“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” -Alfred Austin
Gardening is indeed good for body and soul—but it can be awfully hard on the back and the knees. Enter the raised garden bed; a wonderful gardening option that makes it easier for everyone to embrace the pleasures of gardening.
Not only is raised bed gardening easier physically, but the beds can also be a beautiful design element in your landscape. Rows of raised garden boxes are formal and orderly, the paths between them an opportunity to add additional decorative materials to your yard. Scroll through our favorite raised garden bed ideas and find the inspiration to create your own raised bed garden design today.
1. Raised Garden Bed Ideas Against a Wall
If your home has a sunny wall out back, placing your raised garden against it is a good idea. Some mid-century homes included this style of built-in planter box. If you’re lucky enough to have one—and it gets enough sunlight—this is an ideal place to locate your garden bed. If not, it’s fairly simple to build a DIY raised garden bed along a wall or fence.
Cinder blocks, stacked stone, bricks, and recycled wood are all excellent materials for creating a raised garden bed along a wall. Keep your garden bed around 24″ deep, so it’s easy to reach all the way to the back. An ideal depth for a raised bed garden is 12 to 24 inches. If you’re growing climbing or flowering vines, be sure to hang a trellis behind the bed garden so the vines have something to grab onto.
2. Raised Garden Bed Ideas for Backyard Farms
Raised bed gardening is perfect for today’s small backyard farms. Instead of classic rows of vegetable varieties planted directly in the ground, raised garden boxes house each type of vegetable. These neat raised garden bed grids are easier to navigate and manage than old-style vegetable garden rows.
If your backyard farm includes animals, raised garden boxes can protect your valuable plants from becoming a snack. Protect your vegetable or herb garden from birds, rabbits, raccoons, and other wild animals with wire caging or a removable pest gate. These structures protect your plants when you’re not around, but you can remove them easily to tend to your backyard farm garden.
3. Easy Raised Garden Bed Ideas
One of the easiest ways to get started in raised bed gardening is to purchase a complete garden bed kit. You can assemble these prefabricated raised garden beds quickly. If you cannot find a prefab garden bed, consider using galvanized stock tanks instead. These also add a fun farmhouse vibe to your landscape.
You can also make a raised bed garden by stacking cinder or concrete blocks into short walls. You can finish this simple raised bed design option in a day. Plus, it’s inexpensive. Use them for growing food, but reserve at least one for use as a flower bed if you enjoy fresh-cut flowers. Or plant flowers into the openings on each cinder block to encircle your vegetable garden with a flowering border.
4. Enclosed Raised Garden Bed Ideas
An enclosed raised garden bed is one that has a wire enclosure around its top. This type of garden box is helpful if you have a lot of pests where you live. The enclosure is usually a wooden frame with chicken wire or another type of wire panel. This type of garden enclosure allows you to protect your precious produce, herbs, or flowers.
Your garden enclosure may be as tall as a room or much shorter. Some small bed garden boxes have hinged tops that you can lock at night and open whenever you need to pull weeds or pick produce. Watch the following video to learn how to create a DIY garden bed with an enclosure:
5. Raised Flower Garden Bed Ideas
A raised flower bed adds so much beauty to your yard—front, back, or side. You can buy garden planters in a huge variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Set them alone to showcase a mixed container garden, or group them for a lovely overall garden design.
Formal and informal flower garden design works with raised bed gardening. Wildflower groupings can look as though they transpired completely naturally, providing an informal garden feel. You can achieve formality by layering tall, medium, short, and trailing plants to make a florist-like arrangement. Be sure to use soil types specifically created for growing plants with flowers.
6. Raised Garden Bed Landscape Ideas
Raised garden beds can fit nicely into any landscape. If you love the look of baskets, make your raised bed gardens from woven wattle. You can make this attractive raised garden bed idea from twigs woven in a basket-weave pattern. Their circular shape adds beauty to the landscape, and you can use teepee trellises to support climbing plants.
Add creativity to your garden plan by alternating the materials you use to create each garden bed. For example, place a round galvanized container garden between two wooden garden boxes. Make a wooden bed garden from recycled redwood, repurposed wood pallets, or treated lumber designed for that purpose. Refrain from using recycled railroad ties, as they can leach harmful chemicals into your soil.
