As the weather is improving, it’s the perfect time to get back to the garden. Raised garden beds are not only a great option for small spaces but they also provide an accessible way to garden if you or someone you are caring for has mobility issues.
Building a raised bed
If you are looking for a DIY project then building your own raised bed is certainly an option .The benefits of building your own raised bed are that you can tailor the shape and size to fit the space you have in your garden. The first thing to consider is which material you want to use to build your raised bed.
You may be considering a sleeper raised bed. Sleepers are a popular option and prove to be cost effective. You can find garden sleepers and raised bed kits at many of the popular DIY stores including Wickes. You may want to know exactly how to build a raised garden bed with sleepers , following step by step instructions is often preferable to trying to plan it yourself, especially if you are short on time.
Pallets are an option for an inexpensive raised garden bed as they can often be sourced for free or a small fee. The benefits of working with pallets is that they are versatile and can be used to create wall planters and even seating. If you want to know how to make a raised beds from pallets
A scaffold board raised bed is both robust and durable and again is another of our inexpensive raised garden bed ideas that we are sharing with you.
A common question – how deep should a raised bed be?
It is recommended that you have a depth of at least 8-12 inches (20-30cm) , some plants will need a greater depth of between 18-24 inches (45-60cm) and for root vegetables you may want to go deeper for the full 24 inches or 60cm.
Ready made raised beds
If you are more into contemporary raised beds, metal raised beds will achieve this aesthetic. The benefits of using metal is that it doesn’t rot and therefore will be both long-lasting and durable. You can find a great selection to choose from online.
Plastic raised beds, although less eco-friendly unless you choose recycled plastic, can be a cheap option and offer the ability to stack and build on top of each other giving you more flexibility to make the most of your outdoor area.
You can buy raised bed kits from Argos but they tend to be called garden planters or a planter box which will give you more results in your search.
A raised bed on legs or that is freestanding is a fuss free and sturdy option for your garden, if you want to decorate your patio with raised beds then this could be the best choice.
How to fill a raised bed
One of the most common questions is about whether you need a raised bed liner. You should line a raised bed as there are many benefits including soil insulation, pest and weed protection but whether you choose to do this with natural materials like grass clippings, wood chips and other organic material or you buy a ready made liner all comes down to personal choice.
Once you have your liner decided on it is time to think about the next step – the best combination is both soil and compost so a mix. If you have clay soils which tend to be difficult for plant growing then adding some gritty compost to the mix will solve this and mean you are ready to grow!
Knowing how much soil you need for your project can be tricky so take the guesswork out of the situation by using the raised bed soil calculator uk.
What to plant in raised beds
If you want to get the most use out of them then you should be thinking about all year round plants for raised beds.
Some options include:
- Lavender, which also attracts bees and offers many different varieties to suit your space.
- Evergreen shrubs, box balls for example can provide a great structure to your beds and will look great year-round.
Plants that grow well in raised garden beds:
If you have designs on becoming a vegetable gardener then raised garden beds are perfect for:
- Soft fruits: Such as strawberries, currants, raspberries and blackberries
- Vegetables: Almost any vegetable can be grown in raised beds
Raised bed covers
It is likely you will want a raised garden bed with a cover, after all of your hard work building or choosing your garden bed the last thing you want is for your plants or vegetables to be damaged by the elements or nature.
Protection covers come in different forms:
- winter cover
- pop up net cover
- cover frame
- cold frame
- support frame to which you can add shade netting or insect proof netting (micro mesh)
- cloche hoops with poly cover to create your own polytunnel
Benefits of raised beds
There are a number of benefits to gardening with raised beds:
- Accessibility – they can be built at thigh or waist height
- Reduces the risk of back and joint pain as no kneeling and less bending over
- They can be built any shape or size so great for limited spaces
- Good for beginners
- Less weeds
- Better drainage