Raised beds have several advantages over traditional garden plots: improved soil drainage, increased crop production, ease of crop management, better space utilization and decreased soil compaction. A raised bed can simply be a planted mound that sits above the rest of the landscape, but for a neater appearance and decreased soil erosion, the best raised bed garden plans incorporate some type of border for your raised bed. Borders can be made from many different materials: cement blocks, bricks, flat rocks, railroad ties, or wood.
Wood Framed Raised Bed
Wooden frames are one of the easiest types of raised bed borders to construct. A wooden raised bed frame can be constructed out of many types of wood, but redwood and cedar are common choices. Other wood materials that are commonly used are landscaping timbers and railroad ties. Taller raised beds can be accommodated by stacking an additional wooden frame atop the first, and continuing the process until you have reached the desired height.
Brick Bordered Raised Bed
A brick raised bed border is an attractive way to showcase your flowers and vegetables. (Kohut) A brick border can be made quite easily with a single row of bricks or by staggering one row of bricks atop another until the desired height for your raised bed is reached. For a more rustic look, used bricks can be utilized instead of new ones.
Raised Bed with Railroad Tie Walls
Railroad ties can be used to make a wall for your raised bed, but you must be sure that they are old and no longer oozing creosote (a black, sticky substance), which could injure your plants. They are thick enough to sit on, so that you can garden comfortably, or for an even deeper bed, add a second row of ties.
Raised Bed with a Dry Stacked Rock Wall
Dry stacked rock walls work well with raised beds and can be built to any desired height. This type of raised bed border is very versatile and a raised bed made with this border is not limited to a square or rectangular plan. Fill small gaps with sphagnum moss or small, trailing plants to prevent soil loss and provide a unique look.
Raised Beds with Concrete Block Walls
Building a wall for your raised bed with concrete blocks requires a more complex plan, but they also allow for more versatility. Drive rebar into the ground in the center holes of the initial row and crushed rock should be used to then fill them. More rows can be added to acquire the desired height and creative plans can be achieved, such as making the back walls higher than the front in a corner bed. Flat stones placed on top of the top row gives your wall a naturally finished look.