Create a Raised Bed for Easy Gardening

Darrell Youngquest
Updated May 26, 2017
Add a raised garden bed to your landscaping plan. (Photo by Frank Espich)

Raised beds are a secret weapon for many gardeners.

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Whether you’re looking for big blooms or great harvests, raised beds take the guess work out of tricky landscapes. They offer easy access for planting and harvesting, and unlike in-ground planting, the soil isn’t compacted.

Gardeners who have sub-par soil or rocky landscapes can create a healthy growing space by adding a raised bed.

Raised beds have better drainage and less compaction than the rest of your yard, making it easy for plants to grow strong roots. And their clearly defined borders work to keep out and weeds and grass. Raised beds can usually be planted early spring, but they also dry out quicker after watering.

How to build a raised garden bed

To create a raised bed, first you want to come up with a plan. Think about what you want to grow and start by evaluating your yard. Choose a sunny spot that has easy access to water or a hose. Take the mature size of a plant into consideration when laying out your garden bed.

You may also want to add more raised beds once you’ve started growing, so check to see if there’s room to expand nearby.

Select materials for your bed or buy a pre-made kit from your local garden center. Raised beds can be built out of wood, bricks, cement blocks or other salvaged materials.

Measure and stake the area for your raised bed. Build the bed in an area that receives maximum sunlight. Most raised beds are between three and six feet wide, with the most popular sizes being between 4x4’ and 4x8’. Make sure you can reach the center of the bed from either side.

Build a bed that’s deep enough for the root zone of your plants and fill with an organic soil, such as The Espoma Company’s Garden Soil. Once assembled, use a garden fork to loosen the ground before adding your new soil.

Soil will settle after a rain, but don’t worry if the soil level looks low. Wait until after you’ve planted your bed to fill in low spots with more soil.

With so many different options, choosing what to grow in your raised bed vegetable garden can seem impossible. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Pizza raised bed garden

Fresher and better tasting than deliver, make your own pizza with ingredients from your own garden. Mix tomatoes, peppers and herbs like basil and oregano and oregano for the perfect pizza recipe. Plant onions and herbs near the front of the garden, and taller growing peppers and tomatoes toward the back.

Grilling raised bed garden

Grow everything you’ll need to grill superb veggies this summer by planting one of each of your favorite plants. Try planting vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, peppers, cherry tomatoes and onions for the best kabobs this summer.

Salad raised bed garden

Colorful mixed greens look great in a salad bowl, and even better when grown next to each other in a raised bed garden. Utilize the colors and textures of different varieties to turn your raised bed design into an artistic masterpiece. Create simple and satisfying summer salads from fresh greens you’ve clipped right in your own yard.

Grow vining plants in your raised garden bed with some lattices or tomato cages. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Marisha C.)

Colorful blooms raised bed garden

If you love bouquets of bright and cheery flowers, mix and match some of your favorites in a raised bed. Pick flowers with various bloom times to continue cutting throughout the seasons. Choose flowers in similar colors for a monochrome look or create a mix. Add gerbera daisies, alliums, pansies and nasturtiums for a bed that is spilling over with bright blooms.

Fall gems raised bed garden

Create a low-maintenance fall garden bed by picking plants with beautiful, deep colors. Asters and seedums pair nicely with goldenrod. And once the season is over, simply cut plants back to the ground.

Once you’ve planted your raised bed, sit back and enjoy. To decide what’s right for your region and yard, visit your local garden center for recommendations for your raised bed.

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As of May 29, 2017, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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