Raised Beds - 1
|Older woman tending flowers in raised bed containers|
|Wheelchair user seated near wooden raised planter beds|
|Group of twenty people looking at plants in large wooden planter|
Very simply made 5 by 8 foot, 18 inches high raised bed made from 2 by 8 inch untreated lumber and painted light gray with a non toxic paint. Beds are filled with cool season flowers and vegetables.
As for containers described above, the maximum width of a raised bed accessed from all sides is 5 feet, including the sides. Beds built abutting paving, against a wall or fence offering one-sided access can be up to 2.5 feet wide. Heights can range from 18 to 30 inches with 24 inches optimal for both seated and standing gardeners. They can be any length. These dimensions should be adjusted so the users can reach all areas without stretching or discomfort. Larger raised beds are possible in the enabling garden, recognizing that gardeners will access a maximum of about 30 inches into the bed around the perimeter and that inaccessible places must be planted with very low-maintenance types of perennials, shrubs, and small trees.
Young woman using a wheelchair without footrests tending herbs in a 24 inch high and wide raised bed made from untreated cedar.
|Young man using power wheelchair watering a brick raised bed against a fence 24 inched high and wide and 10 feet long.|
With these guiding dimensions, many sizes and shapes are possible. A simple, utilitarian design that can be used to produce a LOT of vegetables relies on five 20-foot-long by 5-foot-wide beds with 5-foot-wide crushed stone (or other) paths all around. The height can vary depending on whether a seated (18 to 24 inches) or standing (24 to 30 inches) gardener will tend them. Raised beds are usually built without bottoms to allow excess water to drain away easily. Ideally, when paving is necessary it is best to install it around the bed or leave open spaces in the paving to build the bed rather than build it on top.
This allows drainage straight through into the soil below. When built on top of solid paving or on a rooftop, 'weep' holes should be added around the bottom to do the job.
Woman standing facing a 24 inch high and 4 inch wide prefabricated decorative concrete panels assembled on site.
Most people find that standing facing the bed and leaning slightly into it or sitting parallel alongside and reaching to the side and forward at a 45-degree angle into the bed more comfortable than sitting on the edge and twisting at the waist to access it. Thus, materials and designs that allow thin-walled construction will allow greater access to more growing area.