Easy-to-maintain raised beds make it possible to grow veggies and herbs almost anywhere.
Raised beds are ideal for small yards and provide a fast way to start a garden, especially if you have rocky or unworkable soil.
Plants like raised beds, too. Raised beds warm up quickly in spring and drain fast after heavy rains – a winning combination for fast-growing vegetables and herbs.
The most popular sizes for raised beds are 4 x 4 feet and 4 x 8 feet, and many easy-to-assemble kits come in these two sizes. If you want a custom-sized bed, frame it with boards or termite-proof decking planks held in place with corner connectors made for raised beds.
Make a Simple Raised Bed:
- Select a location. Choose a spot that receives at least six hours of sun each day. Remove grass, weeds, rocks and roots from the top few inches of soil. Correct slopes in the edges of the bed using a level. Excavate or fill in soil as needed to create a level base for all four edges of the bed.
- Assemble or build the bed. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for assembling a raised bed kit. If you are using boards or decking planks and corner connectors, pound two of them into position and install a board before moving on to the other corners. Ask a Garden Center associate to help decide what type of material to use. Check the bed to make sure it is very close to level. If necessary, use gravel to support undersides of bed to level.
- Fill the bed. Fill 1/3 of the bed with a layer of tree and shrub planting mix, 1/3 with packaged garden soil and the final 1/3 with composted manure. Rake lightly to mix and settle the soil mixture. Expect soil to settle after a rain, but don’t worry if the soil level looks low. You will lose less soil to spillage if you wait until after planting your bed to fill in low spots.
The easiest way to empty a big bag of garden soil is to place the unopened bag in the bed and then cut a large X in the bag. Flip the bag over, and pull the corners of the bag up to release its contents.
- Raised bed kit or board or decking planks (dimensions determined by size of raised bed)
- Garden spade
- Carpenter’s level
- Wheelbarrow or garden cart
- Utility knife
- Bags of tree and shrub planting mix
- Bags of garden soil or topsoil
- Bags of composted manure
- Optional: Corner connectors
- Optional: Small stones