Building a raised garden bed is a great solution for many spaces. You can build them to fit your specific needs, and there are endless options. In my case, I had always wanted a vegetable garden, but I had dirt full of gravel and rocks, and backyard chickens who liked to tear apart my plants.
After talking to Julie, whose front yard connects with mine, we discovered that we both had the same desire for that big, beautiful garden full of fresh veggies and herbs, but shared the same destructive chickens issues, and dirt full of gravel.
Our solution? Work together to build a raised garden bed space in our front yards!
Some benefits of a raised garden bed:
- You can fill them up with high-quality, nutrient-rich soil.
- They provide excellent aeration. Roots need to breathe!
- Water drainage is better. You don’t want constant moisture around your plants, which can lead to root rot or bacterial and fungal disease.
- Better control over weeds.
- They can be built over existing surfaces. No need to dig or till.
- You can build them to fit your space and needs. No sore backs and knees!
- Better pest control. Slugs won’t make it up the sides of your garden bed as easy, and it may be too tall for rabbits, deer, or other critters to bother.
- They can be temporary. A raised bed can be relocated or removed when needed. Perfect for renters!
- They are great for beginners. Have a box, fill it with dirt, add plants. Easy, right?
The best part… all of those benefits lead to a higher yield. More veggies and herbs for everyone!
When we first brought our idea to our husbands, they had questions. After all, front yard vegetable gardens aren’t the norm in our average suburban neighborhood. We explained more about our idea and the benefits of our garden, and quickly got them on board.
If you want to have a raised garden bed, you will want to consider the type of plants you want to grow and their space requirements, the location that will get the right amount of sun and shade, and how you currently use your space. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
Some factors we took into consideration:
- We wanted enough space in our raised beds for lots of different plants
- We wanted raised beds that were tall enough to reach without bending down
- The beds had to be tall enough to meet the plants’ needs. Most garden plants need at least 6 -12 inches for their roots, so 12 inches is the ideal minimum.
- The beds needed to go between our yards, in a flat area
- We had to be able to walk through the area easily and access all sides of the beds
- We had to have enough space between the beds to fit a big circle of chairs and a firepit in the middle (this was our prime neighbor-gathering spot and we didn’t want to lose it!)
- The beds needed to be aesthetically pleasing. The prime front yard location made it especially important to create a garden space that brought something special to our neighborhood, rather than draw negative attention.
After discussing our ideas, sketching them out, and lots of measuring, we came up with our design: Four boxes, each 20 inches tall and 2 feet wide, with one side being 7ft and the other being 8ft. They are placed in a rectangle, with a walkway between each side for easy access. And yes, we can fit lots of neighbors and a fire pit in the middle!
Our husbands worked together over a weekend to build the beds. They used untreated 2×10 pine, and filled them with a mixture of top soil and nutrient-rich garden soil. It took EIGHT TONS of dirt to fill them! We’ll just need to top them off with a good quality soil each year.
We chose to stain the outside of our raised garden beds. This isn’t necessary, but we loved the look of it!
We have enjoyed our garden so much, and are glad we decided to jump in and make it work despite our limited space. We think anyone can find a garden solution with a little effort and creativity, and enjoy the fresh veggies and therapeutic benefits of gardening.
Are you ready to build a raised garden bed? Do you have one already? What are some creative ways you have used your space, or issues you face when planning your garden? Let us know in the comments below!