Receiving a bouquet of fragrant, vibrant flowers will brighten anyone’s day. Opening your front door each morning to a plethora of colorful plants and flowers is all the better. Maintaining those gorgeous flower beds, however, can be a challenge especially if age, injury, or just a lack of time or energy keeps you from doing it.
If you love flowers but need to approach gardening a bit differently, a raised flower bed may be just the answer.
What Are Raised Flower Beds and What Are the Advantages?
Raised gardens or flower beds are exactly what they sound like. They are beds constructed up above the ground in containers made from wood, stone, metal or other materials.
What are the advantages?
When you build or purchase pre-made raised flower beds, rather than struggling with a shovel to dig and turn heavily compacted earth, you fill them with loose fresh soil with plenty of organic matter and start your planting. Not only do you get to start with better drained and aerated soil, but you also get soil that is free of weed seeds.
Raised beds are also extremely versatile. If spending time on your hands and knees or bending over to maintain your flowers has become a hassle or even an impossibility, you can build a raised bed that you can work on standing erect or even one that’s wheelchair accessible. Want to be able to move your flower garden where it can get more sun or where it will be closer to where you’re entertaining guests outside? You can build a portable raised bed.
How to Make a Simple Raised Flower Bed
Choose Your Location
If your raised bed will be in a fixed location, then it’s important to choose the best site suitable for the flowers you plan to grow. Do they need full sun? A mix of sun and shade? Give it some thought.
Determine the Size of the Bed: Length, Width, and Depth
The size of your bed will be dependent on the plants you want to grow and how much room you have on your property to grow them. Length isn’t really an issue, but you don’t want your bed to be any wider than four feet if accessible from all sides and 2-1/2 feet if it is up against your home, a wall, or a fence. Why? You want to be able to plant, weed, and gather your flowers without actually setting foot into your garden bed and compacting the soil. Allowing for a depth of one foot should more than accommodate most flowers.
Construct Your Frame
When making a square or rectangular frame, pre-cut lumber is probably the best choice for a first-timer. Untreated cedar, redwood, or other rot-resistant lumber is preferable. Using a drill, assemble a square or rectangular frame by fastening it together with screws and brackets. Alternatively, railroad ties connected with spikes are another great option.
Line and Fill Your Bed
You can best protect your plants and the soil they grow in if you staple water-permeable landscape fabric across the bottom of your frame. Landscape fabric helps to suppress weeds, and it protects your soil from eroding. Once you’ve added the fabric, flip your frame over and put it in place.
When it’s time to fill your bed with soil, don’t skimp on the contents. This is your opportunity to give your flowers a great start in life. Fill your frame to within an inch of the top with a good composting soil. If you’re not sure what to use, ask the good folks at your local garden supply center.
And Now the Fun Part
Plan and plant your flower beds with whatever your heart desires – limited, of course, by your climate and region. Have a little fun mixing and matching blooms that work well together!