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If you’re considering building a raised garden bed, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is how long it should be. After all, the length of your raised garden bed will determine how much growing space you have to work with.
A raised garden should be 6 to 8 feet (1.82-2.43m) long. This will give you plenty of space to grow a variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Keep it 3 to 4 feet (0.91-1.21m) wide so you can reach the plants in the middle of the bed without stepping on the soil and compacting it.
When constructing a raised garden, there are several other factors you need to consider to ensure your plants have everything they need to thrive. This comprehensive guide will cover all you need to know about building a raised garden bed, including the benefits of raised garden beds, materials to use, and step-by-step instructions.
Why Your Raised Garden Bed Should Be 6–8 Feet Long
Raised garden beds are touted as the best for the easier gardening they provide. They also offer excellent drainage and aeration, two important factors in growing healthy plants.
And since the soil in a raised garden bed is not compacted by foot traffic, roots have an easier time growing and spreading, which results in healthier plants (source).
A 6-8 foot (1.82-2.43m) raised garden bed will give you plenty of space to grow a wide range of plants.
With most vegetables requiring at least 2 square feet (0.18 sq m) of space to grow properly, a 6-8 foot (1.82-2.43m) long garden bed will allow you to grow up to 16 different plants. It will also prevent overcrowding which can lead to unhealthy plants.
Pests and diseases are more likely to spread in an overcrowded garden.
Materials To Use for Your Raised Garden Bed
The type of material you use for your raised garden bed is important for several reasons:
- It needs to be strong enough to support the weight of the soil and plants.
- It should be durable enough to last for several years.
- It should be easy to work with, enabling you to construct the bed quickly and easily.
Additionally, the material you use will depend on a few other factors, including your budget and where you live. If your region is prone to severe weather, go for materials that can hold out against high winds, heavy rains, and extreme temperatures. Budget is also a key consideration, as some materials can be quite expensive.
Pressure-treated lumber is a good option for those on a budget. It’s easy to work with and will last for several years, making it a good choice for first-time raised garden bed builders.
However, if you’re looking for something a little more durable, you may want to consider brick, stone, or concrete blocks. They also add a more decorative touch to your garden.
Some of the most popular materials for raised garden beds include:
One of the most popular materials for raised garden beds is wood. It’s easy to work with and relatively inexpensive, making it a good choice for first-time gardeners. Plus, you can use many different types of wood, including pressure-treated lumber, cedar, and redwood.
When using pressure-treated lumber, ensure it is stamped “micronized copper preservative,” which is safer for use around vegetables (source).
See our guide to the best woods to use when building a raised garden.
Brick, Stone, or Concrete Block
If you’re looking for a more durable option, brick, stone, and concrete blocks are all good choices. While they are more expensive than wood, they will last for many years with little upkeep. Plus, they offer a timeless, more polished look to your garden.
Composite lumber is a newer option made from recycled plastic, wood fibers, and binding agents. It’s an eco-friendly choice that is also durable and easy to work with. Additionally, it’s more rot-resistant and comes in various colors and styles to choose from (source).
For a more modern, industrial look, metal is a good choice. It’s also very durable and can withstand extreme weather conditions. However, it can be more difficult to work with and is one of the more expensive materials. When not properly cared for, it can rust and corrode.
Building a raised garden bed is a great way to add curb appeal to your home while also getting in touch with your inner gardener. Keep it 6 to 8 feet (1.82-2.43m ) long for adequate planting space and 3 to 4 feet ( 0.91-1.21m) wide for easy accessibility.
Be sure to use pressure-treated lumber that is stamped “micronized copper preservative” to avoid any toxins leaching into the soil. With little DIY skills and elbow grease, you’ll have a beautiful raised garden bed in no time.