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How To Get Your Balcony Garden Started – Tips And Tricks

Hanging Plants

Recently I visited a friend in Chicago who has a balcony garden. He lives in the middle of the city, steps from downtown. His apartment is on the third floor, and he has a view of the skyline out his window. His apartment is very urban, but when I opened his back door and looked at his balcony, it had turned into an oasis of various vegetables and herbs in pots.


He created a balcony garden in the middle of the city! This got me thinking about the various benefits of a balcony garden and how someone without a green thumb can get started.


Gardening has become more popular over the years as a fun hobby and stress reliever. However, not everyone has the benefit of a yard or space to garden, and it can be intimidating to start a garden as a novice. Therefore, balcony gardening has gained popularity for many reasons. There are many benefits to balcony gardening, and it's easy to get started.

Benefits of a Balcony Garden

balcony decorated flowers

There are several benefits to having a balcony garden, otherwise referred to as a container garden.


No seasonal constraints

With outdoor, in-the-ground gardening, the gardener has to wait until planting season. In tropical climates, for example, the rainy season is keen time. For temperate regions, it would be the beginning of winter. In temperate regions, it would be the beginning of winter. But in balcony gardening, you don't have to wait until planting season to grow container plants. When planting in a container, you can create perfect growing conditions. For example, you can create your own “mini greenhouse” by covering the container of any plant you choose.


Ideal for “newbie” gardeners

Often, when a novice gardener gets started on an outdoor garden, they are discouraged by the factors that go into this type of gardening. Without knowledge of how to properly prepare the garden to prevent unwanted pests, their garden can be overrun by weeds, insects and other pests. After this adverse experience, the new gardener may give up. With balcony gardening, however, pests, weeds, and insects can be easily noted and removed. Weeds are a minimal problem with a balcony garden. Novice gardeners can quickly start their gardening journey with a balcony garden. 


No space limits

The reason many people put off gardening is that they don't have space. With a balcony garden, you don't have to worry about not having a yard or extra space to create your garden. All you need is a balcony. Also, companion planting has become a popular way to use a small space efficiently. With companion planting, you can plant many different varieties of plants in the same container.

What to Consider When Creating a Balcony Garden

There are several factors to consider when creating a balcony garden. Access to water and sunlight is key for plant growth, and you should put thought into the garden's design. You will also have to decide on what type of containers and plants to use. 


Water

Make sure you have enough water handy, whether it be from a hose, watering can, or irrigation system.


Sunlight

Keep in mind that the sun's path changes over the seasons. North- and east-facing balconies get less sunlight than south- and west-facing ones. Depending on your plants and which direction your balcony faces, make sure your plants are getting enough sunlight.


Containers

The weight and drainage ability of containers are very important. Lightweight containers are better than heavy ones, and the container needs to drain well. Plastics and wood are good lightweight options. There are plastic containers on the market that give the appearance of clay. If you choose to have larger containers, place them on a platform with casters to allow for mobility. If the balcony itself doesn't drain well, place a saucer underneath the container. Also, make sure that your railings and ceilings can support the weight of the containers you choose.


Design

Have a plan for when designing your balcony garden. Some factors to consider are colors, textures, a combination of container and plant sizes to give variety and personality, repeating plants and colors in different parts of the garden, and using a large plant as a focal point for the garden. Take a look at the garden from the outdoors, as well as inside your home, before committing to it to make sure it looks good aesthetically.


Plants

Before deciding on your plants, consider how much space they will need, their size at maturity, the amount of sunlight you have available, and their appearance during all four seasons. Also, keep in mind the rules governing indoor gardening in your building.

