You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Elevate your gardening success
Incorporating raised flower beds using stone planters can beautify the landscape without taking a lot of time or effort.
By Melinda Myers
Don’t let a sore back, bad knees, or lousy soil stop you from gardening. Elevate your garden for easier access and better gardening results.
The simple act of creating a raised bed improves drainage in heavy clay soil. Add in some organic matter to further increase drainage and improve the water-holding ability for sandy soils.
And if your soil is beyond repair or you don’t want to wait, a raised garden allows you to bring in quality soil and create a garden right on top of the existing soil or even paved areas.
The quality soil and easy access will allow for dense plantings without pathways. This means greater yields, up to four times more, in raised beds than in-ground gardens.
Raised beds also help conserve water. You’ll concentrate your growing efforts in smaller areas and that means less water wasted. Increase the benefit by using soaker hoses or drip irrigation in order to concentrate water application to the soil nearest the plants, right where it is needed.
Make your raised bed a comfortable height. Elevating the garden minimizes bending and kneeling. Design raised beds in corners or edges suited for sitting or areas narrow enough to set a garden bench alongside for easy access.
Design raised gardens so they are narrow enough for gardeners to easily reach all plants growing within the garden. Or include steppers or pathways if creating larger raised garden areas.
Add a mowing strip around the edge of the raised bed. A narrow strip of mulch or pavers set level with the soil surface keeps the area tidy and eliminates the need for hand trimming.
Select a material suited to your landscape design. Wood, brick, and stones have long been used to create raised beds. Consider using materials that are long-lasting and easy to assemble, like Lexington Planter Stone (lexingtonseries.com). These stone sections can be set right on the ground, fit together easily, and can be arranged and stacked to make planters the size, shape, and height desired.
Start a raised bed garden by measuring and marking the desired size and shape. Remove the existing grass and level the area. For taller raised gardens, edge the bed, cut the grass short, and cover with newspaper or cardboard prior to filling with soil. Be sure to follow directions for the system being installed.
Once the raised bed is complete, fill it with quality soil. Calculate the volume of soil needed by multiplying the length times the width times the height of the raised bed, making sure all measurements are in feet. Convert the cubic feet measurement to cubic yards by dividing it by 27 (the number of cubic feet in a cubic yard). For a 4-foot-by-8-foot raised bed that is 2 feet deep, you would multiply 4 x 8 x 2. This equals 64 cubic feet. Divide by 27, and you will need just a bit more than 1 cubic yard of soil. Don’t let the math overwhelm you; most topsoil companies and garden-center staff can help you with the calculations. Just be sure to have the raised-bed dimensions handy when you order your soil.
The best part is that this one-time investment of time and effort will pay off with years of gardening success.
Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author, and columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written more than 20 gardening books. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Her website, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
Hear John Muir music at San Antonio Missions (April 27, 2016)
Judy Bolton Mysteries (April 27, 2016)
Kendra Scott Trunk Show in Poth (April 27, 2016)
Merle Haggard tribute to highlight Opry (April 27, 2016)
Mother’s Day Bake Sale (April 27, 2016)
Musical Club hosts a Bealls style show (April 27, 2016)
See ‘Shenandoah’ at Night in Ol’ La Vernia (April 27, 2016)
Suspected bank bandits charged (April 27, 2016)
Sängerfest brings German choral feast to Floresville (April 27, 2016)
Theatre Arts students plan variety show (April 27, 2016)
Treat Mom to a play May 8 (April 27, 2016)
America needs old-fashioned values (April 20, 2016)
Boy Scouts will mark 105 years April 24 in Floresville (April 20, 2016)
Cowboy Breakfast will benefit families in need (April 20, 2016)
Dance to the ‘Countrymen’ April 24 in Geronimo (April 20, 2016)
Davy Crockett lunchbox (April 20, 2016)
Enjoy Parish Festival May 1 (April 20, 2016)
Gospel Music Association plans convention (April 20, 2016)
Historian’s archives secure the past for the future (April 20, 2016)
Jazz Festival to feature Grammy winner (April 20, 2016)
Lions seek vendors for upcoming Car Show (April 20, 2016)
Paper Clover Campaign continues (April 20, 2016)
Road Runners group run April 23 (April 20, 2016)
See Johnny Rodriguez at Texas Theatre (April 20, 2016)
Shop books and more at Falls City library (April 20, 2016)
Annual Cowboy Breakfast set for April 23 (April 13, 2016)
Cutting the cord on sugar (April 13, 2016)
Free Grafting Seminar (April 13, 2016)
Free movie night at El Mesias (April 13, 2016)
Hanging out at Hangar 9 (April 13, 2016)
Match Safe (April 13, 2016)
Play Texas Hold ’em to help children (April 13, 2016)
Powerful illustration takes top prize (April 13, 2016)
Register your ride for the Lions Club Car Show (April 13, 2016)
Saddle up for Poth’s Ride to Remember (April 13, 2016)
St. Hedwig church feast is April 24 (April 13, 2016)
Suspects taken to jail in Floresville (April 13, 2016)
Aggie Muster is April 21 (April 6, 2016)
Beauty hides work to save historic county courthouse (April 6, 2016)
Blue Bonnet Club supports SISD Hope Day (April 6, 2016)
Bluebonnet Festival of Texas is April 9-10 (April 6, 2016)
Celebrate the Burton Cotton Gin Festival (April 6, 2016)
Enjoy free jazz concert in Kerrville (April 6, 2016)
Find out the many uses of native plants (April 6, 2016)
First Baptist to host Bible Conference (April 6, 2016)
It’s not just complaining (It’s about justice) (April 6, 2016)
It’s Swing Dance time in Seguin (April 6, 2016)
Jump-start SA party at Fiesta Fiesta (April 6, 2016)
OLPH plans tour, wine tasting fund-raiser (April 6, 2016)
Pilgrim Opry set for April 9 (April 6, 2016)
Playhouse 2000 features ‘forgotten’ Mark Twain play (April 6, 2016)
Ruby Glass (April 6, 2016)
Service Through Music benefit (April 6, 2016)
Shoot skeet, play washers for ACTS (April 6, 2016)
Witness ‘The Gospel Side of Elvis’ (April 6, 2016)