Despite the initial cost and time, learning how to build a raised garden bed can save you time and labor in the long run. A raised garden bed allows you to plan for optimal sun exposure, and to use the most conducive soil type for whatever it is that you plan to grow.
Raising the soil off from ground level also enables maximum sun exposure and minimal weed growth. It also means less bending and twisting for you while planting and tending to your garden. Raised garden beds can help optimize plant growth in a condensed area, or allow vegetable growth in places that would otherwise be too desolate or formidable.
If you live in a rural area, raising your vegetable garden can also deter rabbits and other critters from munching on your food. Where we live there are tons of deer, so in this case, it might be a good idea to build a garden cover with some PVC pipe and screen or netting.
Materials Needed to Build a Raised Garden Bed
There are many ways to go about building a raised garden bed, but using wood seems to be the most common and the most aesthetically pleasing. Pre-made kits tend to degrade and warp over time, and can also be finished with harmful chemicals that could be damaging to your soil, and in turn, food.
Other, less common options include cinder blocks, concrete, and rocks, but these all require more initial work and maintenance. In my opinion, they aren’t as visually appealing either.
Building your garden out of rocks can add a nice rustic touch to your garden, but it will then also be much more prone to weed and insect infestations.
Concrete and cinder blocks can cause your garden to overheat in the summer, and make it harder to move or take down if you want to change locations.
If you’re building a smaller garden bed, it might be a good idea to add the optional corner posts, and stick them in the ground to prevent movement, but for our case, 8’x4’ will give our bed plenty of weight, rendering the posts unnecessary.
Landscape fabric or garden liner is unnecessary if you’re living in an area where the ground soil is high quality and nutrient rich. If this is the case, you can use it to your advantage, and build your garden right on top of the ground soil, with no barrier. However, liners will help prevents weeds from growing up into your garden.
There are many commercially available options for garden liners. Just search around to find the best price and size for your project. I’ve even seen people use old carpet or rugs to line their garden beds.
Start by selecting the location for the garden bed. The ideal location will have the most direct sunlight, and not be blocked by shade from the surround trees or buildings. You’ll want to choose a somewhat level spot, and make sure there’s plenty of room to walk around all sides of the garden.
Step 2: Preparing the Ground
Step 3: Constructing the Raised Garden Bed
After your garden bed is assembled and placed in the correct spot on the ground, it’s time to ensure your line is in place, and add the soil.
The soil type and composition can vary depending on what you intend to grow, but is ultimately the most important step in building your garden. Using the wrong soil, or nutrient deficient soil is the biggest factor in whether your plants or vegetables will adequately grow or not.
Generally a mix of topsoil, compost, and other organic materials such as peat moss will be best for a vegetable garden. It’s best to do some research after deciding what you’ll be growing in order to make the optimal combination for nutrient dense soil.
Remember, raised garden beds may need extra watering in the beginning stages to ensure thorough saturation and plant growth.
We would love to hear what other tips or tricks you have for building a raised garden bed! It’s always interesting to see the different variations and adaptations that can be applied depending on need and location.