and fertiliser. Then, just plant your veges and stand back.

    Overview

    • Decide on a location
    • Work out what size you’d like it to be
    • Decide on what kind of timber you will use (make sure it’s rot resistant)
    • Prep your site by skimming off any grass and vegetation
    • Get your bottom four planks in place and nail or screw together (process will vary depending on timber used)
    • Put the top planks on and skew-nail the top planks to bottom planks in each corner.
    • For extra stability you can drive a wooden peg into each inside corner and nail it in place
    • Add layers of newspaper, green waste, potting mix, compost and vege mix

    Location

    If you’re thinking about building a raised vege garden, the first step is deciding where it’s going to go. Veges like a nice balance. A bit of shelter, a bit of shade and decent amount of sun so try to find a spot where they’ll get at least 5 hours of sun a day. A reasonably level site is a good idea as well, and since it’s a fresh food garden try not to have it too far from the kitchen.

    What Size Timber

    Once you know where the garden’s going, work out what size you’d like it to be. You can go any size and shape but 2.1 x 1.8 metres is pretty common, partly because you’re dealing with standard lengths of timber but also because anything wider than 1.8 metres makes it a bit of a stretch to reach the plants in the middle of the garden. On a garden this size, good, solid, 200x50mm planks will ensure the garden holds it shape and two plankseach side will give you a comfortable 400mm working height. A popular alternative to the 200x50mm planks are the big, 200x100mm macrocarpa timbers we use on the Mitre 10 Easy As online video. At 200x100mm, ‘sleeper’ is probably a more accurate description than plank, and while they cost more and don’t make a better raised garden, they do create a great look. Like the smaller planks, they’re also available in the 2.1m and 1.8m lengths. A general rule-of-thumb is that two, well managed, 2.1 x 1.8 metre gardens is just about right for a family of four.

    What Kind Of Timber

    There’s ongoing debate about what timber you should use to build a raised garden. An untreated hardwood like macrocarpa is rot resistant and looks great, but you pay a premium for it. H4 treated pine is popular because it’s economical and you can buy it anywhere. And because it’s treated, it won’t rot either. The debate is around whether the timber treatment chemicals will leach into the soil you’re growing your veges in. If you’re not comfortable with treated timber you can staple polythene sheet around the inside of the planks as a barrier between the timber and soil. Just remember that good drainage is important for a raised garden so don’t run the polythene sheet over the bottom of the garden.

    Site Preparation

    This is pretty simple. Once you’ve decided where your raised garden will go and what size it’s going to be, mark it out, grab your spade, and skim off any grass and vegetation. You don’t need to take a lot. 20mm should get you down to bare dirt but you might find you’ll need to take a little more off in places to get your planks sitting even and level.

    Planting on raised garden beds brings many benefits compared to planting on the ground. But the most crucial one is you can grow a garden even in a contamined soil area.

    Also, if you have back problems, raised beds can be the perfect solution.

    But there’s one disadvantage: you have to build the bed before you can start your garden. While garden beds are simple construction, it’s still an extra work.

    So, to make your work easier, we’ve collected 59 raised garden bed plans that you can easily build. If you need some ideas or instructions, this list will definitely be helpful.

    How to Build Your Raised Garden Beds (the Right Way)

    Although raised garden beds are not a permanent construction, you definitely don’t want to move or replace it once you set them on the ground. Especially after you’ve added soil and plants.

    That’s why before you start building, there are four things to consider:

    1. Plan where you want to place the beds. Normally, you’d want the area with the most sun. Unless you’re going to plant plants that need shade.
    2. Plan how many beds you’re going to need. One big bed is more cost-effective than several smaller beds. But depending on what you’re going to plant, smaller beds might be a better idea. It’s best to group similar plants and ‘best companions’ in one bed.
    3. Plan the size of your bed. Don’t build a bed bigger than three feet wide; it’s harder to manage. However, it can be as long as you want it to be. If you’re planting smaller plants like herbs, you might not need big beds.
    4. Plan the material you’re using. Most people use woods; they’re cheaper, durable, and light. For even cheaper material, you can use recycled wood from pallets. But if you need a more permanent solution, you can use concrete.

    Now, let’s begin with the free raised garden bed plans.

