For me, square foot gardening is my favorite method of gardening for our home, and I spend so much time online looking at awesome DIY raised bed garden designs to expand the ‘square’ of my gardens. It works well for our home and our lifestyle. It allows me to plant-based off the light of our yard (certain crops in the shade, other crops in the sun), and for the need of our yard. We have a vine that was allowed to overgrow the neighborhood that has runners underground that we can’t remove. It invades everything, along with all the bermudagrass. So raising our beds, protecting against those invaders helps keep the garden easier to maintain for me!!
There are all sorts of methods of gardening, but today, we’re going to stick with the raised bed idea. The following are great images of styles of gardens you can use (with links to the original source of information), tips and hacks to make your gardening easier.
10 DIY RAISED BED GARDEN DESIGNS
1. The Tiered Raised Bed Garden
I love the stepped up version of this square foot garden-inspired design. Not only are you giving depth to crops that need a little more depth to grow well, but you’ve got a versatile design to work with your comfort level of movement. Tall plants on the levels, deep growing or short crops on top.
2. The U-Shaped Raised Bed Garden with Cinder Blocks
While we won’t be doing the “u” shaped beds, we are going to test the cinder block raised bed this year. It gives us a little more movement if we need to rearrange the garden next year and spots for small crop areas that may creep (mint, anyone?!) or just fun things.
3. Raised Bed Garden with Trellis
This raised bed garden design by Blueberry Hill Crafting combines a few great ideas. The galvanized steel walls would be great for northern gardens to help bring more heat to the planting medium in your bed. It also looks really awesome for those of you who want beautiful looking beds to go along with their functionality. They’ve also integrated cattle paneling into the trellis design so that there is vertical space over the walkway.
4. Cattle Panel Raised Bed Garden Cylinder
If building a huge wooden bed is not something you want to try, there are other versions that can help you create a bed you can work in, no matter what the soil or surroundings are. This garden bed is made from a galvanized steel mesh (think cattle panel) lined in a textile that doesn’t contain water. This is a moveable bed system – meaning you can move it around from season to season as opposed to a wooden or concrete/brick construction.
5. The Plastic Drum Raised Bed Planter
This is a clever idea, especially if you have access to these plastic drums. They don’t have to be able to hold water any longer, as that makes a perfect drainage opportunity. These would definitely need to be altered to allow for proper drainage, but I love that they are raised to a height where you don’t have to stoop or bend to work on your garden! You might not want to plant tomatoes, green beans or corn here, but this is a perfect place for low-growth crops. Click here for a tutorial on how to create these raised bed drum planters.
6. Hugelkultur Raised Bed Gardens
While generally raised bed gardens are prominent in urban settings, the hugelkultur garden is usually thought to be for those with larger plots of land. But that’s definitely an understatement. You can do it in even smaller beds than these! Check out the process at Permies.com
Just what is a hugelkultur garden?
Hugelkultur is nothing more than making raised garden beds filled with rotten wood. This makes for raised garden beds loaded with organic material, nutrients, air pockets for the roots of what you plant, etc. As the years’ pass, the deep soil of your raised garden bed becomes incredibly rich and loaded with soil life. As the wood shrinks, it makes more tiny air pockets – so your hugelkultur becomes sort of self-tilling. (source: richsoil.com)
7. Galvanized Steel Watering Tank Raised Bed Gardens
If your DIY skills are lacking, or you just don’t have the time and want something ready-made, you can get DIY raised bed garden kits or use galvanized steel watering tanks. We use several of these smaller steel tanks for some of our herb gardens right by the back door. They keep out more of the critters that would eat our plants year to year and allow the soil to get warmer during winter months. And they look good, too!
8. Found Object Raised Bed Gardens
I love the idea of found objects to raise up your garden beds. These plastic crates make a great system when lined with landscape cloth.
9. Straw Bale Gardening
The awesome thing about straw bale gardening is that it is so easy to set up, after following a bit of conditioning, you can grow over the whole structure, and then compost it when it has lived its usefulness to you. Move it around to where you need it, plant small or large patches or use it to line a raised bed and give yourself more growing space. Modern Farmer.com shows you how.
Additional Reading>> 27 Tips from a Master Gardener
10. DIY Elevated Raised Bed Garden / Planter
For those with back issues or accessibility issues, these elevated raised garden bed planters can be a back saver/lifesaver. Having the bed up to where you don’t have to bed or to access with a mobility device allows you to still grow without the trauma of backbreaking work or not at all if you can’t move well. I do wish my garden was full of these!
RAISED BED GARDENING DESIGN TIPS & HACKS
Click on this link from Rodale’s Organic Life to get plans on making your own raised bed garden.
One problem many have is an invasion from deer. Here is a great way to create a border for your garden that serves double duty – a barrier and a vertical gardening plane. Sure, the deer may eat at your crops through the fence, but when you have a whole fence worth, surely they’ll leave you some!
Another issue that gardeners run into are chickens, birds, squirrels and even cats that get into garden beds. This easy netting hack is a great way to keep them out of your crops. You can also use this to put shade cloth over crops that are sensitive to high season light to stretch their time a little longer before being burned by the summer sun.
I love how this family used a tiny bit of space to build a small raised bed garden for their cucumbers to climb. Think about doing this for any climbing vegetable. You can also build it on the backs of your regular square foot containers, as well.