Member Since: 10/14/2012

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Re: Build Your Own Raised Beds

This is the most fantastic article that I have come across on the topic of raised beds; and I have been doing extensive research as one that is good at so doing :)

Most do not address challenges and the minutia that are usually lessons hard learned.

Unfortunately I found this article just a little bit too late in my project to address some future challenges - that have been addressed so well within this article; there are several things I would have done differently 3 days ago ;)

My project involves the design & installation of two 4X12 raised beds over hard clay / builders backfill. The client specified 12" deep beds, but I suggested at least 18" (given what they wanted to plant) given the nature of their native soil.

I found a really cool 4'X4'X1" X9" high finger joint cedar 'kit' complete with 4X4 trellis (Suncaster - http://www.suncast.com/productdisplay.aspx?id=647&pid=138) on sale for $30 (from $79). Having explored various other construction material options, from both a labour & cost perspective (with serious emphasis on bed depth), I chose to buy 8 of these kits to create two 4X12X1" (thick) X 18" deep beds. None of the 2X, or commercial 1X or 5/4X could compete with the price to create a similarly deep bed.

I had to install cross bracing to prevent the 12' long sides from mis-behaving at the 4' joint points, vertical posts to tie the 2 levels together and lend greater stability to the 1" thick walled beds, and install narrow strips of land-scape fabric to prevent the soil from seeping out between the lower and upper courses and at the finger joints (my aluminum 1/8" thick X 1" wide X bed width cross bracing increased the inter-level gappage to 1/8" at the aluminum pin down points holding the finger jointed 4X4X9" boards + brace together.

I would have handled many things differently had I come across your article 3 days ago ;)

Lucky for me, having found your article before the end of the project, I will consider installing landscape fabric differently for the perimeter paths, exterior seating vs. capping the bed tops with seating boards (given that they will interfere with turning the beds - never thought of that), and flexible / easily removable options for irrigation system.

You guys are great - thanks for sharing your hard found knowledge.