Raised Garden Ideas

Potager Raised Bed Design A raised bed potager, or kitchen garden, showcases the orderly, formal design these beds can bring to a setting. Simple wood frames constructed from rot-resistant lumber provide years of growing success. Raised beds lend themselves to intensive gardening techniques, such as interplanting, succession planting and square-foot gardening. Colorful Raised Bed When raised beds are made from UV-stable polypropylene, they infuse a landscape with bold color year-round. Plastic beds provide long life and don’t rot like wood can. Just be sure to choose materials that are UV-stable to prevent rapid breakdown by sun exposure. This design features easy interlocking corners. Woven Wicker Gives a Rustic English Garden Appearance There are a variety of materials that can be used to build a raised garden bed, such as woven wicker, giving a rustic English garden appearance. Stone Beds Last Forever Stacked stones provide a long-lasting bed edging that doesn’t rot despite contact with wet soil. Stones might have a formal arrangement, like this stacked slate raised bed. The stone absorbs heat and radiates it into soil inside the raised bed, allowing you to plant sooner in spring and let crops grow longer in fall. Informal Stone Raised Bed An informal stone raised bed design features individual boulders stacked and fitted to create a foundation for productive gardens. This mounded garden illustrates a type of raised bed known as hugelkultur (German for “hill culture”). Plants in hugelkultur raised beds reach mature size more quickly than in traditional planting beds and need very little watering. Metal Gives a Modern Look Metal raised beds blend artfully into a modern style landscape. Any metal is long-lasting and carefree, and this product features a steel product known as Zincalume, which lasts four times as long as galvanized steel. This particular design offers the beauty of curved edges that softens the hard look of corrugated metal. Aim High With Beds Tall raised beds can make a small yard seem larger by injecting vertical interest. Taller beds take the backache out of ongoing plant maintenance by eliminating the stooping necessary to tend in-ground beds. When designing taller beds, consider adding simple benches that use the raised beds as a backrest. Grow Up in Raised Beds Use the frame of a raised bed as a construction platform to host a trellis, and you can stock your garden with climbing flowers or edibles, like snow peas. The frame of a raised bed provides multiple options for attaching accessory items, like a floating row cover, frost blanket or mesh fencing to deter animals. Take a Seat Red cedar makes a long-lasting contribution to a raised garden bed. This bed features a handy bench just the right height for perching on bed edges and tending plants in the garden. The bench offers a wide lip that hooks over the edge of the bed, providing stable seating. It’s also portable, small enough to pick up and carry to another spot along the raised bed edge. Big and Beautiful In areas where in-ground gardening is next-to-impossible, count on raised beds to provide successful growing options. These sunny yellow raised beds host perennials, shrubs and a lavender hedge. The beds also act as walls in this outdoor room, directing traffic flow and providing privacy. Box Your Garden Oversized red cedar boxes allow you to create a custom raised bed garden design. Five boxes of varying sizes come as part of a set. Arrange the planter boxes in a design that makes the best use of your growing area, sunlight or yard shape. Long-lasting cedar is rot-resistant, making an ideal material for raised bed planters. A Bed of Straw Use straw bales to create a raised bed that’s fully compostable. Straw beds bring a host of benefits to the landscape. They’re inexpensive and also offer a temporary bed solution. After the garden season ends, straw bales can easily be used as winter mulch or converted into layering material for creating a lasagna garden. Trolley Garden Bed Embrace pain-free gardening with a raised bed that’s tall enough to eliminate bending while tending. This elevated trolley garden offers an ample 12 square feet of growing area, including a deep enough pocket to host tall crops like tomatoes. Tuck shorter plants like leaf lettuce and radishes along bed edges. Brick Raised Beds Consider building permanent raised beds in patio areas or where uneven terrain makes terracing a natural choice. Brick boasts a carefree personality and sounds a formal note in garden design, especially when paired with eye-catching tile. When filling brick planters, maintain soil a couple inches below the top edge to keep it from spilling onto surrounding surfaces. Wall-Hugger Planter The wall-hugging qualities of this planter make it a good choice for small space gardens, where every square inch needs to work hard. Tuck the wall vegetable trug along a wall or fence for an instant raised garden bed that’s tall enough to eliminate bending when planting or weeding. Plant taller crops toward the flat side of the planter and shorter ones toward the front. Raised Bed Liner When the only spot you have for situating a raised bed is on a patio, deck or driveway, keep soil from washing out by installing a liner inside the raised bed frame. This bed liner features a patented double polypropylene fabric that lets water drain while keeping soil in place. It makes a great choice for laying over existing poor soil or grassy areas. The liner also keeps grass from invading the bed. Raised Bed Watering Using soaker hoses in raised beds can be tricky. Typically parts of the hose wind up soaking footpaths as they snake throughout beds. A