If you’re an avid gardener, chances are you’ve heard of raised gardens. Unlike garden planters, these gardens have open bottoms and a plethora of benefits both for you and the plants.
Whether you’re motivated by aesthetics or your green thumb, this guide should help inform and inspire you as you build (or buy) you own raised garden.
Table of contents
Why build a raised garden?
There are plenty of reasons you might need or want a raised garden. We’ve gone over a few of the most common reasons people build them.
If the soil in you area is sandy, hard, or clay-like, you might have trouble growing certain types of plants or any plants at all. In that case, having a raised garden allows you to create the perfect soil conditions for whatever you’re growing.
Plus, if you are trying to get into micro-farming or are interested in growing a variety of plants, you can have multiple sections or just multiple gardens with different soil conditions to optimize growth.
Kids, Pets, and Pests
Let’s face it, there are plenty of things that crawl on the ground that we don’t want in our gardens. Children and pets pulling up unripe veggies or bugs and weeds chomping and choking out plants before they’ve had time to grow is not ideal. Having a raised garden can help mitigate these issues.
Having a raised garden extends your growing season by allowing your soil to get warmer sooner and stay warm longer. That means you can grow more delicate varieties of plants, like seedlings and transplants.
Additionally, raised gardens help promote root health. Because you can achieve optimal soil conditions, plants will grow deeper and stronger roots as they search for water. Plus, there’s better drainage in raised gardens than most pots and some soil, so you won’t need to worry much about rotting roots.
If the above reasons haven’t convinced you, then perhaps this will. Having a raised garden is often better for the gardener too.
Not only does it make plant maintenance more manageable (for the reasons listed above) it also gives your back a break. First, you will not have to bend over as far, and second if your garden is built well, you’ll be able to sit on the edge as you do your weeding.
How to Build a Basic Raised Garden
One great thing about this project is that it can pretty easily adapt to any budget. Below, we’ll give you the breakdown for how to build a simple raised garden. However, the materials and method can easily be altered to suit your individual tastes.
Here’s what you’ll need for a basic raised garden:
- Durable, high-quality hardwood of choice
- Try oak, cedar, or redwood.
- The length depends on how big you want the garden to be.
- We recommend getting wood that’s 2″ thick and 8-12″ wide.
- Drill and Screws (3 1/2 inch deck screws should work fine)
- Soil and Compost
The first thing you’ll need to do is prep. Clear and level the area where you want to build your garden and stop by your local hardware store to have your wood cut to size. You should have two pairs of boards with equal lengths.
Next, mark where you want to put your screws, making sure to account for the soil you’ll be adding when deciding how many to use. Pre-drill the holes; then, fasten the boards together at the corners.
Now that your frame is assembled, line the bottom of the box with a few layers of newspaper. This will suffocate any pesky grass or weeds left behind before breaking down and feeding into the soil.
Once you’ve finished layering up the bottom, it’s time for the soil. Try to make a dark, rich mixture of about 50-60% topsoil and 40-50% compost.
That’s it! You’re ready to plant.
Now that you know the basics, you can experiment with different materials, heights, shapes, etc. As long as your garden is open to the ground, you’re good to go. Try using cinder blocks, thicker or thinner wood, or even corner posts. You can also try adding a bench to the side or other fun decorations.
Below, we have 119 ideas to help you clarify your own vision and get started on this exciting project!