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  • Raised bed Q&A

    A garden full raised beds or just one or two can bring so many benefits whether you’re a keen gardener or not. Before installing raised beds there are a few things to consider to ensure you get the best fit for you and your garden.

    Here are some of the top questions our customers ask us:

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

    A. Once you have decided where you would like to build your raised bed, 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 and you plan to grow certain plants or vegetables you might struggle.

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

    WoodBlocX 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, their unique design, which incorporates a series of strong dowels means structures can withstand ground movement when built on a reasonable surface.

    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 soil 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 calculate 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), but if you are adding a drainage layer to the bottom subtract the height of the layer from the equation so you don’t over order.

    Q. How do I maintain my 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 sloped garden?

    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.
    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
  • Our guide to raised beds

    We know a thing or two about raised beds, after all, we have been designing and manufacturing them for the best part of a decade, here are just some of the many benefits they bring…

    Grow plants and edibles in fresh soil

    Many people choose wooden raised beds for growing vegetables and fruit because the extra height makes watering, weeding and pest control much easier. 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 nutrient-boosting soil improvers or compost can be added to, giving you greater control over what your produce is grown in.

    Raised beds can also be used to grow annuals and 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. Raised beds are a great addition for boggy or clay soil too as, providing improved drainage.

    Built at a depth to suit you

    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.

    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. 

    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.

    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.

    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

  • How to build a WoodBlocX raised bed

    Our raised beds are really easy to build because everything you need is included in your kit. All of the wooden components are cut to size so there’s no need to saw the wood and there’s no waste.

    The components are lightweight making them easy to move them from one side of the garden to other and this also makes building the structures much more relaxed.

    All of our kits are built in the same way so if you’ve ordered a raised bed, seat, pond or retaining wall kit this method applies to all.

    Your delivery will look similar to this. Everything you need here, wooden blocks, capping, dowels, angle plates and step by step instructions. All wooden parts are cut exactly to the sizes requested so there’s no waste at the end of the build.

    Once you have decided where your raised bed will sit in the garden carefully set out the bottom layer and make any adjustments to where you’re going to build it if needed. Refer to the instructions to check where the supportive buttresses and angle plates need to be positioned.

    Our clever dowel and wedge system holds the structure together, simply knock these into the recess holes, make sure you refer to your instructions to ensure you’re putting them in the correct places.

    When you’ve completed the first and second layers you will be on a roll. Work your way up the layers matching the first to the third, the second to the fourth and repeat.

    Angle plates need to be placed on the supportive buttressed for extra strength and on the corners of the final layer before you add the capping.

    Once you’ve reached the final layer before the capping is added, cut dowels half way down using dowel cutters or a saw and fit the capping using a protective piece of wood to ensure you don't damage your caps.

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