snip-n-drip soaker hose system lets you trim soaker hoses to the correct length for your raised beds. Once hoses are cut, snap fittings into place and turn the water on.raised garden ideas 1Location, Location A 3 x 6-ft bed should be wide enough to support sprawling tomatoes, but narrow enough to reach easily from both sides. The ideal height is 1 to 2 ft tall—you can go taller, but you need a considerable amount of soil to fill a 3-ft-high bed. Don’t fill the bed with dirt from the garden. Instead, use peat moss, compost or a soil mix for planters. Use a 2 x 4 to level the soil,then plant. If possible, build more than one bed, which makes it easier to rotate crops and meet the watering needs of specific plants. Aligning beds in straight rows simplifies the installation of an irrigation system.Finding a flat spot spares a lot of digging—you want the walls to be level. In general, a north-south orientation takes full advantage of available light. Stay close to the kitchen, but avoid sites shaded by the house or beneath messy trees. Leave at least 18 in. between beds for walkways, or 2 ft if you need room for a wheelbarrow or lawnmower. Jody Rogac Planning, Building To prepare the site, get rid of turf and weeds. Outline the bed dimensions on the ground with chalkline or string, then dig with vertical strokes along the outline, just deep enough to bury about half of your first course of lumber. Raised beds are designed so water trickles down, eliminating most of the problem of poor drainage. But if your only viable location is bogged in a marsh, you can prevent the “bathtub effect” by digging a few inches deeper and putting a layer of coarse stone or pea gravel in the excavation. (You can also install perforated drainage pipes in trenches under or around the bed, or just drill weep holes at the base of the sides.) Likewise, if there is no turf between your beds, put down some landscape fabric and cover it with pavers or a layer of gravel to improve drainage—after running out in the rain for a fresh bell pepper, you’ll appreciate the mud-free shoes.Level the earth or gravel layer at the bottom of the bed, then put down a layer of weed-suppressing landscape fabric that extends to the outer edge of the wooden frame. Now is also the time to think about pest control. “The rich soil in a raised bed has worms and other delicacies that attract moles, and gophers and voles relish young veggie roots,” Sausalito, Calif., garden designer Tom Wilhite says. “To keep out burrowing pests I always recommend a bottom layer of hardware cloth”—a mesh grid of steel or galvanized metal.Build each wall separately, then fasten them together and put the bed into position. Raised-bed builders often sink posts into the ground for stability, either at the inside corners of the bed or halfway along the side walls. These help hold the bed in place, but can also reduce the outward pressure that a full bed exerts on the frame, which can dislodge the lumber after a single season. A cap railing that runs around the top of the bed ties everything together. Plus, it provides a handy place to set down gardening tools while working, or, when you’re done, a seat to admire the fruits of your labor. Bed covers ward off insects and keep plants warm in cool weather. Jody RogacAdvertisement – Continue Reading Below Greenhouse Effect A simple framework of hoops and a lightweight cover can extend your growing season in cool areas, conserve moisture in dry areas and protect plants from birds or insects. Use galvanized pipe straps to mount 1-in. PVC pipe inside the bed walls. Cut ½-in. flexible PVC tubing twice as long as the beds’ width. Bend it, mount it and clip a cover in place. Use clear polyethylene film to raise soil and air temperatures in early spring or fall—to get an early start on heirloom tomatoes, for instance, or to try your hand at exotic squashes. But be careful not to bake your plants on warmer days. Remove the cover or slit vents in it to avoid excessive heat buildup. For pest control, cover the bed with bird netting or with gauzelike fabrics known as floating row covers, which keep out flying insects but let in both light and air. Jody Rogac Watering Once you add an automatic watering system to your raised-bed garden, you’re free to plant, weed and harvest. A simple micro-irrigation setup ensures that plants get water consistently—especially important for seedlings and leaf crops such as lettuce. “The sides of raised beds heat up quickly in the sun, baking the moisture out of the soil,” Wilhite says. “Irrigation delivers the water evenly and gently. You can set your timer to water early in the morning—less will evaporate, and you resist disease.”A basic setup starts with a faucet or hose-bib attachment that is essentially a series of valves that prevent back flow into the plumbing, filter the water and control the water pressure.These valves are designed with 1-in. or ¾-in. connections. From these, attach supply lines of flexible ½-in. poly tubing. The tubing’s accessibility makes it easy to check for leaks and repair damage from punctures or bursts. To protect the tubing, bury it a few inches and cover the line with mulch.Lay the tubing along the beds in lines 12 in. apart. Fit sections together with compression elbow and T-fittings. Install drip emitters at 12-in. intervals along the length of the tubing for even delivery of moisture to plants. Low-volume sprayers or misters on risers can also be used, but these lose more water to evaporation. Close the ends of each line with hose-end plugs and caps. Then sit back and let the system water for you.(Read more pro tips on raised beds here.) Jody Rogac

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