Best Plants for Balcony Gardening

When creating a balcony garden, the best plants are the more colorful, fragrant flowers and foliage plants. There are many plants to choose from, but you can find some great ideas below:

marigold flower blossom bloom


Flowers

  • Marigolds. They are low-maintenance, pest repellent and bright. They grow best in warm climates.
  • Begonias. They are easy to grow and will constantly bloom in the summertime if kept in partial shade. They can grow in the winter if they are in tropical climates.
  • Chrysanthemums. They come in many varieties and can grow almost anywhere in the world.
  • Hand Holding Seedling
    Pansies. They come in many varieties and are perfect for growing in window boxes and pots.
tomatoes roma tomatoes bush tomatoes

Vegetables

If you are set on growing vegetables in your balcony garden, here are four good choices:

  • Tomatoes. They are the most productive vegetables to grow in a pot. They do need ample sun and work best in an area with a lot of light.
  • Beans. They are productive in pots and easy to grow. They need plenty of sunlight, a pot that is minimum 12 inches deep, and a strong structure for support.
  • Lettuce. It grows quickly, and you can harvest them multiple times throughout the growing season.
  • Hand Holding Seedling
    Peppers and chilis. They grow very well in pots and are very productive. They also look very good in pots and need a lot of sun and warmth.
parsley seasoning salad greens

Herbs

If herbs are your thing, here are four good choices:

  • Parsley. It grows easily in the sun or shade and is not picky about soil. It is one of the easiest herbs to grow in a container.
  • Mint. It is a very aromatic, long-lasting plant that can be grown in pots or soil.
  • Lavender. This good-smelling herb can be grown in many climates. It is suitable for cool or temperate climates but can also grow in subtropical regions.
  • Hand Holding Seedling
    Thyme. It is easy to grow, adapts to all types of soils, and is resistant to drought.

Good Ideas for Balcony Garden Additions

If you would like to set up a balcony garden but want some personality beyond plants and vegetables, here are some ideas:

  • 1
    Use a trellis. A trellis can be added to a balcony garden to give it some privacy and add to the aesthetic factor.
  • 2
    Structural trees. If you can fit them, long, tall trees in pots look elegant in a balcony garden when placed in the balcony corners.
  • 3
    Mounted mirror. It maximizes the small space by bouncing light to brighten any dark corners, enhancing the color of vivid plants and giving the illusion of space.
  • 4
    Tables and furniture. If you have space, consider adding tables, chairs, and couches to the balcony to give it an inviting atmosphere.

A balcony garden can be a great option for novice gardeners as well as experienced gardeners with little space. There are no seasonal or space constraints, and the gardener can add their unique touches to the garden with additions that match their personality. As long as the factors that make a productive garden are taken into consideration, such as water, sunlight, and plants, anyone can turn their balcony into a beautiful and inviting oasis.

Our Favorite Garden Bed Ideas For Every Gardener At Heart

container garden beds

Gardeners of all stages are always on the lookout for the best garden bed to fit their needs. Our favorite garden bed ideas come in three types: containers, in-ground, or elevated. Many factors come into play when it's time to choose the style best suited for you. Some of these include setting, soil type, space, and goals. 

person holding green cactus on pot

What works for your neighbor may, after all, not be best for your needs. However, after careful research, we have come up with some of our favorite garden bed ideas that will make almost every gardener happy.


The best choice of garden bed depends on plant type. The bed that works best for tomatoes may not be suitable for more vine-like plants such as melons. All three types of beds could be needed based on your harvesting goals. There are pros and cons to every bed: we have broken those down for even the most novice of gardeners. Some plant enthusiasts are unable to use specific beds based on living conditions. Better knowledge creates better crops and experiences.

The In-Ground Garden Bed

in ground garden bed

The most traditional style of gardening takes place in an in-ground garden bed. This type of bed is exactly as it sounds: crops grow directly from the ground. It is, by far, the most inexpensive way to garden. If you are on a tight budget, this is the only way to go. These beds are level with the soil surface, so they are not always practical for those with mobility issues. Gardening in this manner also requires land, so this style may not be feasible for city or apartment dwellers.


The most significant benefit of using an in-ground garden bed is that very few materials are needed. The preparation of initial rows is the hardest part of this gardening style as long as the soil is rich in nutrients. However, even with nutrient-poor soil, you can create a great in-ground garden bed. The use of compost and different fertilizers can create soil capable of growing beautiful crops worth eating. In-ground beds are also simple to rearrange if the original arrangement proves to be inefficient.


