Mountain gardeners use raised beds to sidestep a long list of gardening challenges.  Bad dirt is out, because you fill a raised bed with a customized soil-and-compost blend.
A raised bed is most productive and attractive as a bottomless frame set into a shallow trench. Finding a flat spot spares a lot of digging; walls should definitely be level when complete. Level the earth or gravel layer at the bottom of the bed, then put down a layer of weed suppressing landscape fabric that extends to the outer edge of the wooden frame. This entry was posted in Container Gardens, Landscaping, Vegetable Gardening by Ken Lain, mountain gardener. Our anti-spam protection requires that you enable JavaScript in your browser to be able to comment! Fall is here, and you’ve no doubt already seen its withering effects on your perennials as they die off for the colder months.
As I've stated several times in this directory, railroad ties aren't an element of choice for creating my own landscape designs and plans. Drainage is built in and keeps erosion in check.  Greater exposure to the sun warms the bed, which allows more plant diversity and extends the growing season. The sides can be almost any durable building material, including rock, brick, concrete and interlocking blocks.


Ideally, a north-to-south orientation takes full advantage of available light.  Avoid sites shaded by the house or under messy trees. Best of all this new blue variety is self fruitful, so it only takes one bush to tango.  Who wants to dance now? Gardens are a lovely addition to any home’s landscaping, but it can be a bit disheartening to care for them all spring and summer, only to watch them fade to brown come winter.
Always a staple in modern landscaping, rock gardens feature large and small colorful rocks scattered artistically across a front or back yard. If you want to place it in a large, sprawling space, you’ll need more rocks and a more natural design concept than if you want only a small rock garden bed amidst other landscaping elements.
When choosing rocks, consider the color (do you want red sandstone or grey limestone?), size, and shape of your rocks.
Some believe that the plants you choose should only be those that grow naturally amongst rocks, while other go for sprigs of bright color amidst the stones. You’ll likely need help from a strong friend or a landscaper when moving the heavy boulders and rocks around your yard, so before you even begin you should have a solid design plan in your head to minimize the amount of lifting.
However, as far as wood structures go, railroad ties are some of the most durable elements available because of the preservatives added to the ties. Watering troughs or clawfoot tubs can work, as long as they have the capacity and drainage.


Instead, fill a mix of peat moss, compost, soil-less potting soil or growers mix into planters.
Leave at least 18 inches between beds for walkways, or 2 ft if you need room for a wheelbarrow or lawnmower.
The rich soil in a raised bed has worms and other delicacies that attract gophers, while voles relish young veggie roots.  To keep out burrowing pests I recommend a bottom layer of hardware cloth,  a mesh grid of steel or galvanized metal 1” or less in diameter should do the trick. You’ll join thousands of design-conscious readers to get gardening inspiration and innovative design solutions for enjoying outdoor spaces.
Hardscape materials like concrete blocks or stone are better considerations for building retaining walls and garden stairs. If possible, build more than one bed, which makes it easier to rotate crops and meet the watering needs of specific plants.



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