What is a Raised Bed Garden? – Raised Bed Gardening Tips

A raised bed garden provides a convenient way to grow vegetables at home. Compared to in-ground gardening that requires more space, a raised bed garden is an alternative for homeowners with limited gardening space, and rocky or poor soil. Also, it’s ideal for people with physical limitations and inappropriate soil drainage.


Raised bed gardens allow homeowners to grow vegetables at home regardless of their gardening experience or family size. The raised bed gardening idea has existed for centuries. Gardeners and farmers have grown plants on mounded soil for centuries. Most raised garden bed ideas revolve around raising the soil level to six inches or waist-high.

Also, gardeners enclose the gardens to ensure the soil doesn’t spill out. The enclosed soil forms planting beds measuring 3–4 feet wide. The size of the enclosed beds makes them ideal for a single person to maintain without disturbing or stepping onto the planting area.

What is a Raised Bed Garden? 

A raised bed garden is a form of garden where the gardener raises the soul above the ground and encloses it in some way. Gardeners use word, concrete, rock, and other materials to create raised garden bed structures. Generally, the planting bed sits atop the existing soil, and the height can be a few inches, waist-high, or even higher.

Usually, gardeners leave room around the outside of the bed to facilitate walking around without stepping on the raised bed. This prevents compacting the soil so that it stays fluffy and loose to facilitate root growth due to the free movement of water and air.

Raised bed gardens can have frames, made of sturdy plastic, cinder blocks, stones, bricks, broken concrete pieces, patio pavers, straw bales, corrugated metal, or wood. Gardeners create raised garden beds using materials that suit their landscapes and styles, whether reclaimed or purchased. Overall, building a raised garden bed is straightforward since they are also available in kits. Some garden centers sell raised garden bed kits that allow customization. Thus, you can one that’s easy to assemble and plant your favorite vegetables or herbs.

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

Building a raised garden bed is like constructing a sandbox. Hence, you may consider buying a raised garden kit if you lack DIY skills.


  • Screwdriver, driver/drill, and bits.
  • Tape measure or hand saw if you cut planks instead of buying from a lumber store.


  • For 2”x10”, 2”x8”, or 2”x6” lumber, get 3, 8-foot-long pieces for a 4×8 foot bed. 2 lumber pieces are ideal for a 4×4 bed.
  • You may ask the lumberyard attendants to cut your pieces in half if you do not have a saw at home. When making a 4×8 foot raised bed, cut one piece in half to get two pieces for the end measuring 4 feet long.
  • Exterior/deck screws
  • Use a 4×4 or 2×4 piece in the corners to get something stable to screw into instead of the board’s end grain.

How to Make Raised Garden Bed Sides

  • Mark the half point of the two 8-foot-long boards if the lumber store attendants didn’t cut them. Cut the planks in half if you want to make a 4ftx 4ft bed. That means you’ll get four planks.
  • Use decking screws to screw your planks together. Two holes at each plank’s end are enough. Use a drill bit to drill pilot holes, ensuring it’s slightly thinner than your screws. Ensure the plants overlap each other at the end, then screw directly, positioning the pilot holes correspondingly. You may need somebody to hold the plants while fastening the corners.
  • Cut the pine stake into four pieces for nailing the boards at the corner for bracing to create sturdier frames.

Assembling the Raised Bed 

Once you’ve cut the wood and drilled the holes, you can start putting the raised bed together. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Lay the beds down: You should lay out the walls to ensure the planks overlap with the pilot holes at the overlapping ends.
  • Use long screws to screw the walls and secure every wall to the next. Please ensure you get a snug, close fit.

How to Fill a Raised Garden Bed

  • Please fill the bed with a nutrient-rich compost mix. You can use a commercially produced or homemade mix.
  • If you use a compost mix, apply an enriched topsoil, suitable for vegetable gardening. It must have a fine texture to facilitate immediate planting or sowing.
  • Fill the bed to the top, bearing in mind that soil will eventually settle once you water it. Also, you can top off the soil with compost once it settles.

Your raised bed garden will be ready for plants or seeds once you fill it with a nutrient-rich compost mix.

What to Put in a Raised Garden Bed

Soil is essential for any garden, and the best ones have more organic matter. Organic matter feeds soil microbes while allowing water and oxygen to reach the roots. Hence, plants thrive in a garden with more organic matter. Here’s what you should put in your raised bed garden:

  • 40% topsoil: Potting soil is too fluffy, hence, unsuitable for raised garden beds. Therefore, use topsoil from a local farm supply store or garden center.
  • 40% compost: Compost has nutrients that plants need to grow. You can prepare it at home or buy it from a local garden center. Also, you can use aged manure. However, avoid fresh manure.
  • 20% aeration: For purposes of aeration, most bagged soil mixes have perlite, rice hulls, or pumice. If not, add something to facilitate drainage, such as lava rock.

You may visit a local landscape company if you want to fill several raised beds for cheaper building soil or compost mixes. Nevertheless, bagged products are ideal when filling up a single or small raised bed.

