Given the great attraction that raised beds have today, its no surprise that gardeners and non-gardeners alike are constructing these raised beds from any type of material thats practical to use for this purpose. With the great conversation that’s around raised beds today, people are tripping over themselves in the race to get these systems in place, because they have good reason to do so from listening to those that have them and what they are reading about them online and in other media. The whole concept of raised beds was to make gardening more pleasurable and more enjoyable, but the main purpose was to improve the quality of the soil by adding some enriching compost and other organic materials that would give us a greater advantage over the old method that we used up to recently.
For those gardening people who think outside the box and every now and again have pushed the boundaries when it comes to generating great and innovative ideas for raised beds, we have now some great plans, designs and templates for these structures as a result of their inventiveness. The materials that which are used to construct these bed frames and systems vary a lot, but the most commonly used is timber or lumber. We will look at some of the best materials which go to make up these structures and discuss their pros and cons.
I would go so far as to say that at least 80% of raised beds in the world are made from lumber or timber as its otherwise known as, in other countries. Why timber I hear you ask… well the prime reason that we use this material is probably its flexibility and the ease with which it is to work with. Lets take stock for a moment and see why this is so. Given that we have four lengths of lumber cut to specific measurements, all we now need to do is nail or screw these lengths together and there we have our raised bed frame, assembled in a matter of minutes. Granted we must source the wood from a hardware store, but the end result will outweigh the cost in terms of value for money. Provided its wood of a good standard, it should last for approx 10 yrs. all going well. The other benefit of this system as a raised bed is, if we are not happy with its location,we can always move it to a better area.
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Concrete or cinder blocks;
If we are looking for a solid structure for our raised beds, one option is to use builders concrete blocks or cinder blocks to make the walls. This will obviously be a permanent fixture and the advise here first and foremost, is to select a desireable, sunny location, close to a water source if possible. We will need to lay down a foundation initially and then build the walls of our raised bed on top of this. This structure should last for years and will hopefully return our investment many times over in terms of value for money. The other added feature of a structure like this is, we can use the walls to kneel on or maybe sit on from time to time and admire our handywork. But the unseen benefit that we won’t notice is tat concrete in general retains heat and this is themn transferred to the soil when the sun goes down, giving an oven type effect to our bed, which will improve our growing conditions exponentially.
Cost approx………$200 – $350
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Another type of material that we can use is galvanise sheets which are readily available at all hardware stores and are generally inexpensive to buy. We may not get the lengths that we may be looking for as these sheets come in fairly lengthy sizes, so we may have to cut these to suit our dimensions. However that is easily achieved by asking the assistant at the hardware store to cut them to our desired measurements and they would gladly do so, perhaps for a small extra fee. By using this material all we need are four corner posts that would be well driven into the ground, in order to support the galvanise sheets. We may need an extra post centreways to give added support if the sheets are say eight ft. or longer. This would prevent the sheets from buckling or bending from the weight and pressure of the soil in the bed.
Cost approx………..$ 150
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Solid stone or rock;
This is by far the most labor intensive project and is also the most expensive form of a raised bed that we may wish to use. However if we are looking for an extravagent design and professional finished appearance to our raised bed garden, these are the materials to use. The stone option will again require a foundation, but this exercise will probably need a stonemason or builder to complete this project, unless we are somewhat skilful as a DIYer. The size, depth and length of this exercise is all contingent on our budget, but the finished appearance will have been worth every penny. It can be completed to a high quality standard and again will last for years and years. The advantages of a raised bed of this quality are similar to the concrete block project and will return as good if not better yield for our vegetables and crops.
Cost approx…………$750 – $1000.
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The only limitations on a project like this is of course, our budget, but that should not stop us from creating and constructing a garden system that will suitably satisfy our desire to have a top of the range raised bed garden. There are numerous and countless examples of designs for us to ponder on, in our quest to have the ideal showpiece garden, mainly for our growing needs. Once again we are sociable and as ever do get in contact via the comments box down under.
Wishing you all many happy hours in the garden,
“We are exploring together.
We are cultivating a garden together, backs to the sun.
The question is a hoe in our hands and we are digging,
beneath the hard and crusty surface,
To the rich humus of our lives.”
― Parker J. Palmer,