5 things to know before you build a raised bed

So, you’re thinking of upping your gardening game with a raised bed? Welcome to the club!

In an earlier episode of our Facebook series “The Goal is to Become a Gardener,” SJ Mag’s Marianne Aleardi learned from Toni Farmer how to build a bed for her backyard. Here are some tips from Toni to get you started on your own raised bed.


1. It’s all about location 

Just like real estate, building your raised bed is all about location. Your plants need good sun and plenty of water (with the exception of some plants), so you want to make sure you choose a place that makes it easy to get both. Avoid your shady trees and take note of where your hose is, because dragging that all the way across your yard every morning could quickly become a nightmare.

2. Don’t make it too wide… 

We’re only human, and most of us don’t have arms that go for days. Keep that in mind when you’re deciding how wide you want to make your bed. Ideally, you’ll be able to reach the opposite side of the bed when you’re standing at the edge. 

3. But don’t make it too narrow 

Life’s about balance, so don’t go the other extreme when it comes to your bed width. Your plants will need room to grow their roots – and sometimes their leaves. Overcrowding is a death sentence when it comes to gardening, so do some research on what you’re going to grow and how much space those crops need, then plan accordingly. 

4. Don’t forget about watering

So we all agree that dragging a hose across your yard every morning will get old super fast (we’re speaking from experience!). One solution is to put a soaker hose in your bed. It’s essentially a hose with holes poked along it that is laid in the bed under the soil. That hooks up to your water source and every morning, instead of dragging a hose or watering can to your bed, you just turn your water on and your job is done for you! 

5. Your back will thank you 

Yes, a raised bed even has some health benefits – besides the benefits of connecting with nature and eating food you’ve grown yourself. But if you’re worried about constantly being bent over to tend to your plants, you can choose a raised bed that’s raised a little higher (seriously, they can go as high as a few feet). Happy back, happy gardener!


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