DIY / Gardening / Self Sufficiency

Raised Garden Bed Layout

Until Linda popped up and mentioned these cool raised garden beds made from old fruit bins

I’d pretty much decided on metal raised garden beds. There were two reasons for this: one was that I was concerned that in 10-15 years time the timber beds would look rather … scrappy… The other had to do with the amount of work required in assembling them. The set sizes of the sleepers meant that a fair bit of cutting would be required to make the beds the sizes that worked. And since my back has been playing up again today, I’ve decided that not requiring further back surgery is preferable to saving a few hundred dollars.

With that in mind, I designed some garden layouts with the sizes of the metal raised beds to see which would work better, and I thought I’d share them with you.

Raised Bed Layout 1

Raised Bed Layout 1

The grey sections are (for the most part) a 30cm clearance to make sure that there’s room to move around the beds. The green sections are existing trees and the red sections are spaces that I feel are wasted, but can’t find a way to work around.

Raised Bed Layout 2

Raised Bed Layout 2

The thick black line is where there is a stepdown section between the two areas (there is a third stepdown section at the bottom of the garden, too, where there are more trees located).

Raised Bed Layout 3

Raised Bed Layout 3

As a point of reference, East is basically to the left of the image, and West to the right. 

At this stage my preference is leaning towards the second layout (though the third would be cheaper, involving fewer beds), but all this may change if I end up getting those recycled fruit crates…and I do like the idea of upcycling timber…

How do you arrange your garden beds? Have you tried upcycling timber?

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10 thoughts on “Raised Garden Bed Layout

  1. I think your beds are far too close together. 8 inches (200mm) or even a foot (300 mm) is not feasible to work in, plus the plants themselves will run over the edges and occupy part of the walking space. At a minimum I would suggest 2 feet (600mm) and preferably 3 feet (900mm), which is big enough to get a cart or a wheelbarrow in. However, unless you are very petite or have reaching problems, a 4′ (1200mm) wide bed is okay for most.

    Have you considered half width beds that go around the edges instead? It is more cuts and edges, but provides more growing space. I did a little mock layout including wide aisles and came up with 7.5 million sq mm of growing space versus the 5.6+ in your layout #2. Unfortunately I can’t seem up upload images to comments.

    • I guess I was working off a few assumptions when I planned out the beds that included:

      1. The plants wouldn’t overhang. I based this on the fact that the plants in my current (non raised) beds don’t overhang the edges. It’s possible that this may not be true for all plants and all garden beds, however.

      2. The 30cm were designed as pathways so that I could walk between the beds. I wasn’t really expecting to need to do a lot of work while standing between the beds (which is one of the reasons that I preferred the second and third layouts).

      3. The limitations of the pre-made beds, which means that maximum widths are 100cm (and most of them are smaller than that). This also decreases the likelihood that I would be working on the beds while standing between them, as I would be able to reach most of the way across the bed from one side or another.

      4. There is already a physical restriction on getting a cart/wheelbarrow to the space where the beds would be (the current garden bed is close to a wall surrounding the carport).

      5. Most of the beds would be 80cm off the ground, which again should assist with working while standing.

      The points that you raised were all good ones, though, and I appreciate the amount of thought you’ve put into my planning project! 🙂

  2. I am partial to the third layout. I am stuck with container gardening at this point until we move into a home with a larger growing space.

  3. Pingback: Visit to The Little Vegie Patch Co | on the ning nang nong

  4. Yet another thing to think about. Well, two things, actually.

    I am working up a post about our bird netting and emergency shade structures. You might want to think about what is the best layout to later add bird and shade structures, possibly even ones that take in more than one bed at once. I THINK the most efficient would be a square, the more a rectangle gets rectangular, rather than square, the less efficient the structure.

    Also, as you will see when I get my post up, the engineer in this relationship has simply bolted structures to wood, I’m not sure that would be quite as stable with the metal beds.

    Just been down and looked at the crate beds at the local school, where things are dieing in the heat over the holidays. They are definitely all shallower than the Little Veggie Co stuff. I think they have been cut down. Photos to come.

    • I actually plan on putting bird netting up over the entirety of the side of the house (that would cover the whole area where the fruit trees and vegetable patch/raised beds are).

      I need to wait til Winter so I can prune my fruit trees, and then I’ll be building what is basically a walk-in netted area.

      I’m not so worried about shade cloth, since they’re not in full sun all day (which would be the ideal position, but it won’t happen until I convince Nick that we want to rip up our (small) lawn and replace it with vegetables…)

  5. You have probably already decided, but I would go with layout two. Also, I’d go bigger beds with whatever minimum space allows you to get a wheelburrow around the beds – otherwise filling and future wheelburrow requirements will be a pain in the ass – or back! But not more than absolute minimum. When I first built my raised beds I did a 900mm wide bed with 600mm paths. I not long after widened the beds to 1200mm and halved the paths to 300mm and they work fine.

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