Raised Planters and Beds
To get the best results when gardening using raised planters and beds, it’s important to build beds of a suitable height and which are easily accessible depending on your needs. Other points to consider include building in effective drainage and maintaining excellent soil quality by adding plenty of organic matter to provide your flowers, fruit, and veg with plenty of nutrients. Here, we take a look at some of the questions our customers often ask us about gardening using raised beds and planters.
How to build a raised garden bed
Most gardeners use treated softwood planks or sleepers to construct their raised beds. To build your beds, dig out a level trench into which you’ll place your sleepers, carefully checking using a spirit level to ensure they’re level. Next, screw the wood together at the corners. If you’re going for taller raised beds, add subsequent layers of wood, using battens to provide structural stability. Always line beds built from treated timber to prevent chemicals from leaching into the soil. Alternatively, browse and buy one of our easy-to-assemble raised bed kits made from wood, metal or recycled materials.
How to fill raised beds
When you’ve built your bed to the required height, peel back any topsoil and loosely fork the ground beneath before replacing the turf grass-side down so that it rots. Now fill your beds with a mixture of two parts compost or well-rotted manure, two parts sharp sand, and seven parts topsoil – adjust this mixture depending on what you’re planning to grow.
What to put on the bottom of raised garden beds
With shallow raised beds up to 1ft in depth, peeling back the turf and forking the ground beneath should provide adequate drainage. For deeper beds and beds built on poorly draining substrata, place rubble in the base to improve drainage and reduce the quantity of the soil mixture required to fill the bed.
What to plant in a raised vegetable planter
What you can plant and grow successfully in a raised bed or vegetable planter depends largely on the soil mix you fill it with and the depth of the soil within it. For veg and soft fruit like strawberries, a single sleeper bed up to a height of around 1ft is perfectly adequate. If you plan to plant deeper-rooting plants like shrubs, fruit bushes, and dwarf trees, you’ll need a deeper bed of at least 1.5ft or more. If you’re gardening on poor soil or you’d like to try growing varieties of flowers, fruit, and veg that require a different kind of soil to that which your garden naturally offers, raised beds are a great way to achieve this.
How deep should a raised planter be?
You can make your raised planters as deep as you like – a lot depends on your individual needs. If, for example, you’re gardening from a wheelchair, you’ll need to leave at least 3.5ft between planters and preferably build your beds to a height and width which makes life easier, not harder. Just bear in mind that the deeper the planter, the more material is required to fill it, although, as previously discussed, you can make up part of the contents with rubble and subsoil from elsewhere in the garden.