Raised Bed Garden Benefits

There are numerous advantages of raised bed gardens. While building a raised bed garden may be expensive, using locally available and recycled materials are inexpensive raised garden bed idea. Here are the raised bed garden benefits that may convince you to build yours.

  • Raised garden beds help gardeners maximize their space since they are smaller than conventional gardens. Hence, they are a convenient option for gardeners with space limitations.
  • Raised gardens drain well, preventing soil erosion.
  • Raised garden beds simplify gardening chores since the garden kneels and bends less, saving their back and knees from the pain and strain of tending to their plants.
  • A raised bed garden simplifies rotating and separating crops every year.
  • Gardeners can use raised beds as their solution for spaces with rocky or poor soil and sloppy terrain.
  • They provide improved soil quality and levels, facilitating access, minimizing maintenance, and simplifying harvest.
  • Raised beds have a high-quality soil mix with more organic matter, which facilitates drainage while increasing yields.
  • Raising the soil above the ground level makes it drain faster and warm up quicker, allowing for faster transplant growth and seed germination.
  • Dense planting in raised beds leads to higher production per garden area, reducing the germination rate for the weed seeds.
  • Gardeners can enter and maintain raised bed gardens after irrigation or rain without compacting the soil.
  • Raised bed gardens have a formal arrangement and orderliness that make them extremely attractive, a vital addition to a home landscape.

By implementing effective raised garden bed ideas, you can have a reliable source of vegetables and herbs for your household throughout the year.

Drawbacks of Raised Bed Gardens

Some potential drawbacks of raised beds include the following:

  • Permanent raised garden beds require deconstruction when relocating.
  • Raising the soil exposes it to cold or heat more than surface soil. Hence, it may dry faster during drought.
  • Raised garden beds require movement space, which can limit the available area for growing plants.

Despite these challenges, gardeners can choose raised bed layouts and designs that suit their spaces.

Raised Garden Bed Plans & Layout Ideas

What’s the best size of a raised garden bed? Ideally, narrow beds measuring up to 4 feet wide are ideal for home vegetable gardens. They enable the gardener to reach their center without stepping inside, which may disturb the soil structure or necessitate digging. Also, this size makes the beds ideal for people with limited mobility because they minimize bending. Somebody can also access the beds in a wheelchair. Here are more raised bed garden design tips to help with the layout.

Choose the Best Location for the Raised Bed Garden

An area that receives sufficient morning sun and less intense sun in the afternoon is ideal for a raised bed garden. Ideally, ensure your garden gets at least eight hours of sun.

Pick A Raised Bed Design That Enables You to Utilize the Available Space Effectively

Decide the size and number of raised beds to have in the available space. Remember, you’ll need spaces between the raised beds for easier movement when tending to the crops. Also, pay attention to the raised bed depth, which should be 12–24 inches. The distance between the raised garden beds should be 3–4 feet. This creates sufficient room for plants to grow.

Add Vertical Elements

You can create more gardening space by training plants on the trellis. Also, vining plants prefer being off the ground. You can position trellises on the garden bed’s north edge or adjacent to a wall or fence to maximize sunlight.

Plan the Raised Bed Garden Layout

You may start with a scaled version of your raised bed or use an online tool to get design ideas. Either way, ensure you have your raised beds idea.

Choose the Best Materials for Raised Garden Beds

Research various materials for building raised garden beds to know their pros and cons. Untreated wood is the best material for raised beds for most people. Other options include a cinder block raised garden bed, concrete raised garden bed, corrugated raised garden bed, and composite raised garden bed. Nevertheless, the best material for raised beds is affordable and durable.

Set Up a Watering System

Installing a watering system after installing the raised beds and planting can disrupt the transplants or seeds. Therefore, install a watering system before planting to ensure sufficient water supply to the garden without disrupting the plants.

Choose the Plants to Grow in Your Raised Bed Garden

Several factors influence the choice of vegetables to grow in a raised bed garden, including their size and growth habits. Nevertheless, you can grow tomatoes, spinach, cucumbers, carrots, spinach, onions, lettuce, potatoes, radishes, and peppers in a raised bed garden.

Parting Shot

Raised bed gardening enables gardeners to utilize the available space more efficiently. It enables them to maximize their investment of energy, money, and time. Nevertheless, whether a raised bed garden is ideal for you depends on your gardening goals. Hopefully, this article has offered valuable insights into raised bed gardens. Please share it with friends on social media. Also, explore this blog for more gardening tips and ideas. Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section.

Henry Mugambi

Henry Mugambi

Take a look at this guy. He's almost in his 40s, but he looks like he could be in his 20s. That's because he's a gardener—and a damn good one, too. He's been gardening since he was a little kid, and he loves nothing more than sharing his tips with others. He started blogging a few years ago, and his blog has since become a go-to source for gardening information. His audience trusts him because he knows his stuff, and he always offers sound advice that helps people get the most out of their gardens.

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