Raised Vegetable Garden Bed Tips and Benefits
Benefits: Save Your Back
Building raised vegetable garden beds can reduce back strain because you won't have to bend over as far to reach the plants. With easier access and less pain potential, you're better able to enjoy the labor involved in planting, tending, and harvesting your raised vegetable garden beds.
Test Garden Tip: Build your raised-bed vegetable garden so they're at least 12 inches tall. If the walls are slightly below waist level, you can sit on edges to work the soil and harvest your bounty without having to bend over at all.
Benefits: Grow Longer
The soil in raised vegetable garden beds typically warms earlier in spring than the surrounding earth. It also tends to dry faster, so you can get cool-season crops planted sooner, extending the growing season and your vegetable crop choices just by using raised gardens.
Test Garden Tips:
Pick cold-tolerant vegetables in early spring or late fall for successful vegetable garden beds.
To extend the gardening season for your raised vegetable garden beds, fashion hoops like these, then drape plastic over them. The makeshift cold frame will help you gain a few extra growing weeks in spring and autumn.
Utilize succession planting to get more out of your raised beds.
Benefits: Keep Clean
Spread mulch over the paths between your raised vegetable garden beds, and your feet will stay clean—no matter how wet the weather.
Because you won't walk on the raised vegetable garden beds, you'll be able to run out to grab a handful of fresh basil for dinner without worrying about compacting the soil.
Benefits: Overcome Bad Soil
Raised vegetable garden beds are the answer if you have sandy or clay soil. Instead of struggling with poor topsoil, all you need to do is fill your garden beds with high-quality topsoil and start gardening.
Nutrient-rich soil can improve your raised vegetable garden beds and means fewer struggles for plants and less frustration for the gardener. To keep the soil in raised vegetable garden beds healthy, continue to feed it with compost and other organic matter.
Benefits: Reduce Weeds
Once your raised raised vegetable garden beds are filled with fresh soil, cover the surface with an inch or two of mulch. This reduces all of the weeds (including the ones in our Weed ID Guide), reduces weed competition, and preserves soil moisture in your raised vegetable garden beds.
Benefits: Stop Grass from Invading
Lawn grasses, which have spreading root systems, often infiltrate a standard vegetable garden and become a serious weed. When you build raised vegetable garden beds, nearby turf won't be able to spread into your vegetable crops, keeping a healthy and happy raised-bed vegetable garden.
Benefits: Stop Pests
Even with raised vegetable garden beds, critters like rabbits and moles can make a mess of your vegetables.
There are many ways to get rid of pests in your garden, and one way to thwart them is with tall raised garden beds. Design and build raised vegetable garden beds that are at least 4 feet tall to discourage these invaders.
Benefits: Make Your Garden More Attractive
Set up a series of small raised vegetable garden beds in tidy rows or in a pattern, and you'll end up with the most visually appealing vegetable garden on your block. Simply giving your raised bed an aesthetic touch will make your neighbors admire your garden.
Benefits: Never Till Again
Raised vegetable garden beds provide a healthier environment for beneficial microorganisms and earthworms because there's no foot traffic to compact the soil.
Design Tip: Keep Raised Vegetable Garden Beds Narrow
Design Tip: Space Raised Beds Correctly
In your raised vegetable garden plans, leave enough space between the garden beds to easily maneuver a wheelbarrow for adding soil, harvesting, spreading mulch, or other activities.
Similarly, if you have grass paths between your raised vegetable garden beds, make sure you build your vegetable garden with enough space to comfortably run your lawn mower through.
Design Tip: Use Long-Lasting Materials
When selecting materials for your DIY raised vegetable garden beds, choose rot-resistant lumber, such as cedar or redwood. Or choose other materials for your raised vegetable garden bed, such as building a brick raised-bed vegetable garden, a stone raised-bed vegetable garden, or even a concrete raised-bed vegetable garden. This helps create vegetable garden beds you won't need to rebuild.
Design Tip: Add Decorative Elements to Raised Gardens
Raised-bed vegetable garden designs can be attractive landscape features to your backyard or outside space. Dress them up with details that add style to their utilitarian form.
For example, give corner posts in raised beds a cap, or paint the wood frames to match your house.
Test Garden Tip: You'll find a wide variety of premade post caps at your local hardware store or home improvement center. Post caps for raised beds come in materials including wood, copper, and glass. Some even have solar lights incorporated, adding highlights to your raised garden bed.
Design Tip: Come Up with a Pattern for Beds
Raised vegetable garden beds are often set up as squares or rectangles that run parallel to one another, but you can add some fun to your raised-bed vegetable garden landscape by arranging the beds in different geometric shapes or patterns.
For example, mimic the lines of an architectural feature on your home. Whatever shape you design, remember to allow yourself room to reach into the raised garden beds and to move between them.
Design Tip: Grow Up with Vines
Include trellises, obelisks, or tuteurs in your raised-bed vegetable garden plans. Buy or build one or two to grow vining crops, such as peas, beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes. The extra height of these raised vegetable gardens brings visual drama to your plantings, especially if most of what you grow is relatively short.
Raised Vegetable Garden Plans
Materials for Raised Bed Gardens
Learn more about how to build raised garden beds with long-lasting materials.