Building a raised bed is a very simple concept, is very easily achieved and is extremely easy to construct and assemble. No great skills are required and we should look at this exercise as a long term project rather than a challenge. It is important to bear in mind that a raised garden bed has many and numerous advantages over the standard or conventional open garden that we may have been using up to now. This raised bed gardening system will improve and enhance the growing area, it requires very little maintenance when complete and if given the right amount of care and attention it can in time, become a standout feature of our backyard or back garden. A raised bed can be used as a vegetable patch,  as a special flower garden area, for shrubs, it can be utilised as a salad patch or for the growing of herbs. The choices are endless and numerous.


What is a raised bed ?


A raised bed is a selected area over ground that is principally enclosed by wood or timber mostly, sometimes stone and or concrete blocks are also used in the construction of this project. The idea of a raised bed is to have a top-class growing area, that will produce great yields and will also enhance the growing experiences for all of us. These above ground gardening systems are a lot more likely to heat up earlier in the spring time and this allows for earlier sowing and planting. That critical factor gives us an added extra advantage over the traditional open garden patch, by virtue of the fact that we can plant sooner than that we did previously. We also have a longer growing period and the yields are far greater than the open ground backgardening as we knew it.  It also eliminates a lot on maintenance and weeding, thus giving us more time to concentrate on the more important issues associated with gardening in general.





Where to build a raised bed:


Select a nice sunny location and ensure that you can easily access the area from all sides and also that the area is reasonably level as this will enable moisture to be retained for longer. If your circumstances allow, locate your raised bed in a prominent position when, on entering your back garden it will stand out as an attractive feature and you can show it off to your neighbours family and friends. Another idea that people use a lot is, if at all possible, we could also position our raised bed where it could be seen from a kitchen or sitting room window.  From time to time some raised beds are positioned parallel to a garage or boundary wall and this can be beneficial to some gardeners who grow tall plants, as a trellis can be mounted on the wall to tie-in the tall plants.


Decide on dimensions and make a start;


Depending on the size of your back garden and how much space you can allot to the raised bed – ideally raised beds are 8-12ft. long and 4-6ft. wide. This will allow for any part of the bed to be accessible on all sides at all times. Most raised beds are anything from 10″-16″ deep. Knowing what dimensions you are using and where the bed is located, dig the existing surface as this will allow for the two soil types to integrate and also blend together. It will  allow for better drainage and aeration of the soil, something that is important to the raised bed ideals. Build a Raised bed with timber/wood to begin with, fix frame into rectangular shape around the area of the bed along the lines which we discussed above. A good idea is to insert four corner posts inside the frame at each corner and two more midway of the frame. This will ensure a strong, sturdy, robust frame to begin with. Nail or screw the planks to the corner posts thus securing it into position. If you could, use planks that are rather sturdy. Old discarded scaffolding planks are ideal for this project as these are universally 8 ft in length. Three of these will be sufficient – as this will give you an 8ft by 4ft structure for starters.

Almost there;


Infill this raised bed with good topsoil and a good quality compost, this is very important as this will be our foundation bed  going forward. This quality compost can be obtained at all good garden centres, there, you will also get professional advice on what type of mix to apply to your bed. You can ask for ideas on how to start sowing or planting that you may wish to begin with. Therefore to build and assemble a raised garden bed can be a very exciting and rewarding  project. The type of soil and soil mixture depends largely on what we want to plant and grow in our raised beds.

Best wishes and happy gardening to all……..

Philip Browne

” If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. — Cicero “