Unfortunately, there are not many options for purchasing in-ground beds. Manual labor and a do-it-yourself spirit create them. If the soil is good, preparation and planting should take minimal work. At ground level, it is harder to keep out garden pests like rabbits, moles, and gophers. There are many different options when it comes to pest proofing. One of the simplest ways to keep rabbits and other pests out of your hard-earned crops is a product called Liquid Fence. This all-natural deterrent's main ingredient is putrescent eggs. While it won't harm your plants in any way, it will assault potential pests' sinuses in an attempt to keep them away from your tender vegetation.

Container Garden “Beds”

container garden beds

We realize that in-ground garden beds are not possible for everyone. Other types of garden beds are available, and may be more suitable for your individual needs. One of the most excellent ideas in gardening is growing food in containers. Containers revolutionalize gardening for many people. This idea gives both city and rural residents the chance to have fresh produce at their fingertips. The availability of yard space does not restrict container gardens. You don’t even need a yard. It is possible to have a sizeable number of plants growing on a balcony or a window sill.


Although the idea is simple, there are certain things to keep in mind before filling your apartment with varying-sized containers. Many different varieties of plants can grow in the same pot. Companion planting in containers is a popular idea that produces high yield and makes gardening a possibility for most people. Container garden beds are best for vegetables like potatoes, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, peppers, squash, and herbs.


When combining different types of plants in one pot, keep the plants' needs in mind. Plants with similar needs should be planted together. To save space, consider combining shorter plants with trailing plants. These types of combinations will give you more bang for your buck. For a comprehensive guide of companion growing and soil needs, visit The Old Farmer's Almanac. It has been an excellent resource for over 200 years.


Some people get creative and go a do-it-yourself route when using containers. Old bathtubs, wading pools, and five-gallon buckets have been used to grow herbs and vegetables. Whether you're looking for unique or practical containers, the most important thing to consider is drainage. Root rot can easily happen with no drainage system in place.


Our favorite DIY Container Garden Bed

We narrowed down our favorite do-it-yourself container bed after hours on the web. These containers are for gardeners on a budget. Reusing varieties of plastic buckets is super easy, cheap, and just good for the environment. Kitty litter buckets, old storage totes, and plastic coffee cans all work well for a variety of crops. For drainage needs, merely insert some holes in the bottom of the container with a drill. Even if you don't have a drill, you can create a hole by heating something sharp, like a nail. You can easily create drainage holes in these DIY planters.

Perhaps the most significant part of this idea is that all these containers come with lids. If you turn the lids upside down and place your newly repurposed containers directly on the inverted lid, you have a system for storing any excess water from watering.


Our favorite commercial container garden bed

Not everyone is good at arts and crafts. For those of us who aren't on a budget and couldn't drill a hole in a piece of bread, there are self-watering containers you can purchase. These containers have built-in water reservoirs. This watering system uses capillary tubes to deliver water from the built-in reservoir to keep plant roots consistently moist. This is minimal work at its finest. Plus, the end result is the same as if you had put in a lot more hard work. These containers can be purchased online or at any home improvement store.

The Raised or Elevated Garden Bed

elevated garden beds

By far, the most popular garden bed at the moment is the raised, or elevated, bed. Browse Pinterest, and you will discover hundreds of boards dedicated to the raised garden bed. A huge factor in its popularity is the convenience of a raised bed. Elevating the bed makes it more convenient to tend to the plants. Pulling weeds and checking the moisture of the soil is so much easier. The higher elevation makes for easier access. Traditional garden beds are still popular and used by many, but for others, plants at ground level prove to be too much back-breaking work. Those with physical disabilities and limited mobility are more likely to begin or continue gardening if they can do so from an elevated surface. The height of your raised bed is completely up to you.


Raised beds are not the same as garden planters. Planters are just elevated containers with bottoms to prevent soil from falling. This variety has slatted planter bottoms, with a semi-permeable cloth barrier which permits drainage. However, raised beds do not have bases; they are open to the ground, which offers the benefit of allowing plant roots to go further into the ground for available nutrients. There are unlimited numbers of ways to create these raised beds.


