Search This Blog

Loading...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Raised Bed with Landscaping Bricks

I've been very excited this year by the increased interest I see in growing in raised beds, no doubt sparked by the trend toward "square foot gardening."  I've loved watching my friends on Facebook put together their wooden box beds in the spring, fill them with soil and plants, and share their joy when they harvest their first produce.

We also grow in raised beds, but we have made ours out of the curved landscaping bricks you get at the hardware store.  I feel like this has a few advantages.  First, there is no worry about whether you've gotten lumber that has been treated with arsenic or other chemicals, which is not something you want around your plants.  Second, the stone will last much longer.

Third, however, is that I think making the bed more aesthetically pleasing is key to not rousing the displeasure of that one grouchy neighbor who knows that your HOA, neighborhood, or township has some arcane regulation on the book forbidding visible food crops or something.  My theory is, if you make it look like a flower bed, it is no one's business if you are eating the "flowers."

What you see above is the first raised bed we ever built, sitting in our back yard.  It is probably six to eight years old, and it is still doing fine.  You can see the beginnings of some fall carrots growing in the foreground, and the summer leek crop still in the back of the bed.  We have a few extra bricks stacked on the side for use when we build a cold frame over it for the winter.

The nice thing about this construction is the accessibility.  The bed is roughly 12 feet long, but only 4.5 feet wide by outside measurement.  This means that from any point in the bed, I can reach a middle section by sitting on the side and reaching comfortably in.  There is no bending or stretching.  I make this width requirement a given for any of our raised beds, so there are no huge eight foot circles on our property, for instance.

Although this seems like a spring project, there is no reason you can't spend a nice fall day constructing a bed for your use next spring as long as your hardware store is still selling bricks.  Basically, you simply pace off the area of lawn you will devote to the bed, and lay down an expanse of old fencing or hardware cloth.  This will keep the critters from digging up from under the bed and eating the roots of your plants.

Then, start laying rows of bricks down over the hardware cloth in a kidney shape (which will happen naturally with the bricks.  You will have to play a bit while you build to be sure you are getting a pleasant shape and that you are covering the hardware cloth completely.  Feel free to trim the hardware cloth as needed.  Since we just used scraps of old fence on this bed, it was easy to be sure nothing was poking out.

The bricks layer just as standard square bricks do, with each subsequent layer covering the joint between bricks in the layer below.  You may find that you have to split a brick or two to get everything to work, but that's where someone like Mr. FC&G comes in.

I like my raised beds three rows high, which makes the bed a couple of feet high once the inevitable settling happens.  You can make it deeper if you like, but I wouldn't go much above four or five rows, because you will start losing interior space as each new row is just slightly narrower than the one below.

Landscaping bricks are usually available for between $1 and $2 each, so this raised bed took about 90 bricks for a total of about $150 in materials for a bed that will last many, many years.

Your last step is filling it with soil.  Don't feel like you have to buy bagged soil at the hardware store.  We lucked into finding a construction company that had removed soil from a site and wanted to get rid of it, but landscaping companies will also sell you a truckload if you don't have enough finished compost to fill your bed.  (I actually did fill another raised bed with sifted compost one year, which took about a week's worth of evenings since I could only stand to do an hour or two at a time.)

The Analysis
Fast:  Budget an afternoon to do this project, between hauling the bricks from the store and laying them out.  It isn't hard, but you will definitely get your workout for the day!

Cheap:  I find the cost to be pretty economically viable, especially given the bed's longevity.

Good:  No matter how you do it, raised bed gardening is a great technique!


Pin It!

34 comments:

  1. I have wanted to do this for the longest time. I love the idea of hauling just a few bricks at a time. I think my best bet is to chip away at it. Thanks for the idea.

    I would love it if you would share this at the Smart Solutions linky party. You can link up here:

    http://theprudentpantryblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/prudent-projects-smart-solutions-week-15.html

    Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great job on your raised bed. What you've used here are actually concrete retaining wall units, which can be purchased in a varity of colors, shapes and sizes, and can be purchased at most big box home stores. They are very inexpensive and easy to work with, and there are many benefits to using these over say, wood, which can rot. Also, with wood, you can't get the corners and unique shapes for your beds, that you can obtain with block.

    There are a few things you need to know, espcially in regard to stability, before you build a raised bed with concrete block. Here is a link to obtain some "how'to" instructions: http://info.basalite.com/build-your-own-stone-planter-box/

    Happy Building!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a nice post in an interesting line of content.Thanks for sharing this article, great way of bring this topic to discussion.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
  3. Valuable information and excellent design you got here! I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts and time into the stuff you post!! Thumbs up
    Landscaping Virginia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading along! Glad to have you here.

      Delete
  4. Thanks for such a nice information The information and the aspect were just wonderful.I think that your viewpoint is deep, it’s just well thought out and truly incredible to see someone who knows how to put these thoughts so well.Good job!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I normally wouldn’t be able to find such great content as this on other sites. You have done a great job with each unique point made on this topic. Thank you for your hard work.
    writing experts

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sports Logo Design and Mayer Brown!

      Delete
  6. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think that sometime in the future I might try to write a book to go along with my blog, but we will see.Good post with useful tips and ideas.I think that sometime in the future I might try to write a book to go along with my blog, but we will see.Good post with useful tips and ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  8. That was nice blog i know it could be helpful to me. Some what time i really love to read it so much if i have lot of time i should try to read more about the wood florin Buy Green Coffee Bean Online

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This writing is really good and I and my friends are like Thank you for sharing useful information. I really like what you wrote, it was with my life Wooden Door Frames

      Delete
  9. Thank you for this great information, you write very well which i like very much. I am really impressed by your post.SEO Liverpool

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I like what your blog stands for. this is my first time and here and I am pleased that i was able to find such an excellent resource for travel information. i have bookmarked your site and will be back to what new blog posts you create moving forward.Double Glazing Preston

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'd say I'm a good cook. I have a lot of German recipes that I can make - schnitzel, meatballs and things with cabbage. I love cabbage.
    cna practice test

    ReplyDelete
  14. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch as I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!
    transfer VHS to DVD

    ReplyDelete
  15. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch as I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!
    cash advance san-diego

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great to hear that this was helpful, Gujjar! Hope you enjoyed lunch!

      Delete
  16. I am new to your blog and really like what I am reading. Thanks for the great content. Look forward to coming back for more.Blockboard

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for such an interesting article here. I was searching for something like that for quite a long time and at last I have found it here.Door Casing

      Delete
  20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thank you for this post. Thats all I are able to say. You most absolutely have built this blog website into something speciel. You clearly know what you are working on, youve insured so many corners.thanks
    revit trees

    ReplyDelete
  22. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  23. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am so happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that's at the other blogs.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Extremely clear clarification of issues is given and it is open to every living soul. I have perused your post, truly you have given this extraordinary informative data about it. Sleeping Pills Online

    ReplyDelete