    59 Free DIY Raised Garden Bed Plans:

    1. Two Tier Garden Bed

    This raised garden bed has a very unique style. It is actually two-tier. Meaning it has a stair-step appearance.

    The really cool thing about this design is that you can plant on both levels. So if you have something you want to plant that might be taller then plant them on the bottom tier.

    Then you can plant smaller plants or flowers on the second tier, and they will still be visible and get lots of sunlight.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    2. The No-Frills Garden Bed

    So maybe you aren’t looking for a unique design. Maybe you just want something that will keep your plants organized and looking sharp but will also be easy to build.

    Well, look no further. This garden bed is a basic square with basic building instructions. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

    So if you are new to carpentry this might be a good entry level raised garden bed project for you. And it will still add a nice look for your yard, too.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    3. Simple Cedar Garden Boxes

    If you have a fenced yard, these boxes will look great against it. This is actually one of my favorite traditional raised garden beds. The reason is that they are two boards high which means gardening in them is much easier on your back.

    But I also love the clean look of it all. And the cedar wood isn’t too bad either. So if you are looking for an organized way to plant your flowers or vegetables, add these beauties to your backyard. They will certainly make your yard pop.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    4. Landscaping Timbers Raised Garden Beds

    So have I ever mentioned that I have a ‘thing’ for landscaping timbers? Well, I do. They are usually inexpensive and have a way of adding organization and simple beauty to an area that was once chaotic and well, unattractive.

    Why should the results for your garden beds be any different? You stack these beauties together and once again, you have an organized space for whatever vegetable or flower you wish to grow in that area.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    5. Raised Bed With Benches

    These are really sharp looking raised garden beds. Beyond the beauty that the wood brings to the picture let’s just talk about the functionality of these raised beds.

    First, they are pretty tall. This equates to less bending and a happier, less stressed back. But then, they also have benches which means you have areas to hold your necessary equipment or even a place to sit while you work in your flowers.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    6. Fenced Garden Bed

    Do you have pesky vegetable predators around your house? Oh, me too! We have rabbits and squirrels everywhere. All come with the territory when you live in the middle of the woods, right?

    Well, if you have that problem then this garden bed just might be for you. It is three boards high which is great for the ease of working in your garden. But it also has a fence that goes around your garden bed. This might help keep your unwanted visitors out of what you have planted.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    7. DIY Garden Enclosure

    Okay, don’t let the picture confuse you. What you have here are three raised beds and a standing spot. All of which is enclosed by netting and a door.

    This is great news for your flowers and plants because the enclosure means that they have less of the chance of being disturbed by any unwanted visitors. So there again, if you have a pest problem then you might want to consider giving this enclosure a go.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    8. Garden Enclosure

    Here is another garden enclosure. Isn’t it gorgeous? It gives your plants and flowers a safe place to grow and adds a bit of rustic charm being built from gorgeous wood.

    I also love how it appears large enough to grow a small variety of what you might desire in your backyard. So if you have certain plants that pests go out of their way to go after this might be a safe place to grow them successfully.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    9. Raised Bed Planter Stand

    This is a unique idea if you want to grow something fresh or pretty and place it in a smaller area. I could see this working wonderfully on my front porch. What a unique way to display your flowers without having them low to the ground.

    Another great idea is if you are an apartment homesteader. This would be a great addition that could easily fit out on a balcony and grow a lot of fresh herbs and vegetables.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    10. Raised Bed With Legs

    I really like this idea for a raised garden bed. Again, let’s say you live in an apartment or want to grow something in a smaller space. This raised garden bed allows you to do just that.

    Even more so, it is also portable. So if you don’t like the idea of something be so permanent then you don’t have to worry about that in this case. If you decide you want it somewhere else from year to year you just have to move it.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    11. DIY Raised Garden Beds

    I really like these raised garden beds. They are absolutely gorgeous. What I love even more is that they appear to be very easy to construct. I say that because the lady who wrote this post had never built raised garden beds before, and she made these beds look gorgeous.

    So if you are a newbie to building garden beds, this might be a good tutorial for you. Her list of instructions are very easy to read and so is her materials list. You might find yourself having these beds built in no time.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    12. Puppy Proof Garden Beds

    Do you have a dog that likes to dig? Especially in your garden beds? Yes, me too. I can feel your pain. My dog seems to think that if it is planted in one of the beds then it is her duty to dig it all up. I mean, how else is she supposed to sunbathe and roll in the dirt if those pesky plants stay in her way?

