Raised garden beds can add vegetables, flowers and even a design element to your garden. Configure the Suncast tiered raised garden bed, sold through retailers such as Wayfair and made of plastic resin, in a variety of shapes.
When growing curbside edibles, raised beds can add fresh soil to avoid heavy metals or particulates that have deposited over many years but don’t dissipate. This hellstrip garden, featured in the book, "Hellstrip Gardening," is in Portland, Ore.
An unused area in the yard was used to create a large raised bed garden. The grass in the area wasn't growing properly due to poor soil;, but it received sun all day. Varying heights were used to accommodate root systems of different kind of plants, and to create visual interest. The addition of string lights makes it a wonderful "room" in the evening for cocktails under the stars.
Straw is a more utilitarian mulch typically used in vegetable gardens or strawberry patches. Straw is simply the stalks of grain plants. Ask your local straw supplier if their product is clean (doesn’t contain grain heads) and weed-free. Prevent weed seed issues by spreading three sheets of damp newspaper under straw. Some gardeners let straw bales sit a few weeks so weed or grain seeds germinate. This leads to moldy straw—plan to wear a dust mask if you have allergies. Expect to get one to two growing seasons out of straw, depending on how thickly you spread it.
Microgardens can be as tiny as a few square inches in a container or several square feet in a garden bed, says Anne Gibson of themicrogardener.com. Here, a small raised garden bed is intensively planted with edibles.
When selecting a raised garden bed, consider the style, such as metal sides or a wood frame (or both), and what you plan to grow. This metal and wood planter, sold by Gardeners' Supply, is 45 inches long and more than 15 inches wide, plus it is more than 15 inches deep to hold flowers, herbs and vegetables.