Gardening can be extremely rewarding, but there’s no denying that it can also be very challenging. Even if you’re good at taking care of plants, a lot of factors can work against you. Sometimes the soil in your yard simply makes it hard for things to grow in it. In other cases, it feels like trying to plant things is pointless when you have problems with animals who keep digging in your gardens. Not to mention that gardening can also be very physically demanding.
One way to enjoy gardening while sidestepping some of the challenges that come with it is by building raised garden beds. Since raised garden beds keep your plants and flowers above ground level, you don’t have to do as much bending and reaching to take care of them. If you live in an area with a high water table, garden boxes will prevent your garden from getting waterlogged and allow for better drainage after rainfalls. The elevated design also helps soil warm up faster than soil in the ground, giving you the ability to start planting earlier in the spring.
You can grow just about anything in a raised garden bed, including herbs, vegetables, flowers, plants, and in some cases, even smaller shrubs. Garden boxes can work in any yard, even if you don’t have a very big yard. Like window boxes, raised garden beds are an excellent option for small yards since they allow you to use space more efficiently than planting in rows in the ground.
Many home improvement and gardening stores sell kits to build raised garden beds, but you don’t have to limit yourself to those. Raised garden beds are very easy to inexpensively build on your own using planks of pressure-treated wood or cedar. Lowe’s has a great, step-by-step tutorial about building raised garden beds. Garden boxes don’t necessarily have to be wood, either. Concrete cinder blocks are another popular option for raised garden beds since you can use the holes on the sides of the blocks as an extra space to plant things.
Garden boxes can be built to be any size you’d like them to be, but 4-by-8 and 4-by-12 foot sizes are the most common. The four-foot width is so popular because it makes it easy to access everything in the garden bed without having to do too much reaching and without having to actually step into the garden bed.
Do you have a dog or have problems with other animals getting into your garden? The extra height of a raised garden bed can act as a deterrent to animals, but for added security, you may also want to consider adding some chicken wire to the top of your garden bed. If the animals causing problems are animals that burrow, such as moles, laying some mesh in the bottom of the planter can help keep them out.
Before you start building your garden box, take some time to consider the needs of what you’ll be planting. Make sure you’re placing it in a way that will let your plants and flowers get the amount of sunlight they need and that you build it deep enough for roots to grow properly. And remember that while you can plant more than one type of thing in one garden bed, make sure the plants will cooperate well with each other and one type of plant won’t overtake the others.