Create a raised flower bed out of old recycled material such as bricks. It's an easy way to expand your garden. A raised bed can also be a fine place to grow flowers if your soil is poor. The best time to build your raised flower bed and prepare the planting soil is in the autumn, when all of your other home projects have been put on hold for the winter.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Top soil
- Weed film
Decide which flowers you want to plant in your raised flower bed beforehand. Create an eye-catching design according to the heights of the flowering plants. Your plan should place the tallest flowers in the middle of the bed, with the other plants tapering down in height from the middle. Make sure the design suits the owner's taste. Most flowers need full sun to thrive, but many do well in shade. Find out if the flowers you want to grow in the raised bed do best in full sun. If not, other varieties need to be substituted.
Gather old bricks from your property, or buy them from a hardware centre. Pick a south-facing plot of land in your garden for the location of the raised bed. This south-facing location allows for adequate sunlight during the day. If the garden spot is in shade, plan for shade-loving flowers.
Plan the shape and dimensions you want your raised garden to be. Typical raised flower beds are 60 cm by 60 cm (2 feet square), or 1.2 m by 2.4 m (4 feet by 8 feet), and so on. They can be circular, rectangular, square, or really any shape that suits the gardener's fancy. For beginners, the easiest plans are squares and rectangles. After the plan is decided on, map out the area with string or garden hose.
Check the site for even elevation. Make sure the raised flower bed is on level ground. If working with a hill, dig into the soil until a flat and level plane is created. Then dig a small trench about 5 cm (2 inches) deep all around the perimeter to hold the bricks in place.
Place the first layer of bricks in the dug trench and use a level to check for evenness. Continue to layer the bricks, building the wall in a staggered pattern, where each brick in the upper layer sits atop one-half of each of the two bricks below it. This staggered pattern will support the bed and prevent the sides from falling over. The wall built by this dry brick method does not need cement to stay in place, and can be used for beds under 60 cm (2 feet) tall.
Place weed barrier film on the bottom and up the sides of the raised bed. This barrier film will help to eliminate the hassle of weeds. Fill the raised flower bed with a high-quality top soil that you can buy from a garden centre. It's best not to use soil dug from elsewhere, because it often contains weed seeds and insects that may cause the quality of your flowering plants to deteriorate. Add compost material, peat moss and/or decomposed manure if the top soil does not already contain these nutrient-rich soil amendments. Water the soil and allow it to settle. It's likely you'll need to add more soil/amendments mixture after this settling process.
Plant the flowers in the raised bed according to your plan. Water regularly and deeply, since raised beds tend to have greater drainage and won't retain moisture for long periods of time.
Tips and warnings
- Taller raised brick beds require more experience, equipment, money, and cement. You need to build a short brick and mortar wall, basically.
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