Raised flower beds are the perfect solution when space constraints and soil conditions are poor. While numerous manufactured raised bed kits are on the market, the cost of these kits can be prohibitive when you live on a fixed budget. Instead of breaking the bank, you can create and build your own raised flower bed. Building your own bed not only saves you money but also allows you to customize your bed's shape and size according to your needs.
Design your raised flower bed by factoring in the location, space constraints and the types of flowers you wish to grow. If you want to plant several perennial bulbs, you'll need a deeper bed than if you want to plant annuals from seed. Determining what you want to grow will help you plan your budget for seed, bulbs and starter plants.
Research the cost of buying starter plants versus seeds and bulbs. There are numerous discount seed retailers, locally and online, that will allow you to purchase exactly the type of flower you want without overspending. The cost of starter plants, whether purchased online or at your local nursery, can add up quickly.
Choose a pattern for constructing your raised bed. The least expensive method of constructing a frame involves attaching lumber, usually 2" x 6" pieces, to wood posts. Smaller beds can be made by constructing the frame using lumber and brackets only.
Choose the type and size of lumber and corner posts preferred to construct the frame of the flower bed. Many wood products are treated with arsenic and other toxic chemicals that can leach into the soil and corrupt plants. If you choose pressure-treated lumber, you will need to lay down landscaping fabric to cover the sides and prevent the soil from coming into contact with the wood. Cedar and redwood are rot-resistant and do not contain toxic properties; however, the cost may be higher depending on where you purchase supplies.
Take your flower bed measurements with you when shopping locally, and ask if the supplier can cut the wood to your measurements. This service is generally available for a minimal cost, and will save you the cost of renting equipment. Keep in mind that the deeper you make the bed, the more soil you will have to buy. A raised bed with a depth of 2 feet is sufficient for most bulbs and seedlings.
Determine how much soil you will need to fill each bed by measuring the width, length and depth of the bed's interior. Round measurements up to the next foot, then multiply these three measurements to determine volume in cubic feet. Divide the volume by 3 to determine cubic yards. Most suppliers sell loose top soil by the cubic yard or in individual bags.
Compare the price of top soils and potting soils, sold by the bag or in bulk. Using top soil from your own property, while free, can become a headache if the soil contains lots of weed seeds and diseases that will harm your flowers. Prepackaged potting and top soils are generally treated to destroy disease and weed seeds.