Advertising
Advertising

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

Build a Raised Garden Bed

    Though the snowdrifts outside are still waist-high and the sun is still setting before 6 pm, it’s at this time of year that many avid gardeners start thinking about the green spaces they’ll be tending in the not-so-distant future. Months spent away from gardens have made many of us tetchy and anxious, prompting us to spend hours going through seed catalogues and gardening websites, adding to ever-growing Pinterest boards in preparation for the lushness we’ll be planting soon.

    Raised beds look amazing in any garden space—be that a front yard herb garden or a sprawling backyard tomato plot—and they’re remarkably easy to build. Additionally, if the soil in your region is fairly poor, creating a raised bed full of compost-rich soil will undoubtedly help you grow abundant, healthy vegetables and herbs that may not have thrived if planted in the ground. Having a raised bed is also beneficial for jump-starting your garden, as the soil within will be warmer than the earth below ground level.

    Basic materials needed:

    Advertising

    • Measuring tape
    • Garden spade and trowel
    • Lumber (pre-cut, or else have a table saw handy)
    • Wood glue
    • Screws that are long enough to hold the wood sturdily in place
    • Steel corner docks (optional)
    • Garden bed layers (newspaper, lawn clippings, leaves, compost, and bedding soil)

    Wooden Beds

    Wooden Beds

      Many people choose to make their raised planter beds out of wood, which is really the cheapest and easiest resource to work with. To create a raised wooden bed, begin by measuring out the area that you’ll be working with. The bed shouldn’t be more than 4 feet wide, as you’ll need to be able to reach the center of it to pull weeds and the like, and as for height, I’d make it at least 8-10 inches high. Some people prefer theirs to be 1-2 feet in height, but that’s an individual choice.

      Cedar is the best type of wood to use, but you can also use pine for this project. I like to use 4″ x 4″ lumber for beds, as they’re fairly sturdy and have more surface area for wood glue to adhere to.

      Once you’ve measured out the garden space, dig a slight trench around the perimeter for the timbers to nestle into. Lay the wood down into the trenches, ensuring that they butt up against each other quite firmly, and screw them into place. Slather those timbers with wood glue and then lay down the next layer, ensuring that you’ve alternated the orientation of the wood to create lapped corners, and allow this to dry for 6-8 hours before screwing them into the lower layer of wood. Repeat this process until the bed is as high as you’d like it—just be sure to stagger the screws around the edges so you don’t drill one into the other.

      Advertising

      Once you’re happy with the height, you can reinforce the edges with steel corner docks if you feel that extra stability is needed.

      Brick or Fieldstone Beds

      Stone Garden Bed

        Materials needed:

        • Measuring tape
        • Bricks, cinder blocks, or stones
        • Garden spade or trowel
        • Mortar paste
        • Mason’s trowel
        • Garden bed layers (newspaper, lawn clippings, leaves, compost, and bedding soil)

        The method of creating beds of stone is really quite basic. Do you remember stacking bricks or logs when you were a child? Remember how you needed to stagger/alternate them so they didn’t just fall over? This is the same deal, only on a larger scale.

        Advertising

        The dimensions for a block-bordered raised bed should be the same as with wood, but instead of wood glue and screws, you’ll use mortar to keep the bricks/stones in place. In order to figure out how many bricks you’ll need, go to a building center and ask for an estimate—just give the supplier the measurements of the length and height of the planter you’re planning, and they can let you know how many blocks are needed. You can either buy new materials, or re-use masonry from buildings that have been torn down. Wherever you source your blocks from, always have 10 or so extra lying around just in case they’re needed.

        Fieldstone

          As with the wood, dig a slight trench around the perimeter of the bed for the bricks to nestle into. Bricks are great to work with as they can be adjusted to create any shape; if you don’t want a rectangular bed, you can create a round, oblong, or free-form organic structure instead. Lay down the first layer of blocks into the trench, and then lay the second layer atop them, ensuring that they’re staggered. Once you have them all in place, you’ll lift them one by one, slap some mortar paste on the bottoms of them, and set them back into place to secure them. You’ll let this cure for a day or two before filling in the bed.

          If you’re using fieldstones instead of bricks or blocks, ensure that they’re mostly flat and will sit together firmly and securely. You’re also more likely to have gaps between these stones than with bricks or cinder blocks, but you can fill those in with smaller rocks and a bit of mortar.

          Layered Filling

          Advertising

          Lasagna

            Now that you’ve created the planter, it’s time to fill it with a “lasagna” of organic layers that will create a rich soil. Put down about 4 layers of newspaper (black and white print only: no colour or glossy adverts), then 1 inch of aged animal manure or vegetable compost.

