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Raised Flower Beds

Raised flower beds have a lot going for them. They make it possible to have a lovely flower bed without any digging. Depending on their final height, they can make it possible to weed and prune your flowers without bending over.

And you can design them so you create an interesting look in your yard that you may not be willing to do if you had to dig it all. They are also a good choice if your soil has drainage problems or is loaded with a lot of rocks that make digging even more difficult.

Raised beds can be built from scratch or from a kit. They can be built in squares, rectangles, L-shapes, boat shapes, octagons, hexagons, or anything else you can imagine.

You can also stack a smaller level on top of a full lower level, adding height and a place to plant flowers that cascade over the side. They can be large or small. They can encircle a deck or patio, or sit freely in the center of the yard. They are only limited by your imagination.

If you suffer from arthritis, bad knees or other disability, raised beds can be built high enough that you can garden with no discomfort. Even if you are in a wheelchair, raised beds can be built to accommodate your seated height and reach.

Raised flower beds can be built of planks, railroad ties, landscaping timbers , or just about anything that you want. You can build them as high or as low as you need. Good solid corner posts help make them sturdy.

Once you have the shape built, you want to attach a good landscape cloth on the inside to discourage weeds from growing up from the bottom. Landscape cloth works well because air and water can still pass through.

Now it is time to fill the bed with soil. Many communities have landscape supply companies that sell soils of various types, and they will usually deliver soil to your home if you order a set minimum.

They may sell compost, organic soil or other rich potting mix that will be just right for your raised beds. Fill the raised bed with the soil of your choice until it is close to the top. If your raised flower bed is deep, you may want to put some filler on the bottom to help with drainage. This could be sand, pebbles, perlite, or other drainage material.

With your raised bed filled, now it is time to put in your plants. Use the same strategy you would use to plan any other flower bed. Choose plants appropriate for your growing zone, and arrange them in a pleasing arrangement with tall plants in the back, then medium plants, and finally short and cascading plants in the front.

If you have mixed colors, think about how they interact with each other. A nice bright yellow flower like coreopsis may look stunning surrounded by blues or purples. Or maybe a stunning purple focal point surrounded by soft pink and rose.

hostaDon't forget the foliage. Foliage can make or break your flower bed… you can get contrast, color, texture and shape variations all with foliage. Bright and colorful foliage is available with coleus and caladium… silver can be found with dusty miller and lamb's ears, and then there are shapes from thin grassy blades to lacy peonies and columbine, and then the giant broad leaves of hosta.

The really nice thing you can do with a raised bed that doesn't work on the ground is the ability to use cascading plants. Hanging nasturtiums, or vines left to dangle over the edge create a lovely softness to your raised frame.

Creeping Charlie, ivy, pennywort… they all have different ways of cascading down, creating their own flowing textures and colors.

When you plan your raised flower beds, use your imagination. Let it run wild. Have fun planting in three dimensions. Your yard will be beautiful, and you will enjoy gardening in a whole new way.

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