Raised soil level also keeps out critters you don't want to destroy your crops. Pest prevention is much easier with these types of planters unless your pests are deer. Use preventative mesh or netting, in the case of tall garden pests. Netting material also protects berries from hungry birds.


Our favorite DIY raised garden bed

The square-foot gardening technique is one of our favorite raised garden beds. Simply carve out a square shape, create square-foot squares within the initial square, and begin gardening. The method is a great way to build a small yet intensively planted garden. You can also recycle by using scrap wood. Use any cheap wood that has not been chemically-treated. These chemicals can leach into your soil, effectively killing your new garden. Complete tutorials can be found just by performing a search on Google. 


Our favorite commercial raised garden bed

Galvanized steel raised beds are the best way to go when purchasing a raised garden bed. These beds arrive at your home in easy-to-assemble kits. Using reflective material produces a greater crop yield according to research.


Benefits include improved fruit color, more even maturity among plants, improved flowering, and increased vegetable size. Who doesn't want bigger and more plentiful vegetation? There are many options and sizes when it comes to using galvanized steel. All you have to do is purchase the size that works best for your space.

Use What Works for You

The taste of a home-grown vegetable is always the best. At times, produce is grown hundreds of miles away from the source of purchase. This results in less-than-fresh food that should be nourishing our bodies. Although gardening can seem impossible for beginners, it really is a simple process. Even with no yard, a porch garden or windowsill herbs can bring you the freshness you crave. The results of your individual gardens may be surprising.

Don't let our suggestions limit your planting visions. Using our research along with your own will help you come up with your best gardening experience.

How to Pick the Best T5 Fixture : Enhancing Indoor Plants

You’ve tried growing indoor plants but have experienced limited success. No matter where you live, it is nearly impossible to achieve perfect growing conditions throughout the year. For indoor gardeners, a T5 fixture might be the ideal solution to remedy previous failures.

plants in the table

Indoor crops need sufficient lighting to thrive. Traditional light bulbs don’t promote plant growth. Fluorescent lighting may be the solution to turn misfortune into success for indoor planting. T5 bulbs seem to fill a void in the grow light industry where traditional T8 and T12 fluorescent bulbs have failed.

About Harvesting/Cultivating

bunch cultivation

Many people want to grow herbs, plants, and crops year-round. In some regions, natural lighting isn’t adequate. Also, excessive rain or poor growing conditions limit the success of outdoor gardening in some areas.

The solution to this issue is to use indoor grow lights to enhance indoor plants. Grow lights mimic natural, outdoor sunlight. This allows an indoor gardener to cultivate a garden successfully, no matter where they live.

Why Grow Lights are Needed

Grow lights using T5 bulbs create almost perfect growing conditions for individual plants. While some crops and plants require direct sunlight, others require lighting from an angle. Some plants or crops grow best if they are under high-light settings for only a portion of the day. With outdoor crops and plants, there is no control over light/dark conditions. Grow lights allow a gardener the ability to control lighting conditions.

Grow lights allow a gardener to:

  • Mimic natural sunlight indoors
  • Create almost perfect growing conditions for plants and crops
  • Choose how much or little light plants are exposed to
  • Hand Holding SeedlingSelect the lumens, and light-rating that grow lights emit

What are T5 Fixtures?

A T5 fixture is a fluorescent light fixture that is fast becoming a favorite for gardening in an indoor setting. T5 fixtures come in various lengths, to support from one to four bulbs. Grow lights work using a specific light spectrum to promote vegetative growth, and the T5 bulbs fit this use very well.

Why Choose Fluorescent Lighting?

fluorescent lighting

Fluorescent lighting is possible because of a chemical process. Gases and mercury vapor interact to produce powerful UV-lighting. The process results in a “white light” inside of the bulbs, rather than the subdued lighting traditional light bulbs emit.

The ballast controls the fluorescent bulbs. Bulbs contain inert gases, the ballast generates a low amount of heat, which causes the gases to react. The reaction produces light. The ballast also stabilizes the bulb and controls output. Fluorescent lights won’t damage crops and plants and they are more energy efficient than traditional lighting options.

