How to make a raised garden with concrete blocks

Written by fiona fearey | 13/05/2017
How to make a raised garden with concrete blocks
Concrete blocks can be used to make raised garden beds. (Structure from blocks image by amlet from Fotolia.com)

There are several reasons why creating gardens in raised beds can be a good idea. Raised beds are ideal for people who don't want to have to turn the soil on their plot each year. They also raise the level of the garden higher, preventing gardeners from having to stoop quite as low. For this reason, they can also be accessible to people in wheelchairs. Making a raised garden allows you to control the composition of your soil, which is important if existing soil is of poor quality or possibly contaminated. Concrete blocks, such as breeze blocks, are one option for lining your raised garden.

Things you need

  • Tape measure

  • Twine

  • 4 sticks

  • Shovel

  • Concrete blocks

  • Soil

  • Compost

Plan out your raised bed. Choose a width of 1.5 m (5 feet) or less, so you will be able to easily reach all areas of the bed without having to walk on the soil. Select a length for your plot of less than 3 m (10 feet) to aid in the ease of walking around the raised garden. If constructing more than one bed, leave at least 60 cm (2 feet) of pathway between plots, or more space if you intend the garden to be wheelchair-accessible.

Measure out your plots with a tape measure. Mark off with sticks in each corner. Rope off the area with twine. Remove weeds from garden area. Gently dig the soil to aerate.

Arrange your concrete blocks depending on the desired height of your garden. If constructing a garden to a height of more than two blocks, using mortar is recommended for strength and safety.

Fill in your bed with high-quality soil. Mix in abundant quantities of compost to increase the fertility of the soil. Make sure than compost is aged and that all organic matter has completely broken down. Research the plants you plan to grow to see if they have any soil preferences and adapt the soil accordingly.

Tips

  • There is no need to turn the soil in your raised bed each year, as you will not need to step on or compact the soil. Enrich the soil by adding compost every growing season. Practice crop rotation in your plot to keep soil fertile; don't plant the same thing in the same spot each year. Plant pretty creeping plants, like nasturtiums, along the edge of your garden. They will trail over the side and hide the look of the concrete blocks.

Warnings

  • Test the soil under your raised bed for heavy metals and other toxins before you grow any food for consumption. If soil analysis results come back positive for contamination, you should plant in a contained bed or grow only plants with shallow root systems.

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Twine
  • 4 sticks
  • Shovel
  • Concrete blocks
  • Soil
  • Compost

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