What are raised garden beds?
Raised-bed gardening is when plants are grown in an elevated planter box. These boxes can sit on or above ground, and are usually edged with different materials like brick or stone. Typically around six inches to two feet off the ground and one to two meters wide, raised garden beds can really add a whole other dimension to your garden.
Why use raised planter boxes?
- Easier to use the correct soil: if the soil in your backyard isn’t suitable for the plants you want to grow, you can put the soil you need in a planter box and place it in your garden.
- Plants grow better: an issue with most gardens is that we often impact the roots when walking over the soil, stunting plant growth. Raised garden beds avoid this issue.
- Extend the planting season: Since you can move them or even bring them indoors, you have more flexibility with your seasonal gardening.
Another great reason to build a raised garden bed is for accessibility’ sake. Older people might have a difficult time bending over and tending to a garden. Raising the garden removes this issue entirely, allowing elderly people to be able to take a more active role in gardening.
Other factors to consider
Raised garden beds are typically 2 to 3 metres long and wide (edging included). Anything bigger is difficult to manage. The garden you’re looking to grow is important here: if you’re tending to something like a herb garden, make a smaller box.
Not all plants grow well in raised gardens. The best plants are those that thrive on nutrient-rich and rock-free soil, or those that need a more delicate touch in their growth and harvesting. Tomatoes, onions, lettuce, radishes and potatoes grow extremely well in planter boxes.
The material of your raised garden bed is crucial. Most people use wooden timbers like pallets and untreated hardwood since they’re cheap and easy to work with. But if those materials aren’t available, you can try options like UV-stabilised polyethylene plastic or corrugated iron panels. Just make sure your material won’t leak chemicals or traces into the soil to avoid contaminating your garden.
Best raised garden bed ideas
So what are some designs of garden planters that you can look into? Here are a few of our favourites:
Tiered garden beds are great if you’re planting over one kind of plant at a time and want to make sure all of them get equal amounts of sunlight.
These boxes look lovely when leaning against a fence or garden wall. It’s an organised way to keep your garden in check, and they’re flexible enough so you can build more than one.
If you’re worried about animals like squirrels or rabbits, you can encase your raised garden with a steel mesh or grill for extra protection. This design incorporates a fence which can help keep your curious pets away.
A variation on the tiered box gives us this delightful planter stand: ideal for delicate display plants like roses and other blooms. This kind of raised garden can also accommodate pots, making replanting or moving plants easier.
If you don’t have wood or plastic lying around, old and discarded tires make great raised garden beds. Tractor tires are the best, but any kind of old tire will do in a pinch. You may need to do a little cutting and folding to get the bed you need, but the result is a wonderful case of recycling in action.
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