            Note: be sure to wet your newspaper before layering it, so it’ll stick together and won’t fly off into your neighbour’s yard with the slightest breeze.

            After the paper comes a few inches of “green mulch” made from mixed leaves, grass (lawn clippings, straw), and peat moss, followed by a thick layer of compost-rich bedding soil. That’s all watered and left to settle for a few days, and after that, you’re ready to plunk in your seedlings.

            *Note: Be sure to adjust the layer thicknesses to correspond with the height of your raised bed: an 8-inch planter will only need 2 inches of green mulch, while a 1.5-foot-tall bed will require 8-10 inches of it, etc.

             

            More by this author

            Catherine Winter

            Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

            10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of 20 Online Resources for Free E-Books 10 Books to Help You Polish Your English & Writing Skills 10 Things That Even You Can Do to Change the World

            Trending in Home

            1 10 Small Changes To Make Your House Feel Like A Home 2 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of 3 5 Reasons Why Tidying Your Room Can Change Your Life 4 25 Really Cool Cat Furniture Design Ideas Every Cat Owner Needs 5 Scientists Discover Why You Should Take Off Your Shoes Before Entering Your Home

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on July 18, 2019

            10 Small Changes To Make Your House Feel Like A Home

            10 Small Changes To Make Your House Feel Like A Home

            Your house is more than just a building that you live in. It should be a home that makes you feel welcome as soon as you open the front door.

            Making your house feel like a home is not something that simply happens on its own. You need to make some changes to a house when you move in, to give it that cozy, warm feeling that turns it into a true home. To help you speed the process, follow this guide to 10 small changes to make your house feel like a home.

            1. Make the Windows Your Own

            When you move into a home, they often come with boring Venetian blinds or less than attractive curtains.

            One of the best ways you can instantly warm your home and make it showcase your style is to add some new window dressing. Adding beautiful curtains not only improves your home’s appearance, but it can also help to control the temperature.

            2. Put up Some Art

            If you have a lot of bare walls in your home, it will seem sterile no matter how beautiful your paint or wallpaper is.

            Advertising

            Hanging art on the walls will instantly give it personality and make it feel like home.

            3. Improve the Aroma

            A house that is not filled with inviting smells will never feel like a home. There are loads of ways you can make your home smell nice. There are tons of air fresheners on the market you can use.

            Incense and scented candles are a nice option as well. Don’t forget that baking in a home is also a great way to fill it with an aroma that instantly smells like home as soon as you open the front door.

            4. Put out Lots of Pillows and Throws

            A great way to make your home look warm and inviting is to place lots of pillows and throws out on the furniture. It is much better to have too many pillows than not enough.

            There is nothing like the feeling of sinking into a cushiony pillow that feels like a cloud to make you feel like you are at home.

            Advertising

            5. Instantly Class up Your Closet

            If your closet is filled with wire or plastic hangers, it will never truly feel homey. To instantly make your closet feel classy, change out your old hangers for wooden ones.

            Not only do they look great, but they are better for hanging your clothes as well.

            6. Improve Your Air Quality

            One of the most overlooked ways to make your house feel more like a home is to improve its air quality.

            The easiest and best way to upgrade the air quality in your home is to change the old, dirty filters in your furnace regularly. Get some air filters delivered to your home so that you always have some on hand.

            7. Fill it with Plants

            Another way to improve the air quality in your home is to fill it with plants. You should have plants in every room of your home.

            Advertising

            They help to improve the air quality and they look beautiful. As well as making your home appear homier, plants also help to boost your mood and lower your stress levels.

            8. Change the Doorknobs

            Most people don’t really give their doorknobs a second thought unless they are broken. That is a shame because changing your doorknobs is an easy way to add personality to your home.

            Changing your old, boring doorknobs to new ones that are works of art will instantly brighten your home.

            9. Upgrade Your Tub or Shower

            There is nothing like luxuriating in a whirlpool bath or steam shower to make the cares of the day melt away. Your family deserves a bit of luxury when they are in their bathroom.

            Install a new shower or tub today to make your bathroom worthy of a place in your home.

            Advertising

            10. Fresh Cut Flowers

            You can make any room in your house feel homier by placing a vase full of beautiful flowers in it. The gorgeous look and intoxicating aroma of fresh cut flowers will immediately brighten your day when you encounter them.

            You don’t have to make all these changes at once. Try one or two a day though, and your house will feel like a home before you know it. The trick is to constantly keep adding these homey touches to make your home a place worthy of its name.

            Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-wooden-round-analog-wall-clock-on-brown-wooden-wall-121537/ via unsplash.com

            Read Next