    So if you find yourself in this boat then these garden beds might be able to help you. They are taller so they make it difficult for most dogs to dig through them. I’d say you’d be pretty safe unless you are like me have very agile dogs that would find jumping on top of these things their daily entertainment.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    13. Elevated Garden Bed

    This is a larger version of our garden bed with legs. It is basically a large box with legs under it. This is a great design because it does make it difficult for pests to find their way into your plants this way.

    It is also a great design because think of how much easier it is going to be to plant, weed, and harvest when you don’t have to bend over. Considering my mornings during the summer are filled with pulling lots of weeds and ends with an aching back, this is making this elevated garden bed look all the better to me.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    14. The Inexpensive Raised Garden Bed

    I really like this garden bed and the tutorial. Why? Because it is not only beautiful, but she also offers tips on how to make it more budget-friendly.

    So if you are looking for a way to add subtle beauty to your backyard while also growing lots of plants then this is a great project to take on.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    15. Garden Pyramid

    This is a very unique design. I love the pyramid shape and how you can simply walk around it in order to maintain your plants or flowers.

    I also love the fact that it is vertical. What makes that so great is that it can be added to a porch or balcony and grow a large quantity of any plant because of its design.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    16. The Square Foot Garden Bed

    This garden bed is truly unique. Imagine with me for a moment, that you don’t want an extremely large garden. You just need a small space to grow a few vegetables that you enjoy during the warmer months.

    Well, if that is you then this garden bed is right up your alley. It is a raised bed that has a frame laid over it that delegates out certain spots for certain vegetables. It is a great way to organize a small garden.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    17. DIY Tiered Herb Garden

    This herb garden is gorgeous. Again, it is a very decorative way to grow herbs that you will use just without creating an eyesore or taking up much space.

    The herb garden would be a great addition to a front porch or even a back patio. It would give a fresh look to any sitting area and also be a convenient place which adds ease to taking care of them.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    18. Hoop Garden Bed

    This raised garden bed has an added feature that makes it extremely cool. So you plant your seeds or plants but then a frost hits. What do you do then?

    Well, if you have this awesome garden bed, the answer is to simply drop the lid. This lid will protect your plants from frost while also giving you the opportunity to plant a little earlier or grow a little later in the season.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    19. Tire Garden Beds

    If you are on a budget or just like the look of unique things then this garden bed might be for you. It is often easy to find old tractor tires for little or no money.

    Well, all you have to do is lay the tires out and fill them with dirt. Then plant your seedlings or seeds and you have your very own raised garden beds.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    20. Curved Raised Beds

    If you are someone that likes to add a little flair to your design then you might like this raised garden bed option.

    They place multiple beds together to create a ‘U’ shape. It offers a really neat design while also keeping a lot of your plants closer together which makes caring for them a little easier.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    21. The Ultimate Garden Bed

    This garden bed tutorial has you covered. If you are new to building garden beds or growing plants they walk you through each necessary step.

    The design of this garden bed is a basic one, but they also show you how to add a protective cover for frost or birds which is always handy to help give your crop a fighting chance.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    22. Planter Box

    This is a basic but gorgeous design for a planter box. They placed their box right up against their fence. It is a good height which makes caring for your plants a little easier for you.

    After building the basic structure, it just has to be filled with dirt and plant the plants you desire. It is an easy and beautiful way to add a little touch of color and life to your backyard.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    23. Pallet Planter

    So you already know if there is something that can be built, there is probably a way to build it out of a pallet. I, of course, am a fan of stuff built out of pallets because it is a sturdy, inexpensive material that is pretty easy to access.

    This planter is higher off of the ground which makes using it easier. But it also has a great rustic look that adds a little extra charm to the yard it is in.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    24. Herb Planter

    I love herb planters. They look gorgeous and can brighten up any area they are in. I especially love this one with the unique table legs that accompany the elevated bed.

    Another benefit of having herbs in an elevated bed is the elevation. It makes working in your herbs fun and no longer backbreaking work.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    25. Raised Garden Bed Benches

    Would you like to add raised garden beds to your yard while also adding some extra sitting space? If so, this design is for you. Imagine sitting in your yard being fully surrounded by gorgeous flowers and plants.

