Hello everyone, I need some ideas on how to make a raised circular bed out of cheap/free materials. I know that brick will work. Can you think of anything else to make a round bed with?
Snakes are good to have in the garden, they eat rodents. Some eats slugs too.
I have used little kiddie pools successfully (about $6. ea)
rocks! we grow them in new england, there's always plenty! really, try checking out construction sites, excavation sites for new roads, tear-downs- with the usual safety/permission precautions, of course.
I second the rocks, that's what I use for all raised beds except for my veggie bed which is large enough that I just used rail road ties and don't use the first foot in from them (leeching).
This spring I have to create another garden area which will be a rounded triangle in the corner of the yard. The fence forms 2 legs of the triange, but the last side I want rounded to break up the lines. So, I could go buy that crummy plastic edging, curse all day trying to get it buried in the ground properly, watch it come out of the ground the next spring and all that, but I just gather the rocks from various places nearby and use those.
They work great and look great.
I wish there were rocks in Florida:( I love raise beds of rock and borders of rock and all kinds of rock things. I want rocks. I have to buy rocks down here.
I have several raised beds and they all have rock borders. Coloredthumb I wish you lived close, I'd deliver a truck load of rocks to you. We have soooo many of them and most have green moss on them.
Do you live near a place that has cows, horses, sheep, or goats?
Galvanized metal water troughs eventually rust & leak, & livestock owners replace them.
If you can find a place with discarded troughs (be sure to offer to pay), the owners may be happy to cooperate.
The building I work in just re-did their staircase. They tore off all the old industrial plastic stair coverings. They are perfect for raised bed, they are 8" tall, 4' long, and pretty clean. They are much stronger than the plastic edging you can buy in garden or home improvement stores! I staked them into the ground with some 2X2 that i found sitting in a pile ready to go to the dump!!
I've done the kiddie pool thing. If you don't like the look of blue plastic with pink and red fishies on it for your garden decor, you can dry-stack stones, bricks, log-ends, or even broken chunks of cement around it, or cover the plastic with hypertufa to make a ring - then cut the bottom out. Just whatever you do, don't paint the stones or cement or whatever white - for some reason, a lot of the people where I live think painting rocks white and stacking them in the front yard turns them into lawn ornaments, and it looks terrible!
I agree with the kiddie pool idea, although I have never tried it. I found some terrific info. on what can be done with kiddie pools. Check out the link below to learn how to make a garden using wading pools, feed sacks, and old tires. The site also shows how to turn this into a community project. The plants produced can help feed the hungry, raise money for charity or an organization, and more. Here's a sample of the site:
"The plastic wading pool is the most cost-efficient container available. At 6 feet in diameter and 12 inches deep, each one provides approximately 28 square feet of growing area for under $10, and is capable of producing up to 40 pounds of produce per growing season. Over a ten year period, if you accrue the total cost of everything you need ($30 for the pool, soil, transplants and seeds) it comes to 8Â¢ per pound of food grown!"
I don't know about you, but this is a frugal gardener's dream! The site demonstrates how even city dwellers can transform rooftops into sites for gardens using methods like these. Just think of the wasted space that could be used to feed the hungry, and provide nutritional food for all?
It's very exciting!
Here is a link that might be useful: Kiddie Pool Gardens and More!
Cinder blocks work great if you can find them at a de-construction site and the guys will let you have them for free. If you have to buy them they can be kinda expensive, but either way they work real well, because they don't move from wherever you put them. I found a bunch of them at a site where they were taking down some mobile offices on a military base. But you might be able to find them other places too.
I like anything brick or stone too, Coloredthumb, and I collect both whenever and wherever I find it. I've been known to pull off the road and pick up a stray brick. I found one once on a windowsill of a dance studio. Got two from a site where an old abandoned house had burned down. And every now and then I stop and ask a homowner if they want to get rid of a pile of old bricks in their yard. I'll haul 'em off and rake the yard clean in return for getting the bricks for free. Yep, I'm shameless.
Thank you for that link, lefthandartist. I have been toying with using one of these to create a cutting garden-I have a small lot, with an overly large gravel drive area in front of the garage. Naturally, this is the sunniest place on the property. If I can plop it onto the gravel and not cut out the entire bottom this just might work....
The easiest and cheapest round raised garden bed in the world is an old discarded farm tractor tire. You can pick them up at almost any rural tire store or tractor supply center in this country.They are the best for plants that like warm feet like melons, peppers, squash,etc. And for plants that like their feet a little cooler just take some white latex paint and give the tire a good coating.
Hope this helps you, Garbird
Another thing about old tires is they are not very pretty, but tire companies have to pay to dispose of them so they are very happy to let you take them away for them.They are from the gardeners point of view prefabricated,they are easy to reach into to cultivate your plants,they don't allow water to spill out their sides ( helpig to conserve resources), and they come in many sizes suitable for just about any kind of plants.Hope this helps ,Garbird
Don't forget to use them old big dresser drawers for raised beds. Seal the wood. Line it with plastic to prolong it's life. Drill drain holes in the bottom. Paint it up to suit your yard decor and presto, a raised bed! They can be stacked on cinder blocks to increase the height. Just a thought.
