Do you want to have a garden, but don’t want all the maintenance? A raised garden bed may be the answer. Raised bed gardens are a popular way to grow plants, vegetables and flowers. Terrible soil, tree roots, lawn and weeds—they all become non-issues when you garden in a raised beds.

Raised garden beds, also called garden boxes, are great for growing small plots of veggies and flowers. They keep pathway weeds from your garden soil, prevent soil compaction, provide good drainage and serve as a barrier to pests such as slugs and snails. The sides of the beds keep your valuable garden soil from being eroded or washed away during heavy rains. Gardeners are often able to plant earlier in the season because the soil is warmer and better drained when it is above ground level.

The box for the raised bed can be made from any size lumber—the larger the pieces, the fewer you’ll need. It should be at least a foot off the ground and no more than four feet wide so you can reach the plants in the middle. Cedar or redwood timbers look nice and are naturally weather-resistant. There are also many kits and pre-made garden beds you can purchase.

Here are the important things to remember when planning your garden bed:

  • Lay out the beds so they are horizontally facing south
  • Double-dig the bed area
  • Check for roots
  • Level the bed
  • Spread soil out evenly
  • Avoid stepping on the bed
  • Leave a generous width between beds for the pathways

A raised bed will give your landscape an eye-catching feature. You will also get a better view of your plants since they will be lifted up and you’ll have less back strain tending to them. They are simple to install and easy to maintain, so try your hand at a mini-garden this summer.