What Is the Best Raised Garden Bed Design for You?

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For thousands of years, men and women have used raised garden beds, also called elevated gardens or box gardens, to beautify their home environment as well as to provide food and nutrition. As you plan your garden bed there are some considerations that will be helpful in selecting the best design for your situation. In determining the design that is best suited for your family the following considerations will be beneficial to your endeavor.

1. How much space do you have available for constructing the elevated garden box?

This is a very important consideration because it will determine the types of material used to construct the box as well as the type of soil used in growing plants. If you have a small yard you should take care in selecting the location of the garden bed. The proper location of your garden can enhance the beauty of your home; add color and vibrancy to your landscape.

2. Does the space receive adequate sunlight, at least five hours a day?

Plants thrive when they receive adequate sunlight. Through a process called photosynthesis plants convert sunlight to energy. This coupled with the nutrients derived from the soil are key to a successful raised garden bed. If your garden is in a shaded area you still can grow beautiful healthy plants. To achieve this you should select plants that thrive in low light conditions.

3. What materials are available and at what cost?

Materials for building an elevated garden can be purchased at building supply stores hardware stores and other outlets. You may also find materials that are useful right in your own backyard. Typically for growing fruits and vegetables I like to use lumber and that is at least 8 inches deep. The reason for this is your soil will settle naturally about an inch or more. This will also ensure strong root growth and sturdier plants. If the primary purpose for your garden is to grow flowers I would suggest using landscape stones because of the ease of use and versatility. Landscape stones are available in different shapes, sizes and colors; they are easily adaptable to different shaped raised garden beds. Another benefit of landscape stones is they are very durable and you have the option to re-create your design from year to year.

4. Is the purpose of the elevated garden box for aesthetics or is the primary purpose for growing fruits and vegetables?

If the purpose of your garden box is to beautify your landscape then you may consider using materials that augment your current design. If growing vegetables you may consider the ease of access because many vegetables are seasonable and after yielding their crop can be replaced with plants that can extend the growing season.

5. Do you have adequate soil available or will you have to purchase soil and fertilizer?

When designing your raised garden bed it is helpful to determine the composition of your soil. Some plants produce well and acidic soil while others thrive in soil that is alkaline. The addition of compost to your soil adds nutrients and promotes proper drainage. You may also purchase soil from a local nursery or home improvement center.
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