The writer (and I can't find the site anymore!) used old newspapers to build up sides for his raised bed. He slowly built up walls using wet newspaper (the trick was to make sure ALL THE PAPER was soaked through. Dry paper did not work. He said to fold it in layers of about ten sheets and soak it, then pile it, overlapping for strength.)
It ended up a nice grey color, and slumped into organic shapes. Eventually it degraded, and he just shoveled it into the bed and made more paper walls. I wanted to do it but my sister went ballistic (and she has half the mortgage...) so her husband made brick beds.
I was going to use Cinder blocks until I priced them. Now I am wondering about LARGE PVC pipe. I have rocks and the neighbor did this but I am not sure how you get a raised bed with them. I have edged my yard with rocks and I love them. If I ever get the energy up I will bury my kids old little tykes pool. It is STURDY. I would love a small water feature. I have a tractor tire doing duty as a sand box. Ugly is right but maybe between the two I have....I planted one a few years back( blue flowers, rubber ducks for cute effect) and the neighborhood dogs wouldn't let it be. Maybe I will have to send the son back into the woods to once again dig it out! I have a 50 gal barrel I coverd with cement and stones. It is a beautiful planter and talk about raised! Light bulb..my hubby has access to as many barrels as I want. I could cut them down to three feet and I know just where to set them all!!!! Rabbits will never get to my beans!!!
garbird beat me to it on using old tractor or truck wheels. On the tire thing, there are several families back home that have had the tires turned inside-out and then used them for rose gardens.
as summer dies down TARGET usually clearances those little kiddie pools out at amzingly LOW prices, gotta grab them quick tho cause they sure disappear fast! I was too slow last year, but they went down to $1.74!!
I'm thinking of creating (another) raised bed by using cheap window boxes to border an existing lasagna bed, thereby adding to the planting area.
I second the old tractor tires. My friend was just telling me Sunday night that he paid $25 at the dump to get rid of his tractor tire and he has another one that he needs to get rid of but does not want to pay that much again. I told him to put it by the road with a free sign. If I had the space here I would love to use it for a flower bed. Ask around or call the local farm bureau to see if they know where you can get some.
I saw on another site, Garden Experiments, a very interesting post and many follow ups called "hay bale or pine straw gardening". You might get some ideas from that. There are folks who use hay bales to edge their beds because they are cheap and make a great soil amendments when they will no longer hold together. Check it out, I think you will like some their ideas.
Oh man, I am loving this thread!
I want a tire bed! That is such a GREAT idea! I'd like to have a ton of them all over the back yard. Anyone ever tried painting rubber? I can see it chipping off over time. I think it would be pretty either way but for some ODD reason, I'd like to paint brightly colored stripes on them. I wonder why that's in my head.
Last year I was wanting to spray paint hula hoops and grow vines around them. But this is a much better idea!
I have a question about using the kiddie pools. How exactly do you use it?? Do you just plop it where you want to plant - cut out the bottom - fill with dirt, etc?? Do you need to put anything down to "smother" the grass underneath? What about digging a hole the size of the kiddie pool and sort of setting it in there - then maybe backfill around the edges with some dirt to hide the "lip" of the pool. Would that work??
I made raised beds from my neighbors driveway pieces when they ripped it up to put in a new one. They were huge concrete pieces that edged out my beds very nicely. If you turn them over to reveal the rough side, you can hardly tell what they once were. They were nice enough to overlap and double stack if you wanted more height. They backfilled nicely without any leakage. I plan to get more next time I see a driveway being replaced!
The pool idea seems easiest... I love to try this and edge it out with the concrete pieces to naturalize it. You could even make spaces and fill in the holes with pretty plants that do well in rock crevices.
A friend of mine made great circular raised beds out of some huge, very sturdy, very thick plastic pipe that was left in his yard by the previous owner. Diameter about 4'-or 5'. He sawed it into 12" wide rings. It looks really cool, too. Make sure you mark and saw carefully. It might also be possible to do the same with galvanized culvert, though the cutting will be much trickier. Since you could make use of short and otherwise useless ends of plastic or metal culvert, you may be able to get it for free from a contractor.
What good ideas!
I live in the clay-soil capital of the universe... trying to dig into it when it's dry it IMPOSSIBLE. All planting has to be done after soaking the soil. A nuisance, to be sure. My tiller barely breaks the soil. So raised beds seem to be a reasonable solution.
My question is: what is the best way to install the beds? Should I try to dig down a bit and then use the pools, railroad ties or whatever?
I know this is probably a VERY elementary question... I just moved here from New England where all I had to do was move the rocks around and stick the plant into the ground a -- ta da!! -- it grew.
Any advise will be greatly appreciated!
The pools will kill most of the grass underneath, but weeds tend to come up around the edges. The pools also hold moisture underneath. You might want to excavate the soil a few inches larger than the pool, add a layer of sand to help if drainage is a problem, and set the pool inside.
If you're going to paint tires, get paint intended to adhere to rubber. The rubber is going to degrade, however, so be prepared for flaking and cracking as the rubber ages.
