How to Build an Ornamental Raised Bed Garden
All I wanted was a raised bed garden in which to grow plants without all that bending down to weed and dig. Grey blocks painted or even unpainted would have done me!
One thing I did stipulate was that I wanted my raised bed garden to be high enough to sit on while working with the earth or with theplants, and finished off with a tiled top that would not only be comfortable, but wide enough to place a cup oftea should I have one to hand.
As the situation where I wanted my raised bed garden to be built is in an area of the garden where I spend a lot of time, it was decided that it should be aesthetically pleasing to look at, as well as practical.
To this end, special ornamental blocks were chosen with coloring that matched the surrounding area.
They did cost twice as much as the old grey blocks, but will need less maintenance in future.
I think it looks great!
How to build an ornamental raised bed garden
First of all, hire a fit young bloke to do the work!!
Mark out where you want your raised bed to go, and he will have to dig foundations all the way round for it.
Then he placed a couple of metal rods lengthways along the holes, and infilled with concrete. The metal rods are to stop over-expansion of the concrete in the summer heat. Here in south of Spain the heat is horrendous.
Building the blocks
When the concrete had set, he started building the blocks over the concrete base. The centre is left open. You will need drainage so do not concrete the base.
My ornamental raised bed is small - only 3 blocks by 5 blocks, and 3 blocks high. As they are ornamental, you have to be careful that you buy the correct blocks. Corner blocks will need two faces, while the rest only need one.
Each block is cemented into place next to its neighbour, and its hollow center is infilled with cement for added stability, but the final cement finish is left till last.
When all the blocks are in place, the tiles are cut to size and cemented on the top. When the cement has set, it is finished off with tile grout to seal the joins.
Raised bed gardening at Amazon
So, there you have it, easy-peasy (especially when you get someone else to do the building work).
I am getting a second slightly bigger ornamental raised bed garden built, and this time I will ask the builder not to seal off the inside of the blocks with cement.
Cement is alkaline and will seep into the soil, and a lot of plants hate alkaline soils.
One of the main reasons I wanted raised bed gardens is because the soil here is alkaline, and while it perfectly suits the plants I have already growing in the ground, one of the major advantages of raised bed gardens is that you can control the acidity level of the soil you put in them.
Ideally I would want raised bed gardens that are suitable for growing acid-loving plants. Among them include the heathers, rhubarb, rhododendrons, and many others.
Filling in with compost
The filling of the raised bed gardens with compost will need to wait a while, as I am making my own compost from grass cuttings, kitchen organic waste and anything else organic that I can find to use - like dog hairs and hedge trimmings.