+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default Raised Garden Beds

    Hello All,

    I am building two raised garden beds for a local preschool as part of my Eagle Scout project. I am planning on using a design similar to one posted on this website, however I will be utilizing 4x4 lumber instead of 6x6. I intend to use Heart grade redwood, but I am not sure which type is best for outdoor construction,
    rough cut or surfaced? It's my understanding that rough cut tends to warp as it dries, but I have never really constructed anything for the outdoors before. It'd be nice if the beds looked good, as well, and I'm not sure how "rough" looking rough cut lumber ends up being once the project is all put together.

    Any advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,441

    Default Re: Raised Garden Beds

    Redwood is a good choice for this purpose, but you don't need 4x4. 2x4 or 2x6 will do.

    The rough redwood can be lightly sanded and it's not bad at all. Don't worry about it drying - you are planning on watering the garden, right?

    Keep in mind that any wood in contact with soil deteriorates over time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,617

    Default Re: Raised Garden Beds

    Nope! What you're proposing can only be done with 6x6 materials. (just testing that merit badge for detecting teasing )

    The design and height will somewhat dictate the materials you'll need, but as DJ said, you can use much smaller material at a substantial cost savings. I would recommend using 2x materials for the sides and 4x material for posts/corners/intermediate supports. If you're looking for a wide top to be able to comfortably sit or kneel on, then lay a 2x4 or 2x6 flat on the top rail of the raised bed.

    Know your materials. Heart redwood is going to be very expensive. You can probably pick through the stack of lower grade material such as con-common (construction common ) to find better pieces to suit your needs. Here is a link to help you determine what to use.
    http://www.bercoredwood.com/html_pages/redwood.html

    Rough vs smooth. It's more of a personal preference, IMHO. Rough lumber is going to be cheaper than surfaced lumber, the only difference is aesthetics. Surfaced lumber exposed to the elements will become rough over time as the weather and elements eat away at the wood. For a garden planter I would go with rough for the sides and then if you want to put smooth on the top edge where you'll have your hands or be sitting, then go for it, but it isn't a mandatory thing and rough lumber isn't all that rough, it just isn't baby's buns smooth like surfaced lumber is.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,509

    Default Re: Raised Garden Beds

    For rough vs smooth, consider the users; if they will be rubbing their legs and hands against it, then use smooth.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Raised Garden Beds

    Thanks, everyone!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Raised Garden Beds

    As mentioned, water contact hastens rot in wood products. I suggest a heavy plastic liner anchored between the top two layers and running down the inside to keep the moist soil off the timber. If possible, wouldn't hurt to tuck it between the bottom and ground.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Raised Garden Beds

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Spruce View Post
    Nope! What you're proposing can only be done with 6x6 materials. (just testing that merit badge for detecting teasing )

    The design and height will somewhat dictate the materials you'll need, but as DJ said, you can use much smaller material at a substantial cost savings. I would recommend using 2x materials for the sides and 4x material for posts/corners/intermediate supports. If you're looking for a wide top to be able to comfortably sit or kneel on, then lay a 2x4 or 2x6 flat on the top rail of the raised bed.

    Know your materials. Heart redwood is going to be very expensive. You can probably pick through the stack of lower grade material such as con-common (construction common ) to find better pieces to suit your needs. Here is a link to help you determine what to use.

    Rough vs smooth. It's more of a personal preference, IMHO. Rough lumber is going to be cheaper than surfaced lumber, the only difference is aesthetics. Surfaced lumber exposed to the elements will become rough over time as the weather and elements eat away at the wood. For a garden planter terrassendielen douglasie I would go with rough for the sides and then if you want to put smooth on the top edge where you'll have your hands or be sitting, then go for it, but it isn't a mandatory thing and rough lumber isn't all that rough, it just isn't baby's buns smooth like surfaced lumber is.
    I built a 5'x5' raised bed using cedar planks and will be planting herbs in it. What should I do to the ground before adding the dirt? Should I just till or put black landscape fabric down? I also have a strawberry pyramid I will be building soon and have the same question about what to do with the ground. Thanks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,617

    Default Re: Raised Garden Beds

    If you have a problem with invasives, such as burmuda grass or ivy, then you'll need to kill and remove them in some manner, whether that be by herbicide or natural method. If it's just run of the mill grass and weeds, then scraping the dirt bare and setting your planter will be fine.

    Landscape fabric in the bottom isn't a bad idea, though it will limit the depth at which things will grow, such as a carrot, obviously not an issue with an herb garden.

    Same applies for your strawberry pyramid.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,419

    Default Re: Raised Garden Beds

    A lot depends on the quality of the dirt. I am not a big fan of landscape fabric except to use under a decorative stone, but I not a fan of decorative stone either.

    Its kind of late now, but the first step is in the fall when you can use a herbicide like Round Up to kill everything. But now, I would suggest that you wait till spring and then remove the sod with a sod cutter, then till when the ground is dry enough. Wait three weeks and then till again.

    Each time you till, you will fluff the ground up, after the second tilling, take about half your new topsoil and compost and till it into the ground. Rake the soil from around the edges toward the center down to ground level, then set up your raised bed. Smooth the soil and add the rest of the top soil and compost.

    At this point, I would keep the herbs in their pots as long as possible, maybe even repot them in larger pots. Let the soil in the bed rest for a bit and see if any weeds pop up. After another two to three weeks, most weeds should have germinated. Scrap(e) them from the top soil. do not scrap(e) very deep, no more than 1/2". If you go any deeper, you will drag up new seeds to germinate. Then plant your herbs.

    Same for the strawberries.

    I think by following these instructions, the soil in the bed will have better contact with the ground so it will wick up moisture as needed. It will still need water once a week or so, but it will help to keep the topsoil in the bed from drying out so quickly. It will also help temper the soil temperature. If you isolate the topsoil, it will be subject to drying out more quickly, flooding too quickly and greater fluctuations in temperature.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,611

    Default Re: Raised Garden Beds

    I was recently walking through the building supplies section at Home Depot and saw the black plastic boxes that are sold for mixing small batches of concrete. It occurred to me that these
    2ftx4ftx8inch deep containers could be used alone or in series to make interesting planters. They are only several dollars a piece.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •