WoodBlocX

  • How to make a raised bed: frequently asked questions

    From how to make a raised bed to where to put it, we have covered the most frequently asked questions to help you make the best choices for your garden.

    Q. What is the best position for a raised bed?

    A. Once you have decided where you would like to build your raised bed, take some time to note where the sun rises and sets. The amount of light that falls on that particular spot will help you decide whether it is the best place to build it or not, for example, if your raised bed has shade cast over it for most of the day certain plants or edibles may not thrive there.

    Q. What surface can a raised bed be built on?

    Most raised beds can be built on any surface and there is no need for foundations or cement, build them directly on soil, grass, paving, tarmac, concrete or even sloped gardens, just make sure that you are building on a solid and level surface. WoodBlocX raised beds are unique in their design, incorporating a series of strong dowels which means they are able withstand ground movement when built on a reasonable surface. To find out how to build a WoodBlocX raised garden bed click here.

    Q. What should I line my raised garden bed with?

    A. We recommend using a geotextile membrane liner as it will allow for better drainage than a standard plastic liner on any sized raised bed or planter to ensure the structure remains in excellent condition.

    Q. What soil should I fill my raised bed with?

    A. This totally depends on what you plan to grow. Raised beds are a great solution for gardens with poor soil as you can select the type you use. Filling the space with a rich compost mixture would work really well but would also be very expensive. We advise customers to use a good topsoil mix and add a soil improver or compost mix to the top layers. Sandy soil is the best all-rounder. Using a bought-in topsoil rather than using up any surplus from the garden gives you much more control over weeds. Soils can be made richer through using your own homemade compost or manure, but check whether these mixes are suitable for what you plan to grow and remember plants and vegetables can be supported with solid and liquid fertilisers too.

    Q. What can I grow in a raised bed?

    A. You can grow almost anything in a raised bed! Many of our customers favour them for growing edibles because the extra height makes the regular cycle of sowing, maintaining, weeding and harvesting really easy. Depending on the surface that your raised bed is built on you may need to consider planting deeper rooted varieties in taller beds rather than low-level beds.

    Raised beds are ideal for organic growing as you can control exactly what is used in them, also ericaceous plants such as rhododendron and camellia can also be planted using an acidic soil mixture.

    Q. How do I work out the soil quantity for my raised bed?

    A. If you are filling your raised bed completely then a simple way to work out how many litres is length(m) x width(m) x height(cm). If you plan to add a drainage layer to the bottom, subtract the height of the layer from the equation.

    Q. How do I maintain a raised bed?

    A. Our raised beds are maintenance free, the wood is pre-drilled and then pressure treated, we expect them to last 15 years or more without rotting, cracking or warping. Our structures are joined by a series of dowels that help to create a rigid structure which can withstand tension forces (each dowel joint will withstand up to 0.9 tonnes of shear force in our tests).

    Q. Can I build raised beds on a slope?

    A. Yes! WoodBlocX raised beds are ideal for sloped gardens, the beds can be designed to match the contours of your garden and with the addition of ground spikes, which will help hold the structure down on slopes, helping to prevent the structure from slipping sideways down the hill. Ground spikes are placed on the first layer of all WoodBlocX structures and are also located in every buttress. Many of our customers also use WoodBlocX for retaining walls to landscape their gardens. We recommend using our Free Bespoke Design Service for these projects as our experienced team can help you work out exactly what you need.

    Q. How deep does a raised bed need to be?

    A. Raising the height of your garden beds and borders makes gardening instantly more accessible, but you also need to consider the layout of the rest of the garden. Paths and steps can prove troublesome, opt for wider paths if possible, especially between raised beds if you have more than one. Our wooden raised beds can be built at heights between 0.25m - 1.05m and each structure is strong and sturdy enough to sit or lean on. Our helpful calculator tools will help you to understand the best height to suit your needs, as you select the different height options you will see details of the different benefits that particular height offers.

    Read our accessible gardening blog here.

    Creating an accessible garden
    Creating an accessible garden using raised beds
    Creating an accessible garden using raised beds

    Q. How often should I water my raised bed?

    A. This totally depends on there time of year but during warmer weather water twice a day, early morning and in the evening to prevent the sun scorching the plants. Solar or electric watering systems are a really good option if you struggle to lug watering cans around the garden. Raised beds also warm up quicker in the spring and cool down slower when the weather turns cold, which is brilliant for growing in general.

    Q. Do raised beds need drainage?

    A. Raised beds can be accessed without having to walk on them, this prevents soil compaction, which also improves drainage, helping plant roots to grow more freely and take on more nutrients. WoodBlocX raised beds of all sizes allow for drainage through the air gaps between each block, customers building our raised beds directly on patios, tarmac and concrete could benefit from a drainage layer at the bottom if the bed - stones or gravel can be used for this.

    If your garden is particularly susceptible to collecting surface water and feel you need an additional drainage source you could add a French drain to the base of the wall, this requires you digging a small trench, adding a perforated drainage pipe, which will needs to be directed away from the wall to either a main drain or to somewhere where it can easily soak away. Then simply fill with Type 1 or subbase and cover.

    Q. Can I build a raised bed on a roof or balcony?

    Yes! WoodBlocX is perfectly suited to balconies and roof gardens thanks to the small light weight blocks which can be easily moved around, whereas lengths of timber and heavy railway sleepers can be difficult to get up stairways and into lifts. Our raised beds and planters can be made to fit tight or narrow spaces and will instantly add character to your outdoor space.

    Find out about our free design service here.

    How to make a raised bed
    How to build a raised bed
    How to make a raised bed

    Q. What weedkillers or fertilisers should I use when growing plants in a raised bed?

    A. This is entirely up to the individual, we recommend using products that are kinder on the soil and environment, check for products that are clearly labelled natural, biological or have the stamp of approval from organic growing organisations such as the Soil Association or Organic Farmers & Growers Association. For weeds you can remove by hand or, if you're keen to use the no dig method, and have a space that you're starting from scratch with you can cover it with a sheet to stop the light getting in and then remove the weeds once they have perished. If you're keen to make your own natural weedkiller there's helpful information over at Garden Organic.

    Q. What is the best wood for a raised bed?

    A. Wood is by far the best material option for making raised beds, in most cases its easy to obtain, comes pre-treated and good value for money. The best wood for building raised beds depends on your preference. The most common varieties for for building raised beds, planters and even garden edging is pine or oak. Oak is generally much more expensive than pine. You can find out more about the different materials that can be used to build raised beds here.

    Q. What is the best wood preserver for raised beds?

    A. Buying a product that has pre-treated with a pressure treatment or wood that has been pre-treated is the best option. We drill the holes in our wooden blocks that our dowels fit into before we pressure treat the wood to ensure that the treatment penetrates almost 100% of the wood, this is why our structures will not rot, crack or warp. A pre-treated railway sleeper that is then drilled exposes untreated parts of the wood to moisture which, over time will lead to rot.

    To browse our full range of wooden raised beds, ponds, planters, walls, seats and more or to find out about our FREE design service click below
  • What is the best material for making a raised bed?

    What is the best material for making a raised bed?

    There are many different types of materials that can be used to build raised garden beds from wood through to brick, our customers tell us they spend time researching the options to find out which material is best suited for what they want to achieve in their garden. So what is the best material for making a raised bed?

    The aim of this blog is to include all of the information you need in one place to save you time searching and to help you make the right choice for your next garden project.

    We’ve listed the different materials you could use and included approximate costs based on raised beds of similar sizes, Options listed are in price order.

    Brick raised beds

    Raised beds can be made from either brand new or reclaimed bricks, you will need to include foundations to build on to create a stable structure. To build it you could set yourself a challenge but you will need to ensure that the bricks are laid straight and level and the mortar mix is correct. If you’re not confident in bricklaying it is best to enlist the help of a skilled tradesperson.

