Raised flower beds have a lot of benefits. They help you control the soil a bit more than traditional gardens, and they make it a lot harder for pests or weeds to get into your crops. Plus, for those living in climates with a lot of moisture, raised beds can drain water a lot better than ground-level gardens. They’re also beautiful and simple to build on a weekend afternoon. If you’re interested in building your own raised flower bed, take a look at these step-by-step instructions (and get the kids involved for a fun family weekend activity!):
Pick the Perfect Spot
First step: Choosing where you want to put your raised bed. Depending on what types of flowers, vegetables or other plants you’re planning on growing, you’ll want to choose an area that gets a certain amount of sun or shade each day. If you’re planning on planting a mix, find a spot near the house that will be in the sun for several hours and in the shade for part of the day as well. Once you’ve found your spot, take some measurements to determine the dimensions of your frame.
Gather Your Materials
While you can build a raised bed using a stone or paved frame, by far the easiest material to use for the project is wood. So, using the dimensions you’ve decided upon, gather four pieces of 2-by-10 wood for the sides of your bed. You’ll also need four 16-inch 4-by-4 pieces of wood for the corner posts. Then find wood screws, a screwdriver, woodworking clamps and a level.
Build the frame upside down by arranging the four sides and placing the 4-by-4 posts in each corner (they’ll be sticking out above the frame). Use your screwdriver to fasten the sides to each other and then to the posts. Make sure the frame is even and level throughout the process.
Image source: IdealHomeGarden.com
Mark and Clear the Ground
When your frame is finished, set it upside down on the area you chose, and mark the ground underneath. Then, set the frame aside, and use a shovel and hoe to clear the ground that you marked of sod and loosen up the soil underneath. If you want, line the ground with landscaping fabric to prevent any weeds from taking over the raised flower bed.
Set Up the Raised Bed
Get ready to put the frame into position by using a trowel to scoop out soil from each of the four corners for the posts to fit into. Carefully fit the frame into the holes, and use your level to ensure the frame is completely level before packing down the earth around the posts to secure it. Trim any excess landscaping fabric.
Fill With Soil and Start Planting
Once the frame is in place, you can start to fill the bed with soil! Use about a half-and-half mixture of soil and organic compost (which can be made or bought from the garden store). The soil should fill the bed, stopping about three inches below the top of the frame. After smoothing the soil and moistening it slightly, start planting your flowers, veggies, shrubs or anything else you’d like to use. When the plants are in place, spread a layer of mulch across the top of the soil and you’re finished!
Remember: Because raised flower beds drain more quickly than traditional gardens, it’s important to stay on top of watering and fertilizing your plants. If your kids helped set up the bed, have them help you water the plants or seedlings regularly – that way, you’ll all have a hand in the beautiful raised garden you created together.