Choosing the Best T5 Fixtures

Before selecting a fluorescent fixture, it is important to compare several models. Indoor growers should understand the lumen and power output, and how to set up their lights. There are a few factors you should consider when choosing a T5 fixture for indoor gardening. Most T5 fixtures can be mounted horizontally or vertically, increasing their versatility.

Space Coverage

Most fixtures are available in 2-foot up to 8-foot-long frames. If you are in a small apartment, a single-bulb, 2-foot-long fixture might be perfect. However, if you have plenty of room, you might choose a more prominent fixture. The size of the coverage area determines the size of fixture needed.

Crops You’re Growing

The vegetables and plants you’re growing also impact lighting decisions. Overly powerful fixtures emit higher reflection levels which might kill plants. Likewise, a fixture without enough power will limit a garden’s potential. Understanding how the lighting will affect your specific plants will aid in decision making.

Development Stage

T5 lights are best for getting seedlings to begin to grow. The T5 bulb is a blue spectrum light so that it can support plants through the initial vegetative process. Older plants might require more advanced spectrum lighting for maximum indoor growth.

Pros/Cons of Using T5 Fixture

There are positives and negatives associated with using T5 bulbs for indoor growing. It is essential to understand how they operate for maximum results.

T5 bulbs are excellent in some growing conditions but not in others. Some of the pros of using these fixtures include:

There are some cons gardeners should be aware of if before using T5 fixtures. Some of these drawbacks include:

Pros

  • Most emit low levels of radiant heat
  • You can control bulb output
  • They support early plant growth and development
  • Some fixtures work on a timer
  • Check CircleYou can mount them vertically or horizontally

Cons

  • Aluminum housings for many of these fixtures aren’t as durable as other materials
  • Quick burnout rate with T5 bulbs is a common complaint
  • They are best for the vegetative state, meaning you’ll only use them for a short period of growth time
  • Some units heat up quickly and might require a fan or other ventilation to prevent overheating

Our T5 Fixture Lighting Review Process

Our T5 fixture review considered several factors. The price of the fixture, lamp quality, temperature rating, and space requirements were some relevant factors. Our analysis also employs user ratings by owners who use T5 lights.

Top 10 T5 Fixtures

Before choosing T5 grow lights, gardeners should compare several products. We’ve done the homework for you and compiled a list of some of them. Following are the fixtures that provide the best lighting for any indoor garden ventures.

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Available in 2-foot or 4-foot length you can find the perfect fixture for the growth area you’re working. It includes a 10-foot grounded power cord, allowing you to set up your light fixture quickly.

The fixture comes standard with a set of four 6400K T5 bulbs. The steel casing frame is powder-coated for durability. These fixtures emit up to 20,000 lumens for robust, efficient growth production.

Some owners complain the bulbs burn out quickly, meaning frequent replacement and extra cost. There were also complaints that the fixture does not distribute light equally. This causes different growth zones to receive varying amounts of light resulting in uneven growth.

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The 2-foot-long, T5 fixture features a 15-foot power cord that allows greater versatility in an indoor setting. It also comes with bulbs which emit 6500K light over the growth base.

The light tubes remain cool to the touch. The set contains four banks of lighting, for even distribution throughout the growth area. You can use this fixture vertically or horizontally.

Some owners complain that the set is not as sturdy as heavier T5 fixture models. Uneven weight distribution causes shifting or movement, which may hinder growth and production.

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This 4-foot long fixture is easy to set up. The included bulbs distribute 6400K light. At 54-watts each bulb, even light distribution is achieved throughout the entire growth period.

The light set emits 20,000 lumens, and the reflector returns up to 95% of the light onto your plants and herbs. A daisy-chain plug is easy to turn on/off making this model an energy saver.

Some purchasers complain the fixture isn’t sturdy and that lights bulbs can easily shatter. Additionally, some complain that when the first light goes out, the third bulb also burns out with it.

