Above Ground Garden Plans


Not all ground is made to support a garden. Some soil is just too poor, rocky or hard to work with. If this is the case in your yard, it might not be worth the struggle. Instead put your extra energy into building an above-ground, or raised, garden -- a framed-in area with new soil put on top of the ground.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or hoe
  • Landscape timbers
  • Drill
  • Wide drill bit
  • Rebar or metal stakes
  • Sledgehammer
  • Top soil
  • Sand
  • Mulch
  • Peat
  • Dig trenches for the outer walls of the above ground garden. This will allow you to set the first row of timbers partially below ground so that dirt doesn't wash out the bottom with rain water. You don't need a deep trench. A few inches is enough.

  • Drill holes 1 1/2 inches from the ends of the timbers to help with installation later. Place the first row of timbers in the trenches.

  • Hammer stakes or rebar through the holes and into the ground.

  • Stack a second row of timbers on top. Have the second row staggered from the first one. Trim off the timber from the corners as needed to make it even. Mark the timber and cut with a handsaw.

  • Use the drill to go down through the predrilled holes and into undrilled wood of the row below. Hammer rebar or stakes through the two rows to anchor them together. Repeat this with additional rows, always anchoring the row you are working on with the one below it and staggering the rows.

  • Fill the frame to raise your garden above ground. Add equal parts top soil and peat with half as much sand and mulch. The mulch will add nutrients to the soil over a long period as it breaks down, and the sand improves drainage. Smooth the surface out, then use a hoe to make rows or holes for your garden plants, flowers or seeds. What you plant is up to you.

Tips & Warnings

  • The leases of rental houses or floor-level apartments often prohibit digging, but allow above-ground gardens.
  • Your raised bed can vary from several inches to a few feet in height, depending on your purposes and tastes, and how many layers of wood you stack.

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