Raised beds are an ideal way for gardeners to overcome poor soil conditions that would make a soil-level garden difficult. A raised bed is essentially an enclosed garden box that can contain any growing medium a gardener prefers. Raised bed gardens also offer the advantage of higher soil temperatures, which can increase germination times and resistance to weeds that would grow from native soil. A raised bed may be made from a variety of construction materials, including wood, rocks or bricks.
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Things you need
- Tape measure
- Mortar trowel
Choose a location for your garden. The area should receive at least eight hours of sunlight daily. Raised bed gardens are not generally large; a 4-foot-by-4-foot plot is sufficient for a small vegetable garden.
Measure a 64-inch square, marking the corners with stakes. Wrap twine around the stakes to mark the perimeter. A standard brick is 8 inches by 4 inches, so the sides of your walls will be three bricks wide and eight bricks long.
Shovel away the turf from inside the perimeter of the planned garden. Dispose of it in a compost bin.
Dig a trench 8 inches deep and 12 inches wide along the marked perimeters to serve as a frame for the raised bed foundation. Use a tape measure to ensure the depth is consistent throughout.
Mix concrete and pour it into the trench. Spread the concrete with a clean shovel to disperse it evenly and remove any air pockets. Allow this foundation to cure for three days before laying bricks.
Wet the foundation with a spray of hose water. Apply 1 inch of mortar to one side of the foundation with a trowel. Spread mortar on the ends of the bricks and push them into place along the foundation.
Spread a 1-inch layer of mortar on top of the first layer of bricks. Place another layer of bricks on top. Scrape away excess mortar with the trowel after you press them into place. Maintain about 1/2 inch of mortar between the bricks for a uniform, level appearance. Continue until you have built a 12-inch-high wall around the garden plot.
Allow the finished raised bed to cure for a couple days before filling the bed with your desired soil blend.
Tips and warnings
- Keep the twine in place as you lay bricks to help you maintain straight lines. Use your level frequently to ensure straight walls.
- Use corner bricks on the first row and every other row after to add structural integrity to the corners of the wall.
- It will be easiest to lay bricks in sections so you can lay more bricks before the mortar starts to set.
- A brick-and-mortar raised bed is a permanent fixture. If you plan to move your garden in the future, use breeze blocks to create a wall that will stay in place without mortar.
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