    • Brick raised bed maintenance- Repointing of mortar joints, plus frost-damaged bricks may need to be replaced as and when
    • Materials - Bricks, concrete for the footings, sand, cement and, coping stones
    • Costs - Based on L 2.25m x W 1.5m x H 0.45m - approx £500 for materials (if buying directly from a trade counter), plus additional for labour costs if you are not building the wall yourself
    Brick raised bed
    Railway sleeper raised beds

    Railway sleeper raised beds

    Building wooden raised beds out railway sleepers is fairly straightforward, you can buy lengths from timber merchants or garden and DIY retailers in hardwood and softwood varieties (pine or oak), the lengths will need to be cut to size, and you will need to drill holes down through the sleepers and insert reinforcing bars to hold them together. Most new railway sleepers are pre-treated with a preservative, older sleepers or reclaimed sleepers tend to be treated with creosote which is harmful and not recommended for using in the garden.

    • Railway sleeper raised bed maintenance - Use an annual wood preservative treatment to prevent rotting, creocote (not creosote mentioned above) is the recommended option for this. The are untreated and treat varieties  option available.
    • Materials - Treated softwood sleepers, reinforcing bars, sleeper brackets / angle brackets. The traditional / standard railway sleeper size is 2400mm x 200mm x 100mm - shorter and thinner versions are available.
    • Costs - Based on L 2.25m x W 1.5m x H 0.45m - approx £22 - £28 per sleeper £330 and £100 for screws, brackets, reinforcing bars.

    WoodBlocX raised beds

    An easy-to-build, waste-free option, no cutting or drilling is required, the pieces are similar to Lego and are built up like brick-work and held together with a series of dowels, these combined with the layers of blocks make a strong structure which will last for 15 years or more. No special skills or tools are needed to build a WoodBlocX raised bed and each kit comes with a set of step by step instructions.

    • WoodBlocX raised bed maintenance - No annual maintenance required, the blocks are pre-drill and then pressure treated making the wood extra strong and durable
    • Materials - (All included in your kit) wooden blocks, capping, dowels and wedges, angle plates, step by step instructions
    • Costs - Based on L 2.25m x W 1.5m x H 0.45m - £412.50 - this model can be viewed here
    What is the best material for making raised beds

    Wooden board or decking board raised beds

    By far the cheapest option for building raised beds, however, wooden boards and decking are only really suitable for low-level planting as the boards are not strong enough to hold the weight of large amounts of soil. To build simply cut the boards to size and use 3” 2” timber as stakes and to reinforce the corners and to create a frame to build to. To answer the question; what is the best material for making a raised bed? We'd say that wooden boards or decking boards are a good option for allotments to separate beds.

    • Wooden board raised bed maintenance - Replacing rotten and warped boards, every few years, treating or painting
    • Materials - Lengths of board available in a variety of sizes, 3” 2” timber for securing the boards in place, screws of varying lengths
    • Costs - Based on L 2.25m x W 1.5m x H 0.45m - approx £110 for boards, £10 3” 2” timber and £10 for the screws

    What is the best wood for raised beds?

    Wood is by far the best material option for making raised beds, in most cases its easy to obtain, comes pre-treated and good value for money. The best wood for building raised beds depends on your preference. The most common varieties for for building raised beds, planters and even garden edging is pine or oak. Oak is generally much more expensive than pine.

    Other materials

    There are metal raised bed options available, made from galvanised steel, kits are fairly simple to put together using bolts and prices start at around £450. There are also plastic options for low- level planting but these are not built to last.

    In conclusion...What is the best material for making a raised bed?

    Research is key when buying a raised bed, you need make sure the material you choose is right for you, whether it is wood, metal or even recycled plastic.

    You might want something that is long lasting for your forever home, or low budget to keep your allotment beds in check, an accessible planter that is wheelchair friendly or show stopper investment ready for when you put your house on the market.

    To browse our wide range of wooden raised beds, planters, railway sleeper style raised beds, ponds, seats, retaining wall kits, or to use our free bespoke design service click the button below.

  • Our sustainability story

    Wood is the heartbeat of WoodBlocX and it is our duty to ensure that the wood we use is grown ethically, sustainably and that waste is repurposed effectively. All of the wood used in our products is harvested in ‘managed forests’ which are areas of woodland where trees are felled and replanted with seedlings.

    A couple of interesting statistics…a whopping 5.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide is sequestered from the atmosphere by these types of forests in the UK, and, trees play a vital role in our economy, with the wood processing industry providing 64,000 jobs in the UK.

