Gardening is as popular as it has ever been, and the sight of a beautifully kept lawn or a lovely flourishing flower bed is always something to make you smile. Then there’s growing your own vegetables and fruit, which is a very satisfying process, especially when you come to harvest. The average yard or garden can accommodate a small vegetable patch and a lawn, while larger areas can be utilized even more effectively. For smaller gardens, there are many ideas that can help, and raised garden beds are among them.
If you are already familiar with the idea of raised garden beds, then you will know what we are talking about: usually, a wooden construction at a certain height – perhaps one or two feet off the ground – that is filled with compost and in which plants are grown. They can be many different sizes, any shape you want, and you can build one yourself if you are suitably able at DIY! There are also many you can buy that come ready-made or in kit form, and we’ll look at them later.
Raised beds are a great way of getting a garden nearer to you – which helps if you have mobility problems – and there is some excellent Royal Horticultural Society advice that is worth reading. We’ve looked at five ideas for raised garden beds that we think will be of interest, so let’s get started!
1: Buying a Wooden Kit
The most popular way to get a raised garden bed in your yard or garden is to visit your local garden supplies center and have a look at the kits on offer. They will usually be made from cedar wood – a choice that is perfect for its natural look – and they come in various forms. Some slots together easily, others will need screwing together, and it may take half an hour or so, and some come ready built but tend to be smaller.
As for size, the choice is endless with smaller kits measuring 2’ x 4’ and raising the bed 8” from the surface, and others much bigger – if you have space, a 4’ x 8’ raised bed is a great choice. Have a look at the raised be kits at https://traditionalgardening.com/raised-garden-bed-kits/, which cover most of the designs and ideas, and they may inspire you towards our next idea!
Now that you’ve seen how the kits are made, if you’re any good at DIY, you can build your own raised bed! The one thing to be careful with is if you need to buy the wood as raw material. If so, you may find it more cost-effective to buy a kit that you can put together in a matter of minutes.
However, let’s say you have some unused pallets or old decking. This can be used to make a perfectly reasonable raised bed. All you need to do is make sure you have them screwed together and supported properly – there are some guides online that show you how to do it – and anyone competent can make one. A top tip is this: paint them in bright colors for a fancy and stylish effect!
3: The Garden Tower
Before we talk about this one, we found a great resource offering gardening help for beginners as we know that not everybody is an experienced gardener. If you live in an apartment or just have a very small space, for example, you’ll find this idea very useful: the garden tower.
What are we talking about? Garden towers are a clever take on the raised bed and take the form of very tall and slim planters with several layers. They are slim, so they are perfect for smaller spaces and come in a range of sizes and styles.
These are a great idea for growing certain fruit and vegetables, and look superb when filled with cascading begonias, for example. You will find they are usually designed with a watering system in the center so you can keep them with very little maintenance, and they’re great for tomato plants! Check out garden towers even if you just have a balcony.
4: Plastic Raised Beds
The alternative to the wooden raised bed is the plastic version, and there are many to choose from. Designed to be durable and long-lasting, they are perhaps not as attractive as the wooden versions but do the job. They also usually come in one piece, so they are easy to put in place. These can make a simple and cheap alternative and are certainly worth looking at.
If you want to make your own, try and find an old water butt – make sure it has held only water and not any substance that may be harmful – and carefully saw it in half lengthways – you now have two raised beds to play with! This brings us neatly to our final option!
Repurposing is a part of gardening. Even reading gardening tips from the experts at the National Trust, who look after many fine gardens in the UK, will often advise re-using items that you might have already. For example, what about a wheelbarrow that is past its best? Painted and filled with beautiful flowers, they make a very relevant and small raised bed that you can use annually and put in a favorite spot.
One area we have yet to talk about is that of window boxes. Think of these as a smaller version of the raised bed and you can see that there are many possibilities in terms of repurposing, and you can also buy ready to go window boxes that are not expensive in both wood and plastic.
There really is so much you can do to create a beautiful raised garden, and for the sake of simplicity, we recommend you check out the kits we mentioned as they are easy to build, look superb, and are not at all expensive. For a small or easy maintenance garden, this could be the answer you’re looking for.