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Best materials for raised bed

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#1 Your Letters

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:02 PM

For several years our Master Gardener group has maintained a garden downtown on a narrow, undeveloped lot utilizing raised beds. The individual beds are made of wood and right now don’t look so great. We have an opportunity to partner with our local historical society, which wants to purchase the lot and develop it into a park honoring the founding of a local university (the lot is the original home of the school). The historical society has included raised beds in their initial planning and I would like your advice on the type(s) of materials we could use for the beds. We envision something more permanent than wood. The pathways in the park will be brick.

Any advice you can give us would be greatly appreciated.


#2 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:10 PM

Cedar lasts a long time and a good carpenter can build a raised bed of cedar that will stand up to a heck of a lot of abuse. One we had built almost 20 years ago comes to mind, still sound as ever.

However, for durability, plus insulation for plants' roots and resistance to the kinds of wear and tear that can happen in a busy public place, you can't beat concrete block for raised beds. There are many colors and patterns, some even made to coordinate with brick paver lines. These interlocking block systems are very well designed, even for creating free form curves and caps. If you describe the beds (dimensions, type of block you want to use, whether the top needs to be finished for a nicer seat, etc.) the supplier that sells the blocks can tell you exactly how many of which kind of blocks you need.

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