    So it’s important that when you buy a wood-product that it is not just from an environmentally-friendly company, but that the good ethics are present all the way back down the supply chain to where that company sources its materials, when using a company like ours you are guaranteed not only a high quality product but also the highest environmental credentials.

    Furthermore, our timber is accredited by the FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council). The FSC is an international body that sets the standards for responsible forest management, and ensures that all timber products bearing its mark are from sustainably-managed woodland, so that you can be sure that your garden materials are from woodland that has its water, soil and ancient trees protected, and that the forestry operation does not use hazardous chemicals.

    The modular timber constructions from WoodBlocX – raised beds, planters, retaining walls and terracing, ponds, benches and more – are all made using mostly UK-grown timber (some shortfall is made up with Latvian timber that also meets our strict guidelines). Using UK timber drastically reduces our ‘timber miles’ and carbon footprint. The more UK-grown wood is used to make products, the more trees will be planted to meet the demand, and we all know that more trees in the world is a good thing. Imported wood can often be from areas that are not managed sustainably, causing untold damage to the earth’s wildlife and climate – WoodBlocX UK timber has none of those concerns.

    Our timber is treated using a water-based preservative (Wolmanit CX-10), so there are no nasty chemicals to leach into your garden’s soil which makes WoodBlocX raised beds and planters ideal for organic gardening and growing. WoodBlocX constructions are so strong that they don’t need foundations – even for retaining walls – so you won’t have to use any cement, which has many environmental concerns connected to it. The dowels that fix the BlocX together are even made using recycled plastic, so it’s all in all one of the greenest products on the market.

    In addition, the manufacturing the wooden blocks for our kits creates a lot of sawdust that we don’t need, to ensure that it does not go to waste, it is collected by a local energy plant based up here in the Highlands of Scotland and transformed into pellets for biomass boilers, powering homes sustainably with a by-product that we cannot use.

    A WoodBlocX installation a great addition to your garden for growing your own ornamentals and edibles, made from high-quality sustainable materials from environmentally conscious sources, plus each one goes towards creating renewable energy for homes and businesses too!

  • The benefits of raised beds

    The benefits of using raised beds
    We know a thing or two about the benefits of raised beds. After all, we have been designing, manufacturing and delivering them to gardens across the UK and Europe for the best part of a decade.
    Here's just some of the benefits of raised beds
    • Create better soil conditions – ideal for new build homes or those with poor soil
    • Improve drainage
    • Build at a depth to suit you - Easy access for sowing, growing, weeding and watering
    • Build on patios, concrete, tarmac, grass or soil
    • Pest control – keep rabbits out
    • Use them to landscape sloping gardens
    • Extended growing season - raised beds warm up quicker in spring and retain heat for longer in the autumn
    • Add value to your property

    We've gone into a little more detail below on some of the key benefits of raised beds.

    Use raised beds to create better soil conditions

    Raised beds are a great addition for boggy or clay soil too as, providing improved drainage. New beds need to be filled and you have a choice of using surplus soil from your garden or adding brand new soil. If you choose the latter you will generally receive a fresh, weed-free mix which you can add nutrient-boosting soil improvers or compost to, giving you greater control over what your produce is grown in.

    Raised beds can be used to grow annuals, perennials, shrubs and even plants that need to be grown in specific soil, including ericaceous varieties such as azaleas, rhododendron and camellia as you can adapt the soil to suit. 

    The benefits of raised beds - improved soil conditions

    Improved drainage

    Raised beds built directly on soil or grass do not require any drainage, those built on patios, tarmac and concrete could benefit from a drainage layer at the bottom if the bed - stones or gravel can be used for this. WoodBlocX raised beds of all sizes allow for drainage through the air gaps between each block. We recommend lining WoodBlocX raised beds with a damp proof membrane.

    Raised beds can be accessed without having to walk on them, this prevents soil compaction, helping plant roots to grow more freely and take on more nutrients, which helps them to become more resilient to disease and frost.

    The benefits of raised beds - build on any surface

    Build raised beds at a depth to suit you

    Many people choose wooden raised beds for growing vegetables and fruit because the extra height makes watering, weeding and pest control much easier.

