Copyright (c) 2012 Jack Russell
There are many advantages to having raised bed gardens that are both aesthetic and functional. They can also be quite therapeutic in helping to wash away the stresses of the day. There are a number of great raised bed garden plans you can choose from for both flowers and vegetables that will spur your imagination.
A raised garden bed is ideal for areas where the soil is not conducive to producing abundant, healthy plants. When planning your garden bed, be sure to choose a sunny spot where your plants will get the greatest exposure. Also be sure to pick a flat area of ground to install your box.
Building a Basic Wooden Raised Garden Bed
Building a 3 x 6 foot bed creates the perfect environment for growing vegetables and beautiful flowers. It provides them with enough space to grow and thrive and gives you easy access to each plant without ever having to step into the bed. Ideally, you want your bed between one and two feet tall. If you intend to grow more plants, it is better to build more boxes rather than making one box larger. Try to place your boxes on the north side for the best sun exposure. If building more than one box, leave enough space between them so you’ll have easy access all around.
Remove weeds and grass, then dig a trench deep enough so the walls of the bed are half-way sunken into the soil. Add landscape fabric to prevent weeds from popping up and steel mesh to keep out moles and other garden pests. Build each wall of the bed separately, then attach them. Posts driven deep into the ground at each corner of the bed will help stabilize it, keeping it from shifting. Add a watering system to your bed and you’ll then be ready to plant.
Creating a Greenhouse Effect
To keep your plants safe from birds and insects or to extend your growing season and preserve moisture, you can add a simple cover using polyethylene film and PVC piping. Mount one inch PVC pipe with galvanized metal straps inside the wall of the bed. Be sure the pipe is twice the length of the bed so you can easily bend and attach the other end to the other side of the wall. Attach the film and you have a simple, yet effective, greenhouse. Be careful not to let your plants get too hot when the weather gets warmer. Either remove the covering or cut slits into it to release excessive heat.
Other Ways to Create Raised Beds
If you’re planning to build a simple garden bed in the back yard, using untreated lumber such as Douglas Fir will work well for any bed. For something more eye-pleasing, there are many ways to create a stunning garden that will be the envy of all. You can build your garden walls from stone or brick and even terrace a sloping landscape for a multi-tiered effect. Create a curved garden around a water fountain or bird bath for a simple and beautiful addition to your landscape.
With a bit of imagination and dedication, you can have a raised garden that is easy to maintain which will add beauty and function to your home. You’ll also enjoy the outdoors more than ever.