I used a truck tire, car tire, ATV tire, and garden tractor tire stacked to make a basil pyramid.
If you're going to use tires, be really careful of the wires.
You can also use a single washtub as an old-fashioned raised bed.
You might try using several soup pots or other large containers arranged together. When the plants grow, the individual lines of the pots will be blurred, giving the impression of one large bed. This is helpful where you have steep or uneven ground.
A child's wagon, minus the wheels, can be set on the ground and used as a flower bed.
A shelf, whether wooden or metal, can be laid on its side and used as a raised bed.
For tire beds, cut the rims off and turn them inside out. You can cut across the treads and spice them together as well to make larger beds. It works great and can make lovely freeform shapes as well.
But my best beds are made out of bamboo. The mountain behind my house, "Takeyama" or "Bamboo Mountain" in Japanese, is lousy with it. So I cut down a few 50 foot poles, chop them into one foot lengths, and pound them into the ground with a piece of firewood. Works great for making compost pile enclosures as well, if you wrap a piece of baling twine around it. Bamboo will rot away in three years or less when it is on the ground. But it does look lovely.
And my third option would be cob. Take equal parts of clay and sand, add water and do the twist in it barefoot until it changes consistency. Then add some straw or even cut grass, and dance some more. Finally make it into some bread loaf sized lumps and build up some short walls with it. It won't last forever, but it is definitely unique. And it will eventually just melt back into your garden. If you cover the top of the walls with half-round bark or split-shake shingles, it will last longer.
Hubby took his truck and trailer and went off to collect some tractor tires for me. The tire shops were thrilled to be rid of them. He got me 12 huge tires. I am not sure I will use them all but thrilled to have some at least. What I don't use will be put out at our yard sale for sand boxes and for planters. Hubby will be cutting the tires so they will be already to use. Not sure if anyone else will want some but if not I will just have to use them all myself : ) I am hoping they will be good for bulbs though. I don't really want to raise food crops in them and bulbs are what I need to plant right now. Any thoughts? Shirley
I just went to the landscaping supply yard this last weekend where a very helpful gal said that they sell the "little pieces" of flagstone for 5 cents each! Or sometimes if you show the guys what you have they will just give them to you-- see most people only want the large pieces and the other little peices get wedged in with the bigger ones- so they don't want them around, but I want them for walkways, and perhaps even building stone walls, stack lots of them up or put them upright and cement them into place. We are starting from scratch with all new construction and with all the initial costs of landcaping in a year before the HOA turns on us, this seems like a great option!!
A few thoughts here, since I have used several of the above methods in the past...
1. Children's wading pools -- these do work well for a season or two. After that, the sun starts to break down the plastic and it gets brittle and starts to break. Not only is this a bad idea, environmentally, but then you have the work of reshovelling all that soil into something else. I'd rather be doing another garden task instead of redoing the same thing.
2. Tires -- one of my favorites. Be aware that they will heat up, though, and you will need to water more often than in other planters. Any raised bed will need frequent watering but especially tires. Also, be sure to fill them COMPLETELY full with soil so that there are no gaps under the rim for lovely little snake friends to curl up in. This is especially important if you live in an area (like I do) where you have several kinds of rattlers, copperheads, and water moccasins to keep you company in the garden.
3. Rubbermaid tubs -- these will also break down, although not as quickly as the wading pools.
4. Kitty litter buckets -- check around for folks who don't want them. I'm amazed at how many of these hit the trash. You could put them all in a row and make a nice little garden out of these. Drill big holes for drainage and put some rocks in the bottom, of course.
The Noble Foundation in Texas has done extensive research on recycling rubber tires for raised beds.
Here is a link that might be useful: Rubber Lumber
How about log's? or large branches? They work too granted they are limited in size/capacity but if you have access to free ones they can also be very useful too...
i have a circle of galvanized tins -- one was my great-grandmother's "bath" tub, one belonged to a neighbor who cared for my aunt, two are from favorite neighbors from the old neighborhood, etc. i bought a tall galvanized garbage can and placed that smack dab in the middle. i planted tall, attention-getters like cannas inside that one. the whole display is nice -- each planter is stuffed with different flowering plants and herbs. try it!
When we removed our inground pool last summer we had a lot of concrete to get rid of. Sine I love to recycle I used the broken concrete to make some great looking raised beds. I flipped the chunks of concrete over so that the small rocks were exposed. I then planted sedum in between the concrete. My neighbors thought it was flagstone and ask if they could have some.
Based on what I am seeing thrown away everywhere this time of year, maybe you could build a retaining wall out of whole pumpkins?
Every time I see a new real estate development being built, I drive in to speak with a manager about fetching some rocks that they dig up and throw away anyway. I use these free rocks in my garden with abundance! Very often people are willing to help me load up my trunk, even though I never ask them. That is a real bonus and a blessing.
There are many plastic barrels out there. Car washes get their soap in large drums. Resturants get pickled food in large drums. You just have to chase them down.
Using a sawzall, you can cut them to any depth you like.
Use them as raised beds or bury them in the ground.
I'm new to all this but am excited about getting started. We've recently had a number of large trees cut down (both fur and hemlock). I was