    The depth or height of a raised bed is totally dependent on its end use and end user. Low level raised beds (0.25m) are ideal for dividing up growing areas and growing shallow-rooted plants. For controlling pests such as rabbits or for keeping pet dogs away from your planting, a raised bed up to 0.45m will keep them at bay, and for ease of access, a tall raised bed from 0.55m is ideal. Read more over at our Size Matters blog.

    Use raised beds to landscape gardens

    Raised beds are an easy solution for landscaping sloping gardens. Stepped raised beds can be used for both flat and sloped gardens. Use them to add height and interest to a patio area, or to add different sections for planting or use them to landscape a sloping garden.

    Lots of our customers opt to add steps to run alongside the raised beds that are used to landscape the garden to tie everything together. To see exactly how our structures work retaining earth to landscape a garden click here.

    We recommend using our Free Bespoke Design Service for sloping  garden designs to ensure you get exactly what you need for your project.

    WoodBlocX retaining wall ideas
    The benefits of using raised beds
    The benefits of using raised beds

    We use sustainable and non-toxic materials

    Wood is one of the best materials for raised beds and ours are made from the highest quality timber, the wood is pressure-treated and because WoodBlocX are pre-drilled, the non-toxic treatment penetrates to almost 100% of the wood, making our structures durable, long-lasting, and a great alternative to railway sleepers which tend to be chemically-treated. We use rough-sawn wood which will naturally fade to a grey over the years and doesn’t need any maintenance or treatment. 

    To find out more about our wide range of wooden raised beds and planters and to find out how simple it is to build beautiful long lasting structures for your garden click the button below

  • WIN one of three Garden on a Roll autumn borders

    After the dry and very hot spell in June and July gardens across the UK suffered, with lawns drying out and plants in beds and borders turning an unsightly shade of brown. If this sounds like your garden then our latest competition is for you!

    We have teamed up with Garden on a Roll to help rescue your border.

    When planning a planting scheme for a border it can be difficult to work out how many plants to fill it with and which plants will look good together, this can result in over-spending on plants and a messy border. Garden on a Roll use the expertise of garden designers to select the plants that work best together and also show you where to plant them.

  • Autumn garden updates

    With the hot summer days making way for the cooler autumnal weather, September and October are great months for making the changes in the garden that you didn’t get round to doing in the spring and summer. Here are few tips from us to get you started...

    Tidy up

    Lots of plants fell victim to the hot dry weather in June and July whilst others will have flourished, by now the garden will have lost its bright and fresh glow and be looking a little be bedraggled. Arm yourself with a good pair of secateurs and set to work cutting back old growth of spent plants and flowers, remove any dead plants, cut back rapid-growing herbs such as oregano and mint, hard prune roses and weed beds and borders. Lawns will have begun to spring back to life now, mow them and tidy up bushy and overgrown edges. 

    Update at your own pace

    Now that the BBQ and alfresco dining season is well and truly over it's a great time to think about making updates to the garden. There’s less pressure than in spring or summer to have the garden ready for a certain time so you can move at your own pace, however fast or slow that may be.

    If you’re looking at starting a complete garden redesign our design team can help you by creating a WoodBlocX design that is totally bespoke to your garden free of charge. Simply call, 
    email or fill in the quick design survey and we will do the rest for you. Our versatile system can be used to create fully integrated gardens that include planters steps, raised beds and retaining walls, the can be built by you saving £££s on labour costs. If you a complete garden redesign is out of the question check out our 'Transform your garden in a weekend' blog.

    Maintenance 

    Painting sheds and fences, cleaning greenhouse glass, trimming bushes, replacing rotten raised beds and repairing patios are all jobs that cannot wait until next spring. Make a list of the jobs you need to do in your garden and tackle them starting with the most important. Keep your eyes peeled for special offers of paints and materials at DIY stores and garden centres. For rotten raised beds made from wooden boards or railway sleepers consider upgrading to a hardwearing and long-lasting WoodBlocX timber raised bed, no annual maintenance is needed as the wood is pressure treated making it super durable.

    For ideas and inspiration for your next garden update visit our website.

