While you're sitting at home waiting for the snow to melt, why not get a head start on planning your garden for the year? Whether you're hoping to grow your own vegetables or just spruce up your yard with vibrant spring flowers, one of the best ways to plant them is in raised beds. There are lots of benefits to planting in elevated beds — there's no tilling needed, you can easily add soil conditioners like compost, you'll have fewer weeds, and you won't have to bend down as far to tend to your sprouts. Need we go on?
If you're wondering how to build a raised garden bed, you'll be happy to know it's a fairly simple DIY project. For a basic raised bed, you'll want to use 2-by-10-inch lumber to create a four-sided box — no need to put a bottom on it, either. The dimensions of the bed can be tailored to suit your space, but you'll typically want to keep it less than four feet wide to ensure you can reach the center. Once you've cut the boards to size, use deck screws to fasten the short walls to the ends of the long walls, and your raised bed is complete! (If that seems a little too hands-on for you, many home improvement stores sell raised bed kits that include pre-cut materials and are quick and easy to assemble.) Before you fill it with soil, you may also want to line the bottom with landscape fabric to block weeds from growing.
However, this is far from the only way to build a raised bed. The gardeners of the internet have come up with plenty of cool, innovative ways to create gardening beds that are both highly functional and attractive, and to be honest, we're probably going to borrow a few of these ideas to use in our own gardens!
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Give your beds built-in seating
You're going to end up crouching or sitting around the edges of your raised beds when tending plants and pulling weeds, and we love that these beautiful beds have an extra board attached horizontally to the upper lip, creating a convenient seat to perch on.
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Swap wooden walls for stone blocks
Raised beds are most often made from wood, but there's nothing that says you can't use another material instead. This crafty gardener used wall blocks to build beautiful beds in her yard — this method will probably be more expensive initially, but it's also extremely durable.
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Make your garden mobile
If you have a small outdoor space, you might not be able to install a full-sized raised bed. However, this portable option is the perfect solution — its elevated design offers the same benefits as a traditional raised bed, and it's even enclosed with wire to prevent critters from munching on your produce.
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Embrace outside-the-box shapes . . . literally
Sure, raised beds are typically square or rectangular, but there's no rule that says they have to be. This creative gardener created an octagon-shaped bed with a "keyhole" that lets them access the innermost plants. There's also a compost cage in the center that feeds nutrients to the bed — so cool!
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Build extra-tall beds for improved ergonomics
If bending over to reach a low garden bed hurts your back, you can create taller raised beds like these! They're a little more complex to build and require more soil to fill, but we think the effort is worth it, as your beds will be more accessible and easy to tend to.
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Try quaint wicker walls to match your patio
How cute are these wicker raised beds? The woven walls are undeniably charming, and they'd look perfect on a patio alongside a set of wicker furniture. If you're hoping to recreate this look for yourself, Master Garden Products has a whole line of Willow Raised Beds, including several sizes and shapes.
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Make the most of sloped space
Another benefit of raised beds is that they can be built on sloped ground where you otherwise wouldn't be able to plant. These beds are the perfect example of this, as they're built alongside a fairly steep staircase, serving as a retaining wall, as well as a spot to plant herbs and veggies.
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Use raised beds to break up your yard
We love that this raised bed is doing double-duty — it's a convenient spot to plant vegetables or flowers, but it's also helping to separate the patio from the rest of the yard. The long, narrow design also makes plants easy to access. Win-win!
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Give your beds two tiers
If you're having trouble reaching — or seeing — the innermost section of your raised bed, you can make it easier to access by building a second tier. Case in point: These square metal beds have a second level that allows you to see the vibrant flowers more clearly thanks to their staggered heights.
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Use a fence as one side
Do you have a sturdy fence in your yard? You can use it as one side of your raised bed, creating a small garden that stretches along the edge of your yard. This is a great solution if you don't want to sacrifice too much yard space but still want to plant vegetables, flowers, or other greenery.