Raised Planting Beds
Raised bed gardening or landscaping is when the soil is formed in any shape that is six inches to waist high above the surrounding soil. The bed can be raised by a variety of materials like wood, rock, or concrete block. Depending on what you are using the bed for will determine the material that will look best and serve its purpose.
Raised beds that are being used for vegetable growing are generally constructed using timber and lined a certain way to create the ideal environment for vegetables to grow. A raised bed that sits out in the landscape, perhaps near waterfall areas or on hillsides will be constructed using natural stone or boulders. Areas that we design within the outdoor living area are generally done using decorative concrete block or natural stone. When we design our outdoor living areas we will sometimes separate areas of different height or separate rooms by designing and installing raised planting beds. For our customers, we have two options for areas like this. We generally use Techo Bloc concrete wall block or we will form a concrete wall using concrete cinder blocks and use a cut stone on the face of the wall. The plants in the planting bed will then “soften up” the hardscape.
Below are few notes when considering installing a raised planting bed:
- Consider the existing soil:
- Thick, clay does not absorb water well, easily compacts, and does not warm up or dry out easily. Raised beds are a simple way to improve drainage and allow the soil to dry out sooner.
- Sandy soil dries out too quickly so added organic matter helps absorb the water.
- Urban soils are sometimes contaminated or poor quality and the use of raised beds helps to support gardening with added compost.
- Knowing your soil nutrient levels and pollutants levels is recommended. Soil tests are recommended in urban areas where lead can be a major concern.
- Raised beds are generally associated with a more intensive style of growing plants and can provide more usable growing space.
- Raised beds add enjoyment and the ability to participate in gardening for people who are physically challenged.
- Raised beds with children can delineate the garden space.