    Not to mention, when it came time to weed or harvest you could literally sit down while you work. That certainly makes for a more leisurely and enjoyable experience.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    26. Balcony Sized Raised Garden Bed

    This person took an old wine box and converted it into a raised garden bed. It was a perfect size to fit on her balcony as she likes to grow things and lives in an apartment. Don’t ever think that lack of space can stop you from growing your favorite foods or flowers.

    So if you are in a smaller space, look for a box of any kind and see if you can convert it into a balcony sized garden bed.

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    27. Cement Block Raised Garden Beds

    These had to be mentioned. I love these raised garden beds because these are what fill my fenced in backyard.

    We actually chose to go with these garden beds because they are inexpensive and easy to put together. You basically lay them down where you want them and fill them up. And I enjoy the look of them as well.

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    28. Natural Wood Garden Bed

    Have you recently done a project that required clearing some land? And now you have a ton of extra twigs and limbs left over? Well, don’t burn them or throw them away.

    Why? Because with a little framing, you can actually use those limbs to create a natural planting box. It is very unique and costs basically nothing to make. That is obviously an added bonus to this project.

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    29. Dresser Herb Garden

    I love upcycling. It is so interesting to see all of the different ways you can reuse an item that is no longer being used for its original purpose.

    Well, this herb garden is no different. They just pulled out the dresser drawers and added dirt. Then planted herbs in them. It offers a very unique look but is really neat too.

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    30. Raised Garden Beds For Vegetables

    This tutorial is all about creating inexpensive raised garden beds to help your family grow more of your own food. Growing your own food is an important part of living a more self-sustained lifestyle and saving money.

    So creating your own garden beds that add a beautiful touch is really just an investment that will hopefully save you quite a few dollars down the road.

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    31. DIY Timber Raised Beds

    I really like this DIY tutorial. They lay everything out for you all nice and neat. The materials list is very easy to follow and so are the steps to building this creation.

    Ultimately, I like the look of these DIY garden beds. They have a rustic feel while also providing a nice touch of elegance to any yard.

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    32. Elevated Raised Garden Bed

    This is a smaller elevated raised garden bed. It would be good for planting a small garden or even using for herbs.

    What I like the most about elevated garden beds is the ease in using them. If you’ve ever grown a large garden then you know why ease is such a great thing if gardening in raised beds.

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    33. Mini Elevated Raised Garden Bed

    I like the look of making a full garden out of mini elevated raised garden beds. Basically, they built a bunch of elevated raised garden beds.

    Then they placed them together so they could have a garden just above the ground and not have to deal with much weeding. A very good idea, if you ask me.

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    34. Recycle Masonry Herb Garden

    This is a very interesting raised bed herb garden. The reason is that he took old masonry parts and put them together to create a unique shape.

    Then he filled the spare parts with dirt and planted his herbs. When it grew, it is actually a beautiful piece that is sure to create conversation when seen by visitors.

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    35. U-Shaped Raised Garden Bed

    I like the u-shape raised garden bed. Though it isn’t elevated, it still makes caring for your plants a little easier.

    The u-shape allows you to get where you need to be to care for your plants much easier than if you had to reach over larger square garden beds.

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    36. 2×2 Planter

    This planter is a petite raised garden bed. But not everyone needs large planters.

    So if you are someone that lives in an apartment or duplex and don’t have a lot of room for a larger planter then this could certainly do the trick. You could even create a few of them to grow a variety of herbs and vegetables if desired.

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    37. The Adjustable Planter Bed

    The person that wrote this post brought up a very valid point. They said that if you buy a prefab kit for a garden bed it isn’t always adjustable to fit your specific area.

    Well, this one is. He shows you how to make it fits your exact space. The plans are very detailed and easy to read too. That should help make this project a little easier to tackle.

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    38. Decorative Raised Planter

    This planter is a very unique design. I personally would love to have it in my backyard because of the design on the sides.

    Another great feature about this planter is its size. It appears to be large enough to plant quite a variety. So if you are looking for a unique grow space this might be it.

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    39. Reclaimed Wood Garden Beds

    These garden beds are another one of my favorites. Why? Because I have these in my side yard. We took old wood that we had from other projects and turned them into raised garden beds.

    So if you have extra wood just lying around, don’t let it go to waste. Create a beautiful raised garden bed that has a great rustic charm to it.

