Building a raised bed garden is easy if you use a commercial kit, but you can also make one from scratch. Where not to construct a raised garden bed. Construction tips for building raised garden beds cheaply.
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Before you can build a raised garden bed you first have to decide what to use to construct it.
The most common material used in raised garden bed construction is wood. Cedar is usually chosen for its good looks, natural durability and insect resistance.
The problem with building a raised bed garden from scratch is that you’ve got to buy or find free plans for constructing it, purchase the necessary components and transport them to your home.
Then you will most likely have to cut the lumber to size.
By the time you pay for the lumber and other components, you could have bought a raised garden bed kit.
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Raised garden bed kits like the 4×8 foot kit depicted in the image above simplify the construction process tremendously.
Burpee.com is the company selling the garden bed kits pictured above. You can buy the lumber and components or just the components. They also sell composite lumber.
The lumber is fitted together with 12 inch coated aluminum pivoting corners. The wood is all precut to construct a bed of the size you choose.
This allows you to design elaborate raised garden beds and have everything you need to construct them delivered to your door. Alternatively, you can keep it simple and just pick out one of the kits they have designed.
Once the kit arrives, it will take you mere minutes to slide the parts together.
Other Raised Bed Garden
Raised Vegetable Garden Made of Concrete Block
These are sometimes treated with a preservative which would make them unsafe for constructing raised vegetable garden beds. They are fine to use for building a raised bed garden for ornamentals.
The problem is the corners. If raised garden bed corners do not fit tightly together, they look sloppy and the soil tends to leak out of them.
You could always place trailing plants at the corners to hide the mess.
The biggest problem with building a raised bed garden of concrete blocks is their weight. You could have them delivered to the site but they you would still have to move them to the exact spot where the bed was being constructed.
The advantage to concrete block is that you can plant small plants in the blocks and gain a little more growing area.
A major potential problem I see with building a raised garden bed out of this material is getting rid of all these blocks if you should ever decide you no longer want them. They are also far less attractive than beds made of stone or brick.
Brick or Stone:
Italian Polished Plaster Wall Backs Raised Bed with Box Balls
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These make beautiful raised garden beds which can blend nicely with the rest of your hardscape. If you have to buy them, they will run you some money. If you have suitable raised garden bed stone on the property, it could be well worth the trouble of moving it.
If you have access to salvaged bricks and some knowledge of masonry, you have all the makings of beautiful, cheap raised garden beds.
One of my neighbors built a raised garden bed out of those man made bricks you can get from the garden centers. These are pretty but pricey.
Plastic Raised Garden Beds:
These are simple to put together and they look nice when they are new. I think cedar looks more natural and weathers better but in some landscapes the stark white of the vinyl or plastic would look better than the natural wood. If your house is white or has white trim, the cedar beds may be too rustic in appearance.
The white raised bed garden frame in the photo above is made of PVC and guaranteed not to fade, chip or crack for 20 years.
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Cheap Raised Garden Beds
Cacti Garden in a Raised Bed, Pasadena, Los Angeles
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You can make a raised garden bed by simply mounding up soil. You don’t strictly have to use a raised bed garden frame of any kind.
This is the cheapest way of building a raised bed garden.
The main drawback of making a raised bed garden sans frame is that the soil will tend to wash away during heavy rains. You will have to do more work to keep this kind of raised bed neat.
Dry climates are the best place for frameless raised beds. Also, they work better when used to display permanent plants rather than annuals or vegetables whose frequent replacement will cause soil disturbance.
Tips for Building a Raised Garden Bed
Overview of Garden with Conservatory, Lawn Edged with Raised Brick Bed of Box Balls and Grasses
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- Building a raised bed garden on a wooden deck or patio is not a good idea. The weight and moisture could undermine the structure.
- Take the time to plan what you are going to grow in the bed and site it in the proper exposure. You wouldn’t want to plant a raised bed vegetable garden in an area that only gets part-day sun. Once the bed is filled with soil, moving it will be a major project.
- If you live in a multi-story home, consider what the bed or beds will look like when viewed from the upstairs rooms. This will help you to avoid regrettable placements and may suggest raised garden bed design possibilities that had not occurred to you at ground level.
- Like other landscaping projects, building a raised bed garden should be tackled in stages. If you’ve never gardened in raised beds before, it would be better to build one 4×4 or 4×8 foot raised bed this year and wait until next year to convert your entire back yard into a stunning oasis of raised garden beds.
It will be easier on both your back and your pocket this way and you can alter your plans as you learn what works for you and what does not.
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