By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Elevate your garden bed and enjoy gardening more. Longtime gardeners are discovering that raised beds make it easier by bringing plants to a higher level so you don't have to bend down and work on your knees. You can grow flowers, herbs and vegetables and work the soil while sitting on a ledge - a major plus for anyone with a bad back or not-so-bendable knees. And you can design and locate the raised garden bed where the growing conditions are best.
You'll find a variety of raised bed systems sold at lawn and garden centers, in gardening catalogs and online, where we found several at eartheasy.com. They offer raised garden beds made of cedar, recycled plastic or composite material with a system of timbers that connect with anchor joints and screws.
To install the bed, first find a level surface. Slide the timbers into the joints and use the zinc-plated steel screws to secure them. The anchor joints are pressed into stacker joints in the ground. To help drive the screws, it's handy to have a power drill.
A 2-foot-high, 4-foot-by-4-foot raised bed Kit made of recycled material costs $195. The shipping cost is additional and varies depending on where you live (as do the costs of the soil, fertilizer and plants). To have a landscape service assemble it, fill it with soil, amend the soil and plant it, figure an additional $125 or more.
To find a contractor who has the skills and tools to do it right, click
Home Advisor, a free referral service that matches homeowners with contractors.
Take a look at the Organic Post's suggestions for inspiring ideas and plans for raised gardens 10 Inspiring DIY Raised Garden Beds.
The bottom line: compare the price of a contractor’s bid to build a raised garden bed with what it costs to do it yourself and make your decision. You adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020