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    40. $10 Cedar Raised Garden Beds

    These garden beds are not only gorgeous but also very affordable to create. So if you are on a limited budget consider giving these plans a shot.

    I also love the fact that she makes creating these masterpieces such a breeze. So even if you aren’t an experienced builder, don’t worry. This is a project you can most likely take on with no issues.

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    41. 4×4 Raised Bed

    If you are looking for a medium sized raised garden bed, this garden bed might fit your needs. It is a good size for someone that wants to grow a little something but not a ton of their own food.

    So if you are looking for a place to start with raised garden beds this would probably be a good fit.

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    42. Herb Wheel Garden Planter

    This is a unique shape for a raised garden bed. If you are someone that has a nautical theme in or outside of your home, this planter might go hand in hand with your other designs.

    Also, if you are looking for something a little less traditional this planter would certainly meet those criteria as well.

    Build this raised garden bed ›

    Haven’t found the right one yet? Don’t worry, we’ve improved this collection with even more interesting ideas. Go to the next page to see the rest from 43 to 59.

    Continue reading:

    Page 1 of 2

    When building raised garden beds, rocks are the way to roll

    WASHINGTON — Christina in Silver Spring, Maryland, writes: “I’m going to build a couple of raised beds and am wondering how high to make them.

    “I’d like to use stones for the frames. I’m planning to grow a variety of things and want to factor in a depth of soil that can accommodate just about anything. I just started listening a few weeks ago and am learning so much! Thanks!”

    Well, thank you, Christina!

    Raised beds framed with stone or pavers are an excellent idea. The stone doesn’t deteriorate like wood; and the stone absorbs heat from the sun during the day and radiates it back into the soil at night — a huge bonus for extending the season in the spring and fall.

    All raised beds should be no more than 4 feet wide — so you can reach the center without ever stepping on their loose, light soil. (They can be as long as you like.)

    Around a foot tall is the standard, although deeper is always better, especially if you plan to grow long-rooted crops, like full-length carrots.

    Wash your deer woes away

    Clemencia in Potomac, Maryland, writes: “Do you recommend Plantskydd to deter deer, evil squirrels and rabbits from eating ornamental plants and veggies? The deer especially drive me crazy. I had to fence in the garden area but want to grow some things in the rest of the yard (which has no fence). Will the activated sprinkler you always talk about scare away large deer? Even if they come in groups?”

    Yes, Clemencia — a motion-activated sprinkler is the perfect deer deterrent. They’re naturally skittish animals, and their size makes them a large target for the unexpected blast of cold water that erupts when the sensor detects their movement. Some studies even suggest that deer chased frequently by a blast of noisy water will learn to avoid the area in the future.

    But a motion-activated sprinkler can’t protect plants in the winter, when the water in the lines would freeze. That’s when you need protective cages or frequent applications of a spray-on deer repellent. You mention the repellent Plantskydd, which is dried blood, a slaughterhouse byproduct that creeps me out when I mix it with water. (It becomes a true “bucket of blood.”)

    I prefer repellents that use rotten eggs (“putrescent egg solids”) as the active ingredient. They’re more effective and infinitely less creepy.

    It’s tomato-planting time — maybe

    Our ridiculously warm winter weather has many people asking if it’s safe to plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and such outside. The answer is yes, if you’re in the heat sink of the city or some other traditionally warm spot in our region (like near a big body of water). But caution is advised if you’re in the cooler suburbs.

    The rule of thumb — and it’s a very good rule — is to wait until nighttime temperatures are reliably in the 50s to put tropical plants like tomatoes in the ground. And the forecast for outlying Frederick (which I chose at random as being kind of northern and not near the Bay), for instance, calls for temps in the 30s Sunday night and not much warmer on Monday evening. (Interestingly enough, the exact same thing happened on May 15 last year.)

    Temps that close to freezing might not kill the plants outright, but can stress them so much that the harvest will be delayed by weeks. The good news is that Tuesday on out looks to be fine throughout our area. Wait those few extra days and you’ll harvest ripe tomatoes much sooner.

    (If your plants are already in the ground, place cardboard boxes over them on those cold nights, making sure to remove the covers in the morning.)

    Two tomatoes walk into a bar …

    … Bartender turns to one and says, “Why the long vine?”