  • Accessible gardening

    Gardens can present a multitude of problems for people with mobility issues, uneven surfaces, low-level planting and narrow pathways can make getting out and enjoying the garden impossible for some. However, by making a few simple updates and creating a low-maintenance space can make the world of difference.

    Uneven surfaces and paths

    Flat, smooth and debris-free surfaces are a must for anyone with mobility issues, an uneven surface can increase the risk of falls, paved/hard landscaped areas are ideal as grass, mud and gravel surfaces can become dangerous after a spell of wet weather.

    Ensure fallen leaves and other garden debris is cleared on a regular basis. Pathways need to be wide enough to suit the user.

    Planting

    Anyone with back pain will know that ground or low level planting is difficult, kneeling and bending to tend and weed the areas can cause more pain. Consider lifting planted areas by installing raised beds. Our hardwearing timber beds can be built to a height to suit you, each structure is hardwearing and sturdy enough to lean or sit on. If mobility is preventing you from venturing right out into the garden, consider installing smaller raised planters close to the house. Read about our recommendations for raised bed heights here.

    Seating

    Seating in one form or another is an essential part of any garden, creating an area to sit and enjoy the garden or to take a break from gardening. The positioning of garden furniture is key and of course it needs to be easy to access, if you prefer a sunny spot make sure you note where the sun falls at the time of day that you are most likely to use the space. Our timber garden benches and seating can be incorporated into a raised bed design or installed separately.

    Storage and watering

    Some sport of storage is a must for all gardens, some traditional sheds can be narrow and difficult to access for storing garden tools, watering cans, hose pipes and other garden essentials, a good option for anyone needing easy access is a lean-to shed that sits directly on the patio with wide double doors which can be opened up taking away the need to step inside.

    For larger gardens a good irrigation system for the dryer months will not only save lugging a watering can around the garden, it will also save a lot of time too and ideal for dry summer weather.

    Check out our accessibility page and the raised bed kits that we recommend

  • Healthy Gardening

    To celebrate the Soil Association’s Organic September, we’ve put some tips together for ‘healthy gardening’. Maintaining a garden is hard work and it can be easy to reach for the chemicals to control weeds and pests as a quick and convenient fix, but there some quick switches you can make to work towards creating a healthier garden...

    The growing space

    Many gardeners opt to grow plants and veg in wooden raised beds either at low level to clearly divide a space up or to add extra height, making the area more accessible. Railway sleepers are a popular choice but many are chemically treated and over time the chemicals can leach into the soil. WoodBlocX raised beds use sustainable wood that is pressure treated without chemicals making them a great clean option. 

    Control products

    There are lots of products available that offer alternatives to harsh chemicals, look for products in garden centres and retailers that show either the Soil Association or Organic Farmers & Growers logos, these products will include kinder alternative ingredients and generally work just as well as the chemical versions.

    Weeding - If you’re lucky enough to not have too many weeds to deal with they can be controlled by hand, but it can be a thankless task so it's always good to have a treatment to hand. There has been lots of debate about the use of glyphosate in weedkillers recently due and its potentially harmful effects on our health, most weedkillers will clearly state on the bottle whether they are glyphosate-free, look for the products that feature natural active ingredients.

    Pest control - Encourage natural pest control in your garden, make a bug hotel to attract beneficial insects which will feed on other insect pests. The tiny gaps between the blocks in our raised beds are also great hiding places for beneficial bugs. Birds and hedgehogs are great pest controllers, install feeders and baths for birds and make sure hedgehogs can get in and out of the garden. Chickens are also a good option but they can scratch and peck away at the plants and veg you've grown! If you do need some extra help in the form of a bug killer spray or concentrate look for neonicotinoid-free treatment, neonicotinoids are used in pest control and are harmful to bees.

    Feeding - There are lots of organic solid and liquid fertilisers available or you can make your own compost, whilst this won’t be fully organic it is a great way to utilise kitchen waste and is much more sustainable than using shop-bought compost.

    For made to measure raised beds for growing plants and edibles, made from clean and sustainable timber, head over to the website.

  • National Allotments Week 2018

    We asked Annabelle Padwick from Life at No.27 to tell us her allotment story and how these community growing spaces can provide much more than just fresh vegetables.

