Some gardeners have been using raised beds for years but they’re really just coming into their own. In fact, they’re becoming downright trendy for a variety of reasons.
Until recently, raised beds were used primarily for growing vegetables. Some were nothing more than railroad ties that raised the bed up only the height of the tie. Their primary purpose was to define the planting bed or to provide extra depth in which to add top soil or organic matter. Other utilitarian planting beds are simply large boxes made of plywood nailed to a dimensional lumber frame. Both styles did the intended job of providing a defined, enhanced environment for growing crops in the backyard.
As the gardening population began to age, raised beds began to be built waist high with a wide, flat top cap so the gardener could work standing up or sitting on top. Either position could be less painful for ailing knees and backs.
People have been planting flowers in window boxes for a very long time. They must have realized more recently that raised beds are like big window boxes that can hold a lot more plants. Now raised beds can be seen with all kinds of flowers, herbs, mixed plantings and even water and aquatic plants. The raised bed can be lined with rubber pond liner material and planted with water lilies and other aquatic plants.
Look through online garden supply catalogs and you’ll find raised beds on legs. Some even have wheels attached so you can roll them to different locations on your patio, deck, yard or garden. For the rural look, some people began using horse troughs for plantings and resourceful
companies responded by making troughs in various shapes and sizes, and marketing them through the garden supply outlets.
Whether they are on legs or directly on the ground, raised beds function like really big container gardens, giving you plenty of garden versatility. They can define borders, provide accents for in ground planting and even serve as a temporary garden if something happens to a permanent planting bed.
The photo, courtesy of bulb importer and distributor Brent & Becky’s Bulbs, illustrates the ultimate versatility of raised beds. These form a roof garden on their home in Virginia. Clever idea, professionally crafted.
If you think raised beds will be a good addition to your landscape but would like them customized, talk with one of our professional designers. They can create just what you’re looking for, and we have access to some of the most talented craft people in the area to build them and landscape professionals to install them. All you have to do is enjoy them. And glow in the satisfaction of being the first in your neighborhood to embrace the raised bed trend.