4 Raised Garden Bed Ideas

A row of tires with green leafy plants in them.

There are several things that can hinder proper gardening including erosion, bad soil, and intrusive tree roots. But what if you could garden without all these obstacles? These are just a few reasons why you might choose a raised garden bed. (And you wouldn't even need to kneel down in the dirt!)

Raised garden beds offer more nutrients to your crops than a standard gardening bed because they contain only the soil you add, so your plants will grow stronger and tastier than ever. They also take away the worries of having soil with either too much sand or too much clay. Another perk of raised garden beds is that you can make them out of just about anything you have around the yard or garage, building them piece by piece or from things that already have a walled shape.

Your main concern with a raised garden bed is how to keep it properly watered. You want good drainage to keep the plants from rotting, but the warmth from the walls can dry up beds quickly. To alleviate this conundrum, you can add a drip system or small sprinklers—or just be cautious if you are watering by hand.

If you are want to give this alternative gardening method a try, here are some twists on the traditional raised garden bed.

1. Galvanized Water Trough Garden

A vegetable planter made from a water trough.

Image via ValoriesGarden

With the farmhouse trend being so popular, take the look outdoors with a galvanized water trough garden. It’s already perfectly suited to be a raised garden bed. Most troughs even have a plug so the water can drain from them. If they don’t, you can add your own holes with a drill. Next, add a layer of rocks to help with drainage. Fill the trough with plenty of soil. Then, it will be ready for some beautiful flowers. The galvanized troughs are more sturdy and durable than traditional garden beds made of wood, so they should last many, many years. The depth of the galvanized tub allows for lots of long roots, which is ideal for squash, pumpkins, or watermelon.

2. Vintage Garden Bed

You can also transform old furniture into a raised garden bed with a little imagination. Take a vintage bed, for example. Choose a bed frame that is as ornate and decorative as you’d like. You can extend the bed rails down into the soil using some wood planks for walls. The result is a literal garden bed with some extra flair. With so much space, you can plant vegetables like tomatoes or squash, which need more area between them than other vegetables and more depth for their roots.

3. Stone Paver Walled Garden

A raised flower bed

You can build an expensive-looking raised garden out of some stone pavers and landscaping glue. As you add each paver to the base layer, level out the ground underneath each stone and add a layer of glue between each one. To prevent the soil from slipping through the cracks, add landscape fabric around the bottom and sides before you add dirt to the bed. To keep it in place, just wedge it under the last layer of stone pavers. In this kind of garden, you can plant a variety of vegetables, or you could do flowers. One thing to think about is making sure the taller plants are in the back. Otherwise, you will cover up your shorter plants with the taller ones and they won’t get enough sunlight.

4. Old Tire Herb Garden

Recycled materials can make for some nice raised gardens. Next time you wear down the tires on your car, try using them as mini gardens. You might also choose to stack a few tires together to make your raised bed taller. All you need to do to prepare the tire is cut one wall off of the tire with a jigsaw. Then, line it with landscape fabric and it will be ready for some soil. Put some thought, however, into where you will place the tire before filling it with soil; it will be nearly impossible to move once you do. Next comes the plants. For such a small garden, an ideal choice is a smaller variety of plants like herbs. Whether you choose mint, chives, parsley, or tarragon, they should all do well in your tire planter.