Elevated garden beds are excellent for yards with poor or compacted soil. Not only do they look stunning in a backyard garden, they also ease the workload that comes with maintaining traditional, in-ground beds. Plants are lifted out of the way of rowdy pets and little ones, and your soil warms up earlier and stays that way longer, extending the growing season.
Types of Raised Garden Beds
Raised garden bed plans and kits come in different styles and sizes. Some of the least expensive kits are made from raw, natural wood or wood treated with natural wood stabilizers. Cedar is the most common wood used for raised beds because of its durability and resistance to rot.
Vinyl, plastic and composite raised garden beds are strong and durable containers that are built to last. Next in terms of price are kits made from a blend of hardwood fibers and post-consumer recycled plastic.
Locating a Raised Garden Bed
Build your beds somewhere that receives at least five to six hours of daily sunlight — the more, the better! Orient them north to south to prevent plants from shading each other out.
Filling a Raised Garden Bed
Protect against pests by lining the bottom of the bed with weed block, newspaper, cardboard or landscape fabric. Fill your beds with the best soil possible. For most applications, a good basic mix is made from 60-percent topsoil, 30-percent compost and 10-percent potting mix. Add enough soil mix to fill the bed. Some settling will occur. And beware of adding anything to your beds that may contain weed seeds or herbicide chemicals.