Landscaping, Hardscaping, Gardening & Curb Appeal Tips

A Home for Your Veggies: Make a Raised Garden Bed

A raised bed gives you an eye-catching feature, a better view of your plants and, by lifting them up, less strain on your back when tending them. Learn how to make a raised bed in one day.

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Raised Bed Gives Better View of PlantsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Creating a square or rectangular timber-framed raised bed is easy, especially if the pieces are pre-cut to length. Buy pressure-treated wood, which will last for many years, or treat it with preservative before you start. If the bed is to sit next to a lawn, make a brick mowing edge.

This project should only take you about a day.

Materials Needed:

  • spade
  • pre-cut landscape wood
  • level
  • tape measure
  • rubber mallet
  • drill, screwdriver
  • heavy-duty coach screws
  • rubble and topsoil
  • bark

Measuring Up the Base

Dig out strips of sod wide enough to accommodate the wood (image 1). Pressure-treated wood is an economic alternative to rot-resistant hardwoods, such as oak, or consider buying reclaimed hardwood.

Lay out the wood where you want to use it. Check that it is level (image 2) (use a plank of wood to support a shorter level). Check levels diagonally, as well as along the length.

Make sure the base is square by checking that the diagonals are equal in length (image 3). For a perfect square or rectangular bed, it is a good idea to have the wood pre-cut to size at your local gardening or hardware store.

Building the Bed

Using a rubber mallet, gently tap the wood so that it butts up against the adjacent piece; it should stand perfectly level and upright according to the readings on your level (image 1). Remove soil as needed.

Predrill holes through the top and bottom of the ends of the wood, and into the adjacent pieces, to accommodate a couple of long, heavy-duty coach screws (image 2). Secure the wood with the screws.

Arrange the next set of wood on top of the base; make sure they overlap the joints below to give the structure added strength (image 3). Check with a level before screwing them together.

For extra drainage, partially fill the base with rubble - rocks, broken pieces of terra cotta and other similar materials (image 4). Then add topsoil that is free of perennial weeds. Fill the bed up to about 3 inches from the top with soil, install your plants then mulch with bark.

Raised Vegetable Bed

Raised beds are ideal for growing vegetables, fruits and herbs. They provide better drainage on heavier soils and a deeper root run for crops like carrots and potatoes. Raised beds also lift up trailing plants, such as strawberries, which helps to prevent rotting. If you buy fresh topsoil that’s guaranteed weed- and disease-free, your crops will have a better chance of growing well.

Benefits of Raised Vegetable GardenEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited
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Excerpted from Garden Design

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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