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Built Up Garden Beds | How To Plan Your Raised Gardening Project


If you’re planning to add built-up garden beds to a home garden this year, you’re in good company. Raised bed gardens have become increasingly popular thanks to both their practical applications and their often beautiful aesthetics.

Built-up garden beds are a popular choice for kitchen gardeners who enjoy producing home-grown food at a readily accessible height. Raised beds are also a popular feature in landscape-designed gardens thanks to their visual appeal.

There’s a broad spectrum of options available to both DIY gardeners and Professional Landscapers – from cheap & cheerful temporary solutions right through to beautifully designed & engineered approaches that are built to look beautiful to last for years.

Navigating your way through all the available options can be a bit of a minefield, so I’ve written this short article to help you shortlist the appropriate choices for your particular project. It all starts with a plan. One that you can build whilst learning about the various considerations, by following a few helpful prompts.

By using the questions in this article to guide your exploration of this topic, you may find yourself stumbling across options you’ve never thought of before. Or at the very least you’ll have a clear plan you can use to build a materials shopping list or a tight brief to instruct your preferred landscape professional.

Ultimately, if this article helps you find your best built-up garden bed option, then we’ve both had a win!

Note: If you’re not sure how to answer the questions posed in this article, check out our Essential Guide to Raised Garden Beds – this comprehensive article takes a deeper dive into everything you might want to know about choosing and using raised garden beds, including; useful definitions, applications, material choices, benefits, things to be aware of, methods of construction, and installed examples.

Raised Garden Bed - Straightcurve Zero-Flex 400mm - Weathering Steel

12 Prompts To Help Plan Your Built-Up Garden Beds

Get clear on (and make a note of) your answers to the following questions and you’ll be closer to having a raised garden bed set up that’s perfectly suited to you and your garden.

  1. Why do you want a raised garden bed? Do you want to build raised garden beds to grow food, create a tiered garden, boost curb appeal, or for other reasons? Your answers to this question will help you shortlist the kinds of raised beds that are best suited and rule out those that wouldn’t be appropriate.
  2. How will raised beds improve your life and your garden? There are many benefits associated with raised bed gardening and landscaping. Familiarise yourself with them by reading our Essential Guide and make a note of which are most important to you, as this will also influence the type of raised beds you choose to design + build.
  3. Do any of the “potential downsides” of raised garden beds apply to you or your garden? There are some things to be aware of when choosing to build raised beds – it’s worth being aware of them so you can work around them with your material supplier or landscaper.
  4. What are you planning to plant in your raised garden beds? This will have a significant impact on your choice of materials, location, soil type, and raised bed design, so it pays to seek advice from your local suppliers.
  5. Where will you build your Raised Garden Beds? It’s a good idea to make a rough sketch (including dimensions) of the location of your proposed bed relative to your house and boundaries. On the sketch, note the sunlight, wind, and soil conditions. This will also help you when it’s time to order materials or brief a landscaper.
  6. What size, shape, and style would be best suited to your garden? Make a note of what would physically fit in your useable space, what would look good, and what would be most practical based on your intended use of your raised gardens. e.g. Raised beds built purely to achieve a landscaping aesthetic will most likely be very different in size, shape, and style from beds made for growing and harvesting edibles.
  7. What soil type would be most suited to your built-up garden beds? Make a note of the soil type that’s already on your property and the soil type most suited to your intended planting scheme. Don’t be afraid to ask advice from your local supplier on this topic. See the soil types section of our guide for more on this.
  8. Which materials would be best suited to your project? Jot down your preferred options based on what you intend to grow, what you like the look of, how long you want your beds to last, and what you’re prepared to spend. Costs, buildability, usability, and durability vary significantly depending on your choice of materials.
  9. If you like the look of metal raised garden beds, which metals would best suit your project? Make a note to talk to suppliers and look at the available options. Not all metals are alike and not all are suitable for raised bed planting.
  10. If you like the style, quality, and usability of our Straightcurve Raised Garden Beds, which type and height do you prefer? Check out our available options, make a note to find stockists, and ask them about the product range. Our products may or may not fit the bill for your project, but you can at least rule them in or out.
  11. Which method of construction most appeals to you? Would you prefer a hands-on DIY approach or do you want to get a professional to take care of your setup? Some products and materials (like Straightcurve Raised Garden Beds) are designed and manufactured for easy DIY installation. Other approaches may need to be installed by a skilled professional.
  12. Have you considered size, space, materials, soil, maintenance requirements, and costs? It’s worth getting clear on these and any other miscellaneous considerations during the planning stage so you can make fully informed choices and avoid surprises down the track.

Note: If you’re not sure how to answer the questions posed in this article, check out our Essential Guide to Raised Garden Beds. This comprehensive article takes a deeper dive into everything you might need to know about choosing and using raised garden beds, including; useful definitions, applications, material choices, benefits, things to be aware of, methods of construction, and installed examples.

Checklist: How To Pick Your Perfect Raised Garden Bed Option

Spend some time researching raised garden beds and you’ll find that there’s a massive range of options out there. Depending on how you look at it, that can be a blessing or a curse; it’s good to have options, but not so many that it becomes difficult to choose “the perfect option”.

The good news is there is no universally perfect option – instead, it’s about finding the option that works best for you. You can do that by getting clear on things like; the reason you’re building raised beds in the first place, whether you’re chasing pure functionality or if you’re looking for a particular aesthetic, what your budget is, whether you want to build a permanent structure that lasts for years, or if something more temporary. The prompts in this short article are there to help you build your own raised garden project brief and use it to discount or shortlist your various options.

In addition to the broad questions I’ve outlined already, here are some more questions you might like to ask yourself (and make notes on):

– Am I chasing a particular look & feel?

– What materials do I prefer?

– Will I be growing edibles like fruit, vegetables, or herbs?

– Am I concerned about chemicals leaching into the soil?

– What’s my budget?

– Are there termites in my garden or my neighbourhood?

– Is my garden in a dry or humid part of the country?

– Will children and pets have access and is safety a concern for me?

– How long do I want these raised beds to last and look good?

– Will my beds be highly visible – should they be aesthetically pleasing or just functional?

– Do I want these raised beds to improve the curb appeal and value of my property?

– Will I use these beds to create level changes on a flat or sloped garden?

– Will these beds be used for retaining and therefore need to be structurally sound?

– Do I want a grid of stand-alone square beds, circular planters, or a staggered series of curving tiers, or some other arrangement?

– Will I want to reposition these raised beds in the future or fix them in a permanent spot?

– Do I want to get hands-on with this project or would I prefer to leave it to a professional?

Action point: Make a note of your answers to the questions in this article (and any others that come up for you) in a planning document. Whether you want to keep notes on your phone or group your them in a google doc like this one, having a home for your ideas + requirements is a good way to plan your project.

Raised Garden Bed - Straightcurve Rigid 400mm - Weathering Steel

Conclusion + Helpful Resources

I hope this short article has given you some food for thought and helped you get a little clearer on what you do and don’t want for your own raised garden bed project. If you’ve found yourself with more questions or realised you’d like to do some more research on the topic, take a look at our Essential Guide to Raised Garden Beds, as this dives deeper into all the questions and considerations mentioned in this article.

If you already know you want to know more about galvanised or weathering steel raised garden beds, you might find these linked resources useful:

Finally, whatever method or approach you choose, I hope you enjoy your creative journey and find a raised garden bed option that’s perfect for you and your garden – good luck!

Built Up Garden Beds - Using Straightcurve Weathering Steel Rigid Raised Garden Bed Panels - 240mm - 400mm - 560mm

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