    Tomato says, “It’s not my fault; I’m an heirloom!”

    Anyway:

    Getting ready to plant tomatoes? It’s important to know the two main distinctions of these popular plants.

    “Determinate varieties” have shorter “days to maturity” (generally between 50 and 65, a number that’s almost always listed on the plant tag and/or catalog description) and stay fairly compact. They’re the best choice for containers, small spaces and people who want tomatoes early in the season.

    “Indeterminate varieties” take a lot longer to mature — 75 to 90 days from the planting of good-sized starts in warm soil — and are the opposite of compact. The 10 to 12-foot-long vines need to be grown inside a sturdy cage of wire fencing. (Stake the cage to keep it upright; do not try and stake the actual plant.) Although these (generally huge) tomatoes make you wait until the end of summer to savor, they have the absolute best and most-complex flavors.

    So, play the “Days to Maturity” game: Grow a few plants that produce tomatoes 50 to 60 days after planting, some that are rated 70 to 80 days and several that take 90 or more days to mature. That’ll give you a steady supply of tomatoes from early July until the first frost.

    Tomato planting 101:

    • Don’t grow tomatoes in the same spot that tomatoes grew last year, or a soil-borne wilt may yellow them out (a problem that is guaranteed to occur in year three of planting in the same spot).
    • Dig a deep hole, pull off the lower leaves of the plant and bury most of the stem underground. Auxiliary roots will grow all along the buried stem.
    • Place the crushed shells of a dozen eggs or some other source of calcium (like crushed-up Tums or other calcium supplement) over the top of the root ball to prevent blossom end rot (the heartache of tomatoes turning black and rotting on the bottom just as they begin to ripen up).
    • Fill the hole back up with the same soil you removed. Do not improve the soil in the planting hole, or your roots will stay in that tiny little island of good soil.
    • Spread a 2-inch-thick mulch of compost — not composted manure — on the surface of the soil around your plants.
    • Do not mulch disease-prone plants like tomatoes and roses with any kind of wood or bark. With these plants, “no mulch” is better than wood mulch.
    • “Bush,” “patio” and other well-behaved determinate varieties will top out at 5 feet tall and can be contained inside a standard tomato cage.
    • Big late-season heirlooms grow on 10 to 12-foot long vines that would topple a “tomato cage” by mid-July. They must be grown inside a sturdy cage of welded wire. (Important: Do not try and support the actual vine — unless you have 12-foot-long arms.)

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    Raised-Bed Basics

    To reduce maintenance, add a 4-in.-deep trench that’s lined with plastic edging and filled with mulch. The edging keeps grass roots from creeping into the stone wall, and the mulch provides a mowing track for the lawn mower wheels. With taller types of grass, you can mow right over the plastic border and cut the lawn edge cleanly. There’s no need to trim the grass.

    This project doesn’t require any special skills, just a strong back. Besides a good shovel and a wheelbarrow, you’ll need a cold chisel and a 2-lb. maul for breaking stones and driving edging stakes.

    Design your raised bed to blend into the contours of your yard like a natural feature. You can handle slopes in one of two ways. Either let your wall follow the slope of the yard for an informal look, or level the stones and step the wall up or down as the slope requires to maintain approximately the same height.

    The exact size of stacking stone for walls varies by region. Visit a local landscape supplier to check types. For lawn edging, limit the height of your wall to two courses.

    Measure your wall length and make a sketch. The stone dealer will help you figure out the quantities of all the materials you need. The stone will probably be sold by the ton or pallet and it’s heavy. Have it delivered and dropped as close to the garden location as possible. And have gravel or sand delivered to use as a setting bed for the stone as well as topsoil to fill behind the wall. The stone or landscaping dealer will help you calculate how much of these you need.

    Building Your Raised Bed And Retaining Wall

    Get started by laying out the border with a garden hose or paint.

    Draw a curve by setting a string at a center point and marking an arc with paint. The trench width will vary depending on the width of the stone.

    Add 6 in. to the stone width (2 in. for the mowing edge plus 4 in. extra). Generally it’s best to keep the bottom row of stone an inch or so below the original soil level, but this will vary if you keep the stones level and the yard isn’t level. At some point, you may have to step the stones up or down or use thinner or thicker stones. There’s no rule here. Experiment when you lay the stones for the best appearance.

