Raised Flower Beds

Despite the wet spring we’ve started gardening and the answer to soaked soil is to build some raised flower beds. So we took advice from www.horshamdecksandpatios.co.uk and learned how to build our own beds.  They taught us how to use old pallets and build a block of raised beds as in the photo.

It’s a brilliant way to discourage pests like slugs and snails. They can still reach the plants if they’re really tenacious but it certainly cuts down the numbers you have to remove.

Once built, you can fill the wooden containers with all kinds of plants. You could use it for a wonderful herb garden or for small vegetables, but I decided to plant flowers in mine.  Of course you have to be careful about the size and growth rates of the plants you choose, otherwise you’ll completely hide the pots and lose the benefits of the tiered design.

I’ve picked bedding plants primarily, topped off with aquilegia to give height and colour at the apex of the block.  It already looks quite spectacular and I’m looking forward to seeing it in the summer in full bloom.

I’m fully aware that my tiered raised bed isn’t the traditional model that you might expect to find in a garden.  Normally there’s only one level and they can be built within existing beds, or more often standalone units, often surrounded by hard landscaping or gravel.  I’d guess that most people who choose raised beds do so to save their knees or their backs – or maybe they’re in a wheel chair and can’t reach down to soil level.  In this case raised beds are a godsend and more than just a useful device that looks good in the garden.

In our last home we had several raised beds near the house. They were easy to maintain and contained a mixture of vegetables and flowers.  It worked really well and they were easy to keep pest-free because we had gravel on the ground around every unit. These beds were pretty large – about 8 feet x 4 feet  and provided a wonderful space to grow a variety of suitable plants.

When planting these mixed beds, I always chose bright colourful flowers because most vegetables are primarily green and can look quite boring. Interplanting with beautiful flowers adds interest and really enhances the garden in my opinion.  In fact they were much admired by most visitors so I think we must have got something right.

I’d really recommend that everyone tries building and planting up a raised bed – or several. They make life easier as they’re better to plant out and also to maintain than regular flower beds.  Give it a go – I’m sure you’ll be sold!