How to Make Raised Planter Beds

Overview

Raised-bed gardening has additional benefits over traditional gardening methods. The raised beds are easier to access and maintain. Because the beds are raised, they drain well and since they receive much less foot traffic, the soil is less compacted. The soil properties are easily tailored to the desired crop, yielding more produce in less space. Design raised-bed gardens with a wide path between the beds to allow easy access.

Step 1

Choose an edging or wall material to hold back soil and contain the bed. Landscape timbers, rock walls, concrete block, bricks or synthetic lumber made of recycled plastic are all suitable. If using treated lumber, line the bed with plastic or place a plastic barrier between the lumber and the soil.

Step 2

Choose a sunny location for the raised planter beds. The ideal size for a bed is 4 feet wide and at least 6 to 12 inches deep and up to 24 inches deep. Deeper beds require extra support. This size makes it easy to reach all parts of the garden to care for the plants and allows plenty of room for plant roots.

Step 3

Remove grass and weeds from the area. Till the bed to loosen the soil for deep forming roots if your bed will be shallow.

Step 4

Build a retaining wall around the base of the bed. Offset bricks or landscape timbers to strengthen the design. For beds less than 2 feet tall, no mortar is required. If the bed wall is built of lumber, brace the boards at the corners with metal braces or by attaching them to a post with metal screws. Nails will not hold and will split the wood.

Step 5

Place 6-inches of a good quality soil mix in the planter beds. Dig this soil mix into the existing soil below mixing the soil.

Step 6

Fill the raised planter beds with a good quality soil mix with plenty of organic matter. Transplant seedlings into the bed. Make sure the plants receive plenty of water. Raised beds will dry out faster than soil at ground level.

Things You'll Need

  • Landscape timbers, bricks or other wall materials
  • Plastic liner, optional
  • Metal braces or posts, optional
  • Quality soil mix
  • Seedlings or plants

References

  • Colorado Master Gardener Program: Raised Bed Vegetable Gardens
  • University of Missouri Extension: Raised Bed Gardening
Keywords: raised beds, raised planter beds, raised-bed gardening

About this Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and content around the web. Watkins has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.