Friday, January 28, 2011

Designing Trends - Raised Beds

Designing Trends

- Raised Garden Beds and Planters

Plants are nice to look at, but once in a while it is nice to be able to sit down and enjoy them without breaking your back. Raised beds are defiantly the way to go, but before you start putting raised beds all over your yard, you will need to consider a few things first. What kind of plants do you want in the raised bed? Where is the best location for the raised bed? What is the best size and shape? What kinds of material are avaible?

When most people think of raised beds, they think about vegetable and herb gardens. While raised beds are great for these edible plants, almost any plant can be highlighted in a raised bed scenario. Raised beds can be a functional & aesthetic way of raising plants off the ground plane for maintenance or screening/aesthetic purposes.

Now that you know what you want to put in your raised bed it’s time to find the right spot. If you are planning for vegetables, you will need to make sure the area has enough sun light. Ideally, raised bed for vegetables are farther away from the house, usually located in the more utility type area of the yard. If you are planning a herb garden, you will want to located fairly close to the kitchen door, so when you need to pick something to spice up dinner, you don’t have to go all the way across the yard (especially if it’s raining). If your raised bed is just to highlight plants or give some height to a screening area, you will want to make sure the raised bed fits in with its surroundings.

Raised beds can come in several sizes and shapes, but you will want to take into account what you are planting in the beds, because that will help dictate the size. When planning for herbs and vegetable, maintenance will dictate the size. Typically the beds are sized 4’x8’, although you can make them longer. A 4’ wide bed makes reaching the plants in the middle, manageable. Typically raised planters are between 18”-24” tall, this is approximately the same height as the average chair. If you are using the raised bed for landscape plants, the size is more determined by the plants to be located inside. For medium to large shrubs, 5’-8’ wide bed would work, if you are planning on putting in trees, the smallest you would want to make the bed is 10’ wide. Most raised beds are rectangles, but they don’t need to be. Feel free to use your imagination.

There are many material choices for raised beds. The main driving force between choosing the material is the location of the bed and the cost of the material. For beds that are close to the main patio and that will be a focal point, natural or cultured stone will look the best, although there are some also some great concrete block materials out there (keystone country manor…). For garden beds that are farther away and not a focal point, fir makes a nice raised bed.

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