What are Raised Garden Beds?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2019
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Raised garden beds are beds for gardening which are elevated above the grade of the rest of the garden. There are a number of reasons to garden in raised beds, ranging from an aesthetic preference for raised bed gardening to a desire to avoid struggling with poor soil conditions in the garden. Gardening supply stores often sell equipment which can be used to make raised garden beds, and people can also create custom designs executed with supplies from a lumber or home improvement store.

Classically, raised garden beds are made by leveling native soil in an area of the garden, and building an open box above it. The box is filled with high quality soil, and used for gardening. In some cases, the bottom of the box may be closed so that the native soil cannot come into contact with the soil in the bed, while in other cases, the bottom of the box is left open. The height of the raised bed is entirely dependent on the preferences of the gardener.

One big advantage to raised garden beds is that they allow gardeners to ignore poor native soil conditions, importing and building up soil in their gardening beds. Using raised beds also allows gardeners to create customized soil conditions which allow them to grow acid or alkaline loving plants. Creating raised beds is also a great tool for experimenting with soil quality and gardening techniques without ruining an entire garden.


The use of raised beds can also address a pest problem. Underground invaders such as gophers can be kept out of raised beds with the use of a gopher wire liner which prevents them from digging into the soil of raised beds, while slugs and snails often have a tougher time getting into raised beds. In addition to conferring pest control benefits naturally, raised garden beds tend to have better drainage than native soil, and they resist soil compaction, making growing conditions better for plants.

When installing raised garden beds, people should think carefully about placement. It is important to find an area in the garden or yard where a bed will be most appropriate aesthetically in addition to practically. Sun loving plants, for example, should not be grown in a raised bed in the shade. Some gardeners maintain an array of raised beds which offer a full range of sun exposure options, from full shade to full sun.


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