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This 2-feet fixture is perfect for a small growth bed setting. The T5 fixture has dual switches allowing the use of two light tubes.

The strip-light design is slim and doesn’t take up much space. In small areas, this is the perfect size bulb set to purchase. It is lightweight and easy to install.

Some owners claim they previously owned the older model of this fixture which was more efficient. Some also complain it has a short life-span and only registers 300-400 on light meters. In comparison to other bulbs emitting up to 2500 lumens, this is a very weak emission power rating.

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This product works on 120 – 277V power plugs, allowing you to use it in the US or UK. Warehouse-grade lighting achieves maximum light quality with a 95% reflection rating.

The metallic body is durable and isn’t prone to easily getting damaged like other fixtures. It is built to withstand dust and corrosion with the powder-coated finish.

Bulbs do not come with the fixture so you will incur an additional cost purchasing this T5 fixture. You also have to note the difference between the UK and US-version for the right bulb size fit.

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This product works on 120 – 277V power plugs, allowing you to use it in the US or UK. Warehouse-grade lighting achieves maximum light quality with a 95% reflection rating.

The metallic body is durable and isn’t prone to easily getting damaged like other fixtures. It is built to withstand dust and corrosion with the powder-coated finish.

Bulbs do not come with the fixture so you will incur an additional cost purchasing this T5 fixture. You also have to note the difference between the UK and US-version for the right bulb size fit.

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The 4-foot-long, four-bulb fixture is suitable for most interior growth areas. This unit does not ship with a power cord. An access plate makes attaching a power cord and installing the bulbs quick and easy. Assembly of this fixture shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

This unit also does not ship with bulbs. It works with efficient fluorescent bulbs which allow the unit to emit high levels of light. The fixture features a 95% reflection rating as well.

Some owners complain that efficient-rating bulbs tend to burn out faster.

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This fixture features a single-bulb setting. Bulbs are integrated into the fixture and are not replaceable. The bulb emits up to 5000K bulbs and 2200 lumen output ensure even light distribution when the fixture is on. The LED light is energy-efficient, so doesn’t require much energy to operate.

LED lighting can reduce your energy bills, while still producing bright light over the growth area. You receive a 5-year hassle free warranty with the light fixture also.

It is a single-bulb set, making it perfect for smaller growing areas. Several people who bought this light set also indicate that it did not come with a power cord. Results of using white LED for grow lights are inconclusive, but growers using it seem to like it.

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The 4-foot-long growth light fixture features a high-output 6500K bulb set, perfect for vegetative growth. There are multiple hanging options and a long power cord. The fixture works well installed vertically or horizontally.

This fixture carries a 1-year ballast warranty and 2-year fixture warranty. Bulbs ship with this fixture.

Some purchasers claim the fixture is extremely heavy and awkward to put together. The casing finish is prone to denting or damage if you aren’t gentle when installing it.

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This fixture is 4-feet long, with a powder-coated finish making it a sturdy light fixture for any indoor setting. It ships complete, including four 6500K fluorescent bulbs.

At 10,000 lumens, with a 95% reflection rating, nearly all the light is directly reflected on the plants or herbs. There are two switches on the body for flexible lighting options when growing plants and herbs.

In comparison to other fixtures, this one only emits 10,000 versus 20,000 lumens. Some purchasers complain of performance quality, and that the set burns out quickly after installing new bulbs.

Where to buy Fixtures & Price Range

Numerous suppliers carry the products. In addition to ordering from the manufacturer directly, they are also available on Amazon.

Comparison Table

Our Verdict

We believe the Hyperikon T5 Fixture Single Light is an excellent option for smaller indoor gardens. It has only one bulb, allowing you to pinpoint your lighting in a specific area quickly. And, emitting up to 2200 lumen output guarantees even light distribution throughout. The fixture is lightweight, easy to install, and isn’t prone to damage as quickly as others.

For those growing on a larger scale indoors, an Oppolite T5 fixture is a great option. It operates on 6500K bulbs and achieves temperatures of up to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. The 15-foot-long power cord also gives you flexibility in choosing the growing area. It is easy to set up, and bulbs tend to last longer than competitor models.

