How to plant a raised border
Raised borders are a beautiful addition to any outdoor space and are a useful way to garden if you have restricted mobility, as they reduce the need to bend down. Take a look at our simple 5-step guide to planting your own raised border.
Benefits of a raised border
Raised borders or beds, where the soil is elevated above ground level, have many benefits that both you and your plants will enjoy.
- Easy access - Raised borders are easier to manage and require less bending down. This makes them ideal for gardeners with restricted movement.
- You control the soil type - With a raised garden bed you control the type of soil that goes into your border, meaning you can introduce new soil types into your garden. This gives you the opportunity to grow plants that would ordinarily not be suited to your garden.
- Improves drainage - Drainage is boosted because the soil is higher than the ground-level. This avoids water-logging and helps to increase and maintain soil temperature throughout the seasons.
- Beautiful garden-feature - Aside from practical benefits, a raised border looks great in any outdoor space and can complement most landscape designs.
How to make a raised border
Prepare an area for your raised border
Consider where you are going to place the raised border and whether all sides are to be accessible. Once you are happy with the position, clear the ground of any existing vegetation and level the area, using a spirit level to ensure an even surface.
Assemble your planter
It is possible to build a raised border yourself, using bricks, wooden panels or even old railway sleepers. An easier option is to buy a ready-made planter. Often made of a treated natural timber, these are readily available in a range of sizes to suit most gardens.
Create a base layer of rubble
Once the structure of the raised border is in place, you can line it with a damp proof membrane, available at most DIY shops, to help protect it from rot. Next fill the base with a layer of stones, bricks and rubble as this will help boost drainage.
Fill with soil
Most plants, including vegetables and herbs, will grow well in a raised border. They are particularly useful for plants that require good drainage or that must grow in specialist soil. Most plants will do well in a border filled with a mixture of topsoil and nutrient-rich manure or compost.
Raised borders are great for growing vegetables as they can be sewn in rows and easily weeded, covered and cultivated. Why not get creative and make the boarder a beautiful focal point in your garden? However you choose to fill your border, it will be easy to maintain with regular watering.
How tall should your raised planter be?
Choosing the depth of your raised planter will depend on how you find it most comfortable to garden. Think about whether you garden standing up, as higher planters will suit this position. Lower planters are ideal if you like to garden in a seated or kneeling position. This table will give you an idea of the size of planter that best suits each gardening style, although this will differ from user to user. To be sure, use a measuring tape and make a note of the height most comfortable for you.
|Your gardening style||Depth of planter|
|Standing||90 - 100 cm|
|Sitting/kneeling||60 - 75 cm|
|Wheelchair user||60 - 65 cm|
Tools for the job
These ready-made kits come in a range of sizes and give you a sturdy structure to start planting in.
View all raised planters
Use a spirit level to make sure the ground is even so you have a sturdy base for your raised planter.
View all spirit levels
Invest in a good quality gardening spade with an ergonomic handle to help when clearing soil.
View all gardening spades
Take the effort out of transporting soil and other gardening or building materials.