7. Raised Garden Bed Layout Ideas
The way you lay out your raised bed garden design will depend on your yard’s size and how much sunlight your plants will need. A bed garden may be one small container, or your garden design may include multiple planter options arranged throughout your yard. Keep the size of your gardening zone in proportion to the size of your house and yard.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your planter and garden design. Arrange pie-shaped elevated garden bed structures around a center sculpture or fountain. Visually soften the edges of your growing area by laying grass-covered paths between garden boxes. If you’d rather not mow grass paths, cover the ground with landscaping fabric and top it with a thick layer of beautiful gravel or mulch.
8. Metal Raised Garden Bed Ideas
Metal is a popular choice for raised garden bed planter design, especially for those who enjoy farmhouse style. Galvanized stock tanks are one of the easiest metal raised garden bed options. If those are too big for your yard, look for smaller metal or metal-and-wood options. A small kitchen garden can grow on a patio by filling a galvanized tub with composted soil.
Make a wooden planter frame, then fill each side with corrugated metal panels for a modern metal and wood combination. Metal garden edging is easy to install and perfect for retaining shorter, curved gardening beds. Note that the one downside to including metal in your planter or edging design is that it can rust over time. If that happens, your garden may not look as neat as you wish—although some people prefer the look of a rusty patina.
9. Sloped or Multilevel Raised Garden Bed Ideas
A multilevel or sloped yard requires a raised garden bed planter design that adapts to the landscape. Multilevel bed garden ideas include arranging planters in a stair-step design, with taller plants on the higher levels and shorter ones below.
The soil itself within a large raised bed can slope to fit the natural curves of the ground beneath. Square foot gardening can work well along a slope, with each 4×4 planter stacked in slightly overlapping rows.
10. Small Raised Garden Bed Ideas
In some ways, a small raised garden bed is the easiest bed to manage. Although your vegetable harvest may not be large, it’s easier to fill up a smaller raised bed. A smaller bed garden also has less room for weeds, making daily maintenance a faster proposition.
Small raised garden boxes are also more economical than a series of large raised garden beds. A keyhole garden has a shape like a pie with a wedge cut out, or a boxy U-shaped structure. These small raised garden beds can hold a surprisingly large number of plants. Create an instant small raised garden by inserting soil and seedlings directly into a straw bale, as illustrated in this video:
11. Raised Vegetable Garden Bed Ideas
Vegetables tend to do very well in raised bed gardens because it’s easy to create the perfect soil type. Also, the beds warm up faster in the spring, which can extend your growing season. Growing vegetables with edible roots, such as carrots and beets, in a raised bed garden makes harvest time easier.
A raised bed vegetable garden benefits from a drip irrigation system, especially during hot summer months. Low flow irrigation systems such as micro-sprinklers or a soaker hose network are easy to regulate and they’re unlikely to overwater your soil.
12. Raised Garden Beds Ideas With Legs
If your soil is overly wet, you’ll want to build a raised garden bed with legs to avoid ground moisture from ruining your soil integrity entirely. Having space between the planter and the ground will help you regulate the moisture levels correctly and ensure that your beds have adequate drainage.
Garden beds on legs can be large or small, and you can adjust them to make gardening easy for your height. You can also find garden boxes designed with an open shelf beneath the planting area. Follow the directions in this video to learn how to build a simple raised bed patio planter on legs:
13. Raised Garden Bed Ideas With Trellises
If you want to plant climbing roses, green beans, morning glory, or other climbing vines, you will need a trellis in your raised garden bed. A trellis can be a classic, grid-shaped structure between the raised bed and a wall or fence. Or a trellis can be a teepee-like structure made of poles radiating from the edges of a circular planter, meeting at the top.
Climbing plants add visual interest to your raised bed garden, whether you use it for growing flowers or vegetables. Create a natural barrier between two garden boxes by placing a trellis between them. Within months, your vines will grow to create a green wall between the two areas.
14. Wood or Pallet Raised Garden Bed
Raised garden beds made from reclaimed wood pallets add a rustic vibe that is welcome in many home gardens. You can paint, stain, or leave your wood bare, depending on the look you’re after. Use extra wood to make a rim wide enough to sit on while tending your plants. Some wood garden bed plans include instructions to build a seat on one or more sides.
Wood beds do require a bit more maintenance than some other options, but you can also add onto them easily if you want to expand or create a deeper bed.
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