How to Build a Raised Bed Against a House
Building a raised bed against the house offers many advantages with hardly any disadvantages. Installing a raised bed requires few materials, very little talent with tools and approximately an afternoon of time dedication. A benefit of a raised garden is the ability to control the soil conditions by filling the raised bed with a rich, fertile and imported soil mixture. Locating the raised bed against the house provides protection for the garden from the worst effects of the weather. Situated above ground, raised beds have the advantage of draining well, which also means they will require more water than traditional gardens.
Locate the raised bed on a level spot on the side of the house that is out of strong prevailing winds and where rain runoff from the roof does not flood the raised bed.
Measure the length of the space allocated for the raised bed with a tape measure. Build the raised bed 2 feet wide so you are able to reach the far side without leaning into or standing in the garden.
Till the soil to a depth of 8 inches within the measured space of the raised bed.
Cut two boards of 2x12-inch lumber treated with chromated copper arsenate salts (CCA) to the measured length of the raised bed with a saw. These boards act as the front and back walls of the raised bed. CCA treated boards last for many years in soil and do not leach poisons.
Cut two 2-foot lengths of 2x12-inch CCA treated boards to act as the sideboards of the raised bed.
Place the two longer lengths of board acting as the front and back wall of the raised bed parallel to and 2 feet away from each other.
Place one 2-foot length of sideboard against one end of the two front and back boards and the other sideboard against the other end to form a rectangular box.
Set the boards on their edges, bracing one end of the sideboards against a wall of the house. Match the end of one of the longer boards against the end of the sideboards away from the house so they are in line with each other. Hammer four 3-inch-long galvanized nails through the end of the sideboard into the end of the longer board. Drive four 3-inch-long nails into through the other side of the sideboard into the end of the other longer board to complete one end of the box.
Turn the other end of the box that was braced against the house around and brace the completed sideboard against the house. Repeat the process of lining up the boards with each other and nailing them together.
Place the rectangular box over the area designated and tilled for the garden, with the back wall of the raised bed flush against the side of the house. Tamp the box snugly into the soil with a small sledgehammer until it is seated and level as measured by a carpenter's level.
Fill the raised bed with a soil mixture of two parts topsoil and one part each of organic material (such as peat moss or compost), and either perlite, vermiculite or sharp sand.
- A raised bed requires approximately twice the water as a traditional garden.
- Concrete blocks or railroad ties are also used to build raised beds.
- Raised beds can be built with legs under them to accommodate gardeners who cannot bend over or are in a wheelchair.
- Never use creosote or pentachlorophenol treated lumber for the garden. This lumber leaches out poison.
- Do not fill a raised bed with sandy soil. This soil drains and erodes away.
- Do not lean over the raised bed with a hand on the soil; this weight compacts the soil.
Freelance writing since 2009, Tom Ross has over 30 years of corporate management and hands-on experience in the supermarket industry. Ross was featured on the cover of "Instore Buyer" magazine and his articles have appeared on various websites.