    - - -

    Happy National Allotment Week! A whole week of officially celebrating a place that mentally saved me and helped me grow as a person. A haven that brings joy, peace and calm to my crazy busy life.

    Although I like to think that I celebrate my allotment every day - by visiting the plot, growing new produce, caring for the soil and writing new blogs to inspire others to try this wonderful lifestyle. I feel us true allotmenteers shout about our passion every day of the year, whether others like it or not, we can’t help it. Everyone should have a little patch to grow their own in my view.

    Thanks to the multitude of advice, tools, equipment and high-quality raised beds available for all plot sizes, abilities and ages – there are no barriers either to being able to get outside and stuck into the soil.

    If you have your own patch of paradise, will you be celebrating? More importantly, why did you get an allotment and how has it benefitted your life?

    As I highlighted, my allotment changed my life in so many ways – it got me outdoors more, got me talking to more people, taught me patience and has given me improved confidence. The biggest gift that it has given me though is…self-belief. Oh and it reduced my shopping bill and gave my tastier veg too!

    If you know my story, you will know that after trying the usual therapy options via my doctor to help me combat my anxiety, it was the process of learning to grow my own produce that clicked that final switch and gave me the boost I needed. If I can grow a sack load of spuds, a giant marrow, pumpkin or a small but oh so juicy and delicious cherry tomato from a seed which most of the time looks like nothing, what else can I achieve in my life?!

    This exact question and the multiple benefits that GYO bought to my life, were the reasons I launched Life at No.27 back in 2015. What if I could help someone else in my situation, what if I could be that one person they could relate to?

    My motivation has never wavered and is stronger than ever to help others, inspire many and ultimately change lives. Which is why I am now working to establish Life at No.27 as a social enterprise and UK wellbeing support network - using community allotments. Creating a therapy option, I didn’t have at 21, available to anyone who needs the support - via self-referral or GP or Psychiatrist referral.

    I truly believe gardening and learning to GYO in particular, can change or at least most definitely add to your life, just as it did with mine.

    Whether you take on an allotment, have a small raised bed dedicated to vegetables in your garden or grow a few herbs from seed on a windowsill, it doesn’t matter.

    It’s about just giving it a go in a way that works for you and your lifestyle. What some people forget and need to remember, is that there is no wrong way. Buy some seeds and compost, then get going!

    The fun of gardening is that it is a never-ending adventure of learning.

    It isn’t just about what you grow, it’s how YOU grow.

    Annabelle x

    Lastly before I head straight to my patch of paradise, thank you to wonderful people at WoodBlocX for allowing to take over their blog for this very special week - sharing my passion, thoughts and vision.

    Keep up to date and get involved with all my adventures, the social enterprise and much more via the 
    website, or Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

    If Annabelle’s story has inspired you to get growing you can browse our raised beds for allotments and gardens by clicking the link below.

  • Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh Edible Gardening Project

    Last week we headed down to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh to catch up with the team that runs the Edible Gardening Project, a scheme that is run purely by volunteers, and a couple of years back we supplied nine of our timber raised beds which have been utilised to grow an abundance of fruit and veg.

    The project is open to anyone who is keen to grow their own produce but isn’t sure where to start and teaches people the skills and knowledge they need to get going, so individuals, local groups and schools can all benefit from the garden making it a brilliant local resource.

    Our raised beds help to make the various gardens more accessible to both children and adults, the project includes three key areas, the first is for children and is used by primary schools and groups of youngsters, these low level raised beds provide a guide, staff at the Botanical Gardens have noted that the children prefer to garden within a bordered area rather than flat ground.

    The second is used by Move More Scotland, which is a programme run by Macmillan Cancer Support, it is national campaign to ensure that people living with cancer are supported to become physically active, both before, during and after their treatment, you can read about it here.

    The third is for young adults and community groups who attend free workshops to introduce them to growing vegetables, composting and organic pest and disease control.

    As you can see from our photos, the garden is looking absolutely stunning, full of vibrant colour and some very healthy vegetables despite the lack of rainfall.

    To find out how our raised beds can be used to create an accessible garden for anyone with mobility issues and disabilities click below.

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