Using raised beds when landscaping a garden is an ideal way to create a space to grow vegetables and herbs. Regardless of the size of a garden, raised beds allow for easy maintenance and can look visually attractive wherever they are located. As well as making gardening easier they also give you more say over what you can grow since you are less dependent on the natural soil type found in your garden.
Choosing the Right Raised Bed
Raised beds can vary in height, dimension and material. Before landscaping their design you should first consider the type and quantity of plants you want to grow and the depth the roots will need. The larger the depth of the raised bed the more space for roots to freely grow.
If you are planning on trying to be as self-sufficient in vegetables as possible you may require 3 or 4 raised beds. You will also want to go for higher raised beds if they are to sit on poor soil or possibly concrete. Raised beds at a height which makes it easier to reach or which prevents you bending over can make for easier gardening and are particularly useful for those with mobility issues.
Setting Up a Raised Bed
Positioning raised beds is key as vegetables require lots of sun, preferably 8 hours every day at least. Remove any weeds or grass from the area where the beds are to be located, also forking the soil it is to be placed on up to a depth of 10 inches to aid drainage. A benefit of a raised bed is you can fill it with the soil combination best suited for the plants you intend to grow. Obviously the higher the depth of the bed the more soil you will require, but as a rough guideline you may be looking at 60% topsoil, 30% compost and 10% potting soil.
Planting in a Raised Bed
Raised beds allow you to plant more intensively than you would be able to in your garden soil. Plan your planting to ensure plants which are tall or bushy are not crowding out those planted next to them. Using canes or cages for plants like tomatoes will help support the plant and also prevent it imposing on surrounding plants. The more intensive nature of planting in raised beds should reduce the quantity of weeds which need to be removed and also protect the soil from the sun, resulting in less watering.
Your Ideal Vegetable Garden
Raised beds can provide a space for vegetables in any garden. Over time you will soon work out the plants which perform best in your outdoor space and which grow well together in the raised bed. Where possible make sure they are also located near a water source.
A professional landscaper can help you design and build raised beds which will be best suited for your garden space, advising you on the right soil to obtain the vegetable garden you have always desired right outside your own door.