How to use raised beds in your garden
Raised beds in your garden can have many different uses and solve several gardening problems. Although raised beds can be built from a wide variety of materials, often wood is the easiest and most popular material to use. If you’re looking to buy raised beds or create your own from scratch, wood is easy to cut to size and quick to install, plus requires less ground preparation compared to other materials such as bricks or concrete blocks.
Creating raised beds in your garden can be useful for a number of reasons, let’s take a look at some of these.
Raised vegetable and fruit growing areas
When creating a new vegetable or fruit growing area, using raised beds can usually provide easier access by preventing you from bending down with such gardening tasks as sowing seeds and digging. This can be particularly useful for those with mobility issues.
If your garden has very heavy or sandy soil, raised beds also allow you to create exactly the soil conditions within the bed you require for certain vegetable groups such as asparagus and winter salad crops. Raised beds for your vegetable patch also allow you to create hotbeds to produce early season crops.
Raised growing beds can help your plants to gain more sunlight if parts of your garden are usually in shade. Additional sunlight exposure may also help to warm up your soil, potentially extending your growing season.
Raised flower beds
Raised beds can often be used to divide or compartmentalise a garden space to create more interest and draw attention to certain aspects of your plot. Plus, when used around a seating area they provide additional shelter and privacy.
Another benefit is that often a raised bed can display a flowering plant to a much better effect than when grown on the ground – particularly with plants such as Helleborus, where the flowers naturally tend to hang down from the plant.
Creating additional height for screen planting
When creating a planting screen to shield you from an unwanted view or views into your garden, starting by creating a raised bed is often a good idea. It instantly adds some height to the project increasing the overall effect of the shrubs or plants used. Furthermore, the raised bed can act as a strong foundation from which to build your planting screen, so it can withstand the elements a little better.
Creating a retaining wall using a raised bed kit or wood sleepers can be an effective way to improve your garden aesthetics and practicality. Again, wood is perhaps the most cost-effective way to produce a retaining wall, often easier and quicker than using concrete blocks or bricks.
It’s important to remember when creating retaining walls or raised beds to install some drainage behind the wall as it’s typically not the weight of the soil that will cause stress on the wall, it’s the weight of the water contained within the soil. Therefore, adding a simple drainage pipe behind the wall or raised bed will allow the water to drain away and should protect the integrity of your structure.