    Lay the stones that have the most irregular faces in the first row so you can place the irregular face down in the gravel and level the top. Vary the sizes and colours for the best look.

    Chip off irregularities with the maul and chisel. Then add the second row. Make this row as stable as possible so the stones won’t rock and fall off. As a last resort, stabilize the stones by shoving stone chips into the gaps.

    Lay landscape fabric against the back of the wall before backfilling to keep dirt from washing out through the stone.

    Add organic mulch to finish up the mowing edge.

    You have not used railway sleepers.
    The sleepers you used are about 1 third the size of railway sleepers.
    I love being green and recycling.
    Your sleepers look brand new and have never been used on a railway, unless it was a big toy train set in your yard.
    Its very sad when you include Permaculture Research Institute as if you are smart.
    I have built 1 like yours many years ago and they are great.
    1 am currently building a “real” railway sleeper bed 5 meters by 2.5 metres.
    Extremely hard work. Extremely heavy. Extremely thick. railway sleepers are about 2.5 meters in length and about 30 cm by 15 cm thick.
    I found a free supply from Vic Railway. They have since smashed up all the wood with an excavator so no more free.
    This is the most heavy lifting I have ever done and I have worked as a furniture removalist for many years.
    I’m pissed because I’m looking for good advice.
    I will give some….
    1.
    I screw the sleepers together with galvanised bolts from Bunnings. They are about 15cm long and very thick. You will need a good drill with a “long”10mm drill bit or bigger and a socket wrench or shifter to turn it.
    2.
    Once you have leveled and screwed all the wood together.
    You need to dig up the grass/soil inside your box (turn it over).
    3.
    Next you need to fill with newspaper or/and cardboard to create a bottom layer that will keep out weeds.
    I looked at this post for help because some suggest that a plastic sheet may need to go underneath the cardboard or on top. Or even a layer of cloth from a material shop underneath the soil to keep out weeds.. I don’t think it matters under or over but it does sound good to have these spread under and outside your sleepers at least 30cm around your box. They say you should cover the 30 cm plastic around the box with mulch.
    4.
    Fill with soil. (if its on your front lawn the soil delivery driver should be able to dump it straight into your box. ?????? I don’t think this guy has ever really built a garden box. Sorry to be rude…. But why post it if you have no idea?????
    5.
    Lots of my neighbours have put poles in each corner and made a square frame around the box. They used steel poles. I’m going to use wood beems I got free..
    6.
    My neighbours put a cheap netting around the steel frame to keep out birds etc. It looks very professional and the white netting is cheap at Bunnings..
    I was hoping to find some advice about this.
    I am thinking of making a wooden frame around my garden box and putting shade cloth on the roof of my frame only and maybe cheap bird netting around the sides. I need advice because the land I’m using gets very hot in summer and has harsh hot wind also.
    I want to block the wind and the sun glare from the roof, North, West and East.
    I may cover the south side but if i cover the box then I will need access to it also.
    I will also make rows of fresh soil mounds in the box with a trench in between each. I will cover the mounds with plastic sheet from bunnings> I will cut holes in the plastic sheeting on top of the raised mounds.
    I will plant my tomato’s and other vegetables in the holes to keep in water and stop weeds.
    I will also use mulch.
    I hope this helps in the real world. Do it right and recycle or buy a kit from your local hardware or Aldi.

    Note: You can get redgum from the hardware like the pictures in this web page and they are manageable for most men and work well.

    Please don’t use “railway sleepers” unless you are able to move extremely heavy objects.

    Note: You may also need a good circular saw if you need to cut the redgum to size. Railway sleepers are hard to cut.
    the last garden box I made, I had Bunnings cut the sleepers to size. It was about $3.00 a cut but very much worth it. I have recently killed 2 Makita saws but the wood was free and I got heaps for fire wood which means I made many cuts.
    Ask you hardware store to cut the redgum if you can because it makes everything square and your project will be much easier.

    Please let me no if you have any economical methods for covering the box for shade. I want it to hold water because Melbourne, Australia summer weather is very harsh.
    I am also going to try and use only water diverted from the house roof and I also have hoses to divert good grey water from my washing machine but I may just use the gray water around the outside of my garden box so the hot clayish soil with mulch on top does not suck my garden box soil dry and kill my plants.

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