In tropical climates, some afternoon shade or filtered light may help to prevent wilting and to bolt (when cool-season veggies like lettuce go to seed and take on a bitter taste). Especially if you’re planting cool-season crops like spinach, locations with afternoon shade may extend the growing season. Avoid spots under trees that create a lot of litter, like catalpas. You can make raised garden beds any shape and size you want; squares and small planters are popular styles, especially for smaller yards or as accent gardens. Try to keep widths to four feet; that’s narrow enough to reach into the center from either side. Leave at least eighteen inches between beds for easy access; two feet provides enough space for lawnmowers, wheelbarrows, and wagons. One to two feet is an ideal height. You can go taller, but it increases materials cost (especially fill dirt).
Build a Garden bed Frame That Lasts for a few years, then Raised garden beds using any building material: bricks, concrete blocks, or engineered wall blocks all work fine. You can even use composite decking materials. If you want to save cash, you can use any used materials that may be an option. Recycling and re-use centers for building materials are increasingly popular; they’re a great place to find high-quality, affordable materials for small projects. By far, the most common material for raised beds is lumber. Since raised beds are often used to grow edibles, steer clear of wood preserved with toxins, like creosote-treated railroad ties. Pressure-treated lumber sold in the US for residential use no longer contains arsenic compounds like CCA, and the EPA considers copper-infused lumber treatments like ACQ to be safe for food crops. To be completely safe, or to grow organic veggies, opt for untreated lumber instead. Rot-resistant woods like redwood, cedar, and cypress are more expensive than common materials like pine but will last 10-20 years. Pine is an affordable alternative, but will only last about half that. For assembly, use galvanized or stainless steel hardware. Screws or bolts are easier to work with than nails. Assemble and Fill Your Garden Bed. Measure the site to ensure it’s level and large enough, and clear it of turfgrass and weeds. Landscape fabric isn’t necessary; it offers only modest weed prevention, but it will stop beneficial earthworms from being able to get into your garden to aerate and condition the soil, and it may inhibit drainage.
Assemble the raised bed either on site or where it can easily be moved once assembled. Large ones can be heavy even when empty and you may want help moving it. Use inside posts (2×2 or 4×4 for more massive beds) on all corners for sturdiness; they’ll help keep the walls from bowing outward. If you want to anchor the bed, pointed 2×2 grade stakes can be used for corner posts and at mid-wall locations if your neighborhood features burrowing animals like voles, staple ¼, or ½-inch hardware cloth to the bottom of the frame to keep them out. Move the assembled frame into place; this is a great time to check to make sure the site is truly level. You can add a 1×4 cap railing if you want; it’s a handy place to kneel or place tools while working. Gravel or wood mulch between beds offers a clean, dry walking and working space. To fill, use an online soil volume calculator to estimate material needs. Garden soil should be roughly fifty percent high-quality topsoil and fifty percent compost. If you’re buying in bulk from a landscape supply center, make sure you get actual topsoil, not fill dirt, which is often subsoil with little of the organic matter and nutrients needed for gardening.