Featured Image: CC by SA 3.0, by Dennis Brown, via Wikimedia Commons

DIY Garden Ideas – Boost Your Gardening Skills Through Creativity

diy garden ideas

Raised gardens are an ideal way to garden at your home. They allow you to easily control the soil and seeds added, as well as organize the plants neatly throughout the garden area. Most raised garden ideas start with a box made of wood boards, galvanized metal, or even wine crates!

woman standing on a field of sunflowers

Whether you need a taller garden to be comfortable while planting, or you want to protect your vegetables from animals, raised gardens can be just as fun and beautiful as ground-level flower beds. You might even find they’re easier to maintain.

Wooden Raised Garden Ideas: A Good Place to Start

wooden raised garden

Most gardeners start with wooden raised gardens because the supplies are inexpensive and easy to find at a local hardware store. While you can get picky with the wood you choose — pine, cedar, pressure-treated — start with what’s easily available to get going.


If you’re using 2x4s, Lowe’s suggests a 4-foot by 6-foot bed with 10.5-inch walls. When you’re planning the layout of your garden, be sure to leave about two to three feet between beds to make space for pulling a wagon or weed-whacking the walkways.

Supplies

  • (10) 2x4x10 boards
  • Hand saw, or table saw
  • Tape measure
  • check
    Drill and screws
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    Wide-mesh hardware cloth
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    Heavy-duty plastic (if your wood is not water-resistant)
  • check
    Stapler

Start Building

wooden box as flower pots

Now that you have all the supplies, you’re ready to build your box! These simple steps will have you planting the same afternoon, so make sure you mark the 4-foot by 6-foot area in your yard and till the dirt to allow for root growth and drainage.

Step one

The first step is cutting the boards. Many hardware stores will cut the boards for you, but you can do the same with a hand saw, or table saw. Pull out a tape measure and mark the 6-foot length on six of your boards. You should have six 4-foot sections remaining, which can be cut down to the 3-foot 9-inch lengths for the short wall.


From the remaining four 2x4x10 boards, you'll cut the ten 10.5-inch supporting posts.

Step two

Next, assemble each wall of your raised garden box. You do this by stacking three boards, so they are 10.5 inches tall. Then add support posts to the inside edge and along the inside to hold the boards together. After you have done that together, add screws to keep it together.

Step three

After you have built the box, it is time to add the mesh. To keep weeds out of the garden, staple the mesh across the bottom of the box. The mesh allows worms (who aerate the soil for good water and air flow) to get into the garden!

Step four

Finally, you will want to protect it with plastic. If your wood is not water-resistant, line the inside of your garden box walls with heavy-duty plastic to protect from the soil and water.


Now you have a simple wooden raised garden to fill with flowers and vegetables. Even though these seem like the easiest, they’re also a favorite of our raised garden ideas because they get you gardening.

Step Up: Consider Tiered Garden Beds

tiered garden beds

One problem gardeners encounter while growing is plant height. When some plants or flowers grow taller, the low-lying plants like cabbages or lettuces receive less sun. Avoid this with tiered garden beds. Not only does this style allow for varying plant height, but the added dimension also looks great in your yard.

The bloggers behind ChrisLovesJulia.com show in-depth instructions on how to build a tiered planter for their deck, and its sleek design is one of the more minimalist raised garden ideas while maximizing planting space. These can also be simple wood boxes but built to look like stairs with a higher tier in the back, and this style works well for a mix of plants like trailing vines or low shrubs combined with tall flowers.

Raised Beds with Bench Seats

If you love to spend time in the garden even when you're not gardening, consider this fun raised garden idea. By adding a wooden bench surrounded by raised planters, you can relax in the garden with your flowers all around you enjoying. It also adds some privacy to the seating area of your garden.

Another option is adding a supported bench to the outside of your wooden garden bed, which would allow easier access while working. These act as a type of potting bench, but also give you somewhere to sit while you dig and plant in the garden.

