Concrete #Block #Raised #Garden #Bed

Raised Garden bed - concrete block

Creating a Raised Garden Bed out of concrete block

One of the first things I wanted added to my homestead was raised garden beds. Raised beds are nice because they can extend your season, give you greater control over the soil that you use, and are easier on your back.

You really can make a raised garden be out of anything! I have seen tires, wood, railroad ties, concrete, store-bought, wheelbarrows, and more being used as a garden. I chose to use concrete block for a few reasons.

  • First, I like a clean look and things like tires and other recyclables never seem to work for me. I am infinitely envious of the people who can make them look cute, but when I try things like that, unfortunately, it looks like I have trash in my yard.
  • Second, I had access to 70 free concrete blocks, which was a good start to my garden. You can often find them free on craigslist if you are able to pick them up.
  • Finally, I was not thrilled with the idea of using railroad ties or pressure treated lumber to make my beds because of the risk of chemical leaching. Non pressure-treated lumber touching the ground would not last long in the Arizona weather (it would be fried in the sun and eaten by termites).
    concrete raised garden beds

    Finished concrete raised garden beds

Each bed took twenty-two 8″ x 8″ x 16″ blocks. The center garden is a plastic raised bed that we received as a gift. I used seven blocks on each long side and four blocks on each short side so each bed is 9′ 4″ x 4′ (about 37 square feet). The middle bed is 4′ x 4′ (16 square feet). I ended up using red stone caps on top of the concrete blocks to finish the look and give me a nice place to sit when I am weeding and staring at plants. I left the four corner blocks open so I can plant herbs and small plants in each so each bed took twenty red block caps.

I added a few things after they were made as you can see from the finished picture. I put solar lights in each of the open squares and I also put a garden “fence” around the outside of each bed (which is harder to see in the picture). The fence pieces allow me to drape shade cloth when needed while still keeping it off the plants. I bought both of these items at the $0.99 store.

The total spent for each bed (if you did not find any freebies) is:

Total = $69.54 (each) without the “decorations”

I did not concrete the caps to the blocks. Since it is only one block high it should not be necessary. So far, it has worked great. I also added an irrigation system (more on that in a future post).

Submitted to: Green Thumb and Simple Lives.

 

  • Reply donald quixote February 14, 2014, 9:56 am

    This looks really good and simple but I would love to try and beef it up a bit. I think building it a little taller so you aren’t bending down quite so much would be great! But this is a super great and cheap idea that I want to try!

    • Reply Heidi February 14, 2014, 12:20 pm

      You definitely can build it up! Super simple to add another layer, just use landscape block adhesive and you won’t have to deal with mortaring them.

  • Reply Riki August 10, 2014, 10:06 am

    Awesome idea! The way I see it, you can also leave the blocks open, fill it with soil and plant stuff there as well.
    Greetings!

  • Reply Anna @ Backyard Chicken Lady September 11, 2014, 12:43 pm

    I used blocks for my raised bed garden starting two years ago. I did a double stack since I was pre-hip operation at that time and needed even more of a raise. I like the idea of capping the blocks for a place to sit…why didn’t I think of that? Well, perhaps next years garden!

  • Reply daisy September 11, 2014, 6:07 pm

    What a great and economical solution! I hope you’ll visit The Maple Hill Hop with your outdoor posts! Enjoy!

  • Reply lisa lynn September 17, 2014, 10:33 am

    Great idea, Heidi! I would love to do this, but I’m afraid the concrete blocks will crack in our northern winters. Knowing me, I would get busy and forget to weatherize in the fall 😉 But I so want to do this!

    • Reply Heidi September 17, 2014, 9:30 pm

      Good point. I’ve used concrete blocks as far north as Illinois – but I don’t know what would happen when it was even colder! On the plus side, the blocks hold in heat so it would extend your season a bit 🙂
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