We have been interested in growing our own food for quite some time, but haven’t had the space to do grow much more than a few herbs or chillis in pots on the kitchen window sill before buying the Raggedy House.
We decided to give up a 2m x 1m patch of lawn to a raised bed and have a go at some square meter gardening. We looked at raised beds in a few different garden centres but they seemed both flimsy and expensive. So, instead we designed and made our own raised bed from deck boards.
Designing a Raised Bed
We had already decided on the footprint of the bed and also that we wanted the raised bed to double up as an extra seat which roughly determined the height we needed it to be. This also meant that we needed to build the bed with plenty of support to allow us to sit on it with out any of the boards bending. To achieve this we decided to use a framework of thick wooden posts in the corners and midway down each long length of the bed.
We calculated how many decking boards and posts were required and then headed off to B&Q to buy them. They very kindly cut the decking boards to length for us which made things much easier as we could get them in the car and it reduced the amount of sawing by hand we needed to do!
We started by assembling the two longest sides of the bed. To do this, we simple laid out the three supports and screwed the deck boards to them. We drilled pilot holes first to ensure we didn’t split the wood.
Next, we added the two shorter sides in the same way.
Finally, we lined the bed with clear plastic which we stapled directly to the wood. This was to provide it with some protection from the moisture once it was full of nice soggy earth.
We positioned the bed upside down on the lawn to work out where we wanted it to live, making sure to leave enough space to get a mower around it.
Once happy, we used the bed as a template to cut out the turf.
We then dug out the areas where the supports were going and securely embedded the raised bed in its final position.
Once the bed was in place we put the turf in to the bottom of it (grass side down) to rot back into the earth. We then covered it with a layer of weed membrane to limit the amount of weeds that would come up through the soil.
We had lots of excess soil at the end of the garden so this is what we used to fill the bed; however, it was full of stones, glass, cat bones and door knobs, so Mike spent a day sieving it into the bed (a long and laborious task – sorry Mike). He also dug in a good amount of fertiliser to improve the soil quality.
You can see the whole process in this time lapse:
Finally, we added decking boards around the top to finish off the bed and provide a surface to sit on. These were screwed into the posts in the same way as before.
And the view from above…