Why build raised beds? Well, let me ask you: Wouldn't it be nice to be able to appreciate your plants and care for them without having to bend over too much? Shrubs and dwarf trees provide this luxury naturally (taller trees presenting a different challenge, of course), but for shorter plants, the answer is to bring the plants up to your level.
But there are several reasons why raised beds can raise your enjoyment of plants to a higher level. So before we consider how to build them, let's look at a few other reasons to build them:
Benefits of Building Raised Beds
- Once installed, raised bed planting is an easy landscaping solution for the elderly, and anyone who has a bad back
- Vertical interest in your landscape design
- Effective control against tunneling pests, such as voles (if you line the bottom with a screen)
- A work-around if you're plagued with clayey soil, enabling you to provide proper drainage
- Urban gardens, in particular, often suffer from compacted soil; for a small garden, it may be easier to "build up" than to go through the trouble of using a garden tiller
- Elevation facilitates performance of repetitive plant-care tasks (weeding, pruning, harvesting herbs throughout the summer for cooking, etc.)
But in addition to all that, I wanted a bit more out of this project. As you can see from the picture above, I capped off my raised bed to form an outdoor bench. This outdoor bench will come in handy both as a work bench and as a seating area for the weary gardener.
In Step 2 we'll proceed to the instructions on how to build raised beds, beginning with the supplies needed....