Using Tables or Legs for Planters

Maybe you don’t have a large grass yard for gardening. You can still have a garden bed on our deck or cement patio. In fact, adding legs to your planters makes them closer to counter-height and more accessible to maintain instead of kneeling in the garden. If rabbits or moles (or possibly your puppy) continually destroy your garden, lifting the garden off the ground with legs should help solve that problem.

Supplies

  • Antique table or desk (should have an “apron” under the table top that will act as your planter)
  • Drill
  • Tape Measure
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    Wire Cutters
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    Heavy-duty stapler
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    landscape fabric
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    thin wood strips (preferably cedar lattice for water resistance)

Step one

Flip the table over and place on a workbench or solid surface. Unroll and use your wire cutters to cut the hardware cloth to size across the bottom of the table. Staple along the edge of the table. You might need an extra set of hands to hold it in place while you're stapling!

Step two

Measure and cut the cedar lattice to fit around the under edge of the table, covering the edge of the hardware cloth. Using the drill and screws, secure the lattice in place to support the fabric. If you have a large table, you may add a strip across the middle to support the weight of the soil in your garden.

Step three

Line the tabletop-planter with landscape fabric to keep all the soil in, but still allowing for drainage. Then fill with soil and plant your flowers!

Save Space with Trellis Planters

When you can’t spread out with your garden, it’s time to go up with trellises. Several raised garden ideas show a wooden planter for the base, then a trellis added of the planter for plants that grow vines. Another option is hanging small containers on the trellis to maximize the space even further. With colorful pots, the display is fun and bright even before the flowers bloom. Just make sure that all the plants receive enough sunlight throughout the day.

Trellises work well on a deck as they line up along the wall of your home, and the flowers can act as a decoration for your space. With tomatoes growing up a vegetable ladder, you could have a great garden without changing anything in your backyard.

Other Fun Garden Tips

bench surrounded with green plants

Planters are just the beginning of our raised garden ideas. Once you have the foundation, you can add different elements to the garden that make it a special place, not only for you but guests and family members. With decorative features, you’ll be proud to show off your hard work!


Pathways

Pathways between raised garden beds offer lots of room for inspiration and decoration. If you left two to three feet between the planters, you should have enough room for a lawnmower to maintain grass walkways. Minimizing weeds is always a top concern for gardeners, but it can be challenging in the area around the garden beds (all the weeding focus is inside the beds). Mowing and weed-whacking become very important in this area to keep it looking pretty.

Another option is to lay pebbles between the beds. These are beautiful but can be costly and labor-intensive. If you plan on selling your home, a future homeowner might want to revert the area to grass and won't appreciate your efforts. You can also lay pavers with ground-covering vegetation between each step, which would add interest to the garden, as well as keep maintenance easier.


Gates

While garden gates are primarily to keep destructive animals out of your flowers and vegetables, you can get creative with the entryway into your garden. Walking through an arbor with trailing flowers such as roses or wisteria along the top will make the entrance almost magical for visitors.

Hunt around local antique shops during the spring and summer to find a vintage iron gate for the opening to your garden. That works exceptionally well to match the architecture of an old home, or if you want to incorporate an eclectic style into your outdoor space.


Animal Fencing

Last but not least, you will need to protect your new garden from animals. Deer, rabbits, chipmunks, and other burrowing creatures can invade the space if you’re not careful. While most of these raised garden ideas naturally protect from more critters, but it’s always good to include some fencing or mesh.

Remember, deer can jump most fences as long as they have enough space to jump back out. You can easily build a tall fence around your garden with wood posts and mesh netting from a hardware store. Using mesh means you’ll still be able to look inside your garden and enjoy from a distance while keeping your vegetables and flowers protected from deer.

Get Gardening

Now that you have a few raised garden ideas, it's time to get gardening! With protection from animals and better control of the soil, you'll have a little less work to do, and your plants will grow in densely. Your flowers might even brighten the inside of your home and be the topic of many conversations at outdoor parties. Whether you choose to plant herbs, vegetables, or flowers, you'll be proud of the hard work you put into planning and building out the space.

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