Raised beds on concrete: yes or no?

Is it a good idea to put a loft bed on concrete? In short, yes...if you do it well.

While most people choose to place raised beds directly on the soil, more and more people are opting for paved backyards. This is especially true in rental properties, as it is easier to maintain and does not generate weeds or require regular landscaping visits.

Just because you have a lot of concrete in your yard doesn't mean you can't plant in it. Getting started, however, is trickier. Concrete can become soiled, so renters must take extra steps to set up their beds. Drainage can also be an issue, so planning ahead is also essential.

The benefits may also outweigh the disadvantages. If the weeds are on the concrete, you won't get weeds around the raised garden bed. Concrete also helps the soil warm up faster in the spring, a real benefit if you want to start growing food early in the year. Let's discuss everything you might face when setting up a raised garden bed in the concrete jungle of your yard!

Raised Bed Planning and Preparation

Before you start, you need to consider a few things. These basic principles apply to all gardens, especially those that will be placed on concrete pads.

location is key

All garden beds need to get sunlight, although you may need less or more depending on what you plan to put in your bed. Start by looking at your yard to see which areas of the yard are in full sun, which are partly sun, and which are mostly shaded. Based on what you have discovered, you can now plan the initial position of the bed.

The bottom of the bed needs to be on a flat surface. If it's on concrete, it's easy, but if your yard has a slope, that's where all the runoff from the bed will go. Know in advance if it might be accumulating excess moisture somewhere on a hard surface. A sure-fire way to test this is to open the hose almost to a trickle where you're considering it, and watch where the water goes.

When you build a raised bed on top of the pavers, there may be gaps between the individual pavers. Make sure to fill these gaps with sand or some other kind of material, just to make sure your bed soil doesn't get caught in the middle. A finer soil quality can create the perfect habitat for weed development between pavers, so making sure you fill them with something less appealing to the roots is a good option.

When building a loft bed, also plan for good spacing between loft beds. You'll need a garden cart or wheelbarrow between these large soil containers. Your best bet is to determine the width of anything that needs to be moved between the beds and add about 6-8 inches of extra space after that. That way, sharp turns won't get you stuck between beds when you're using your cart.

watering system problems

Unlike other raised bed systems, installing a watering system through concrete is generally not an option. If you are considering custom patio slabs, you can lay out the watering system ahead of time and then level. However, the rest of us must choose another way.

Running a simple PVC system between the beds is an option, but can be a trip hazard unless you keep it out of regular walkways. There is also an option to attach a hose to a concrete bed, but unless you plan wisely, this can also be a trip hazard. If possible, place your watering hose or pipe in an area of ​​your garden with the least traffic.

There is always the option of manual watering, which is as easy as a built-in system. However, if you want to run the system on a timer while on vacation, then building a PVC piping system to carry the water to the drip system is your best bet.

Consider the size you need

In ground beds, growing plants have enough room for root expansion. This is not the case with any old raised bed on your patio. I always recommend choosing a raised garden bed that is taller than you expect to use. Things like the tall 6-in-1 steel garden beds from the EpicGardening store are great for growing food, even on hard surfaces, simply because you'll have enough soil depth that the roots won't meet at the bottom. to a hard board. You can also choose to build a tall wooden bed.

Install Raised Garden Beds

Now that you've planned ahead for your loft beds, it's time to set them up. However, garden soil can stain hard surfaces like asphalt or concrete. Thankfully, there are some simple tools you can use to reduce patio pollution caused by large containers.

Begin by placing the frame of the raised bed on the patio surface. In the case of a steel frame, it is best to place geotextiles or landscape fabrics within the bed to prevent soil leakage and staining of the paved surface. For wood framing, you can staple hardware fabric on the inside to act as a mesh "floor" and then set the geotextile in it. Either way, the landscaping fabric should be at least halfway inside the bed.

Carefully fill the soil inside the geotextile fabric with the raised bed soil mix of your choice. Once you get to the top of the fabric, cover it carefully, as the weight of the existing soil should prevent more soil from falling down the sides. Continue adding soil until you reach the top of the raised bed or the height where you want the soil level to stop. More soil may be needed to fill the raised bed.

If at any point in the future you have to dig to the bottom of the bed, be careful not to puncture the fabric. If you accidentally make a few holes, your patio may start to discolor or discolor. In most cases, a high-quality pressure washer can remove stains, but you may also experience some soil leaks during drainage and settling. You can cover the bed with new soil, but it's harder to patch holes.

Maintaining a loft bed

Maintenance is easy for those planting in a 6-in-1 raised garden bed. Galvanized steel won't rust, so all you have to do is water it with compost or soil and plant it.

If you are building your own wood-framed bed, the wood-framed bed should last quite a few years. Over time, the wood will gradually begin to show its age, and if any rot begins to develop, you may need to replace a plank here or there. Watch for rot in the bed. Even if there is, there's still a little time before you have to replace the wood, so it won't be an urgent issue.

You should be successful in growing plants in your raised beds as long as the soil drainage is correct and you weed and maintain them regularly. Add a few inches of compost or compost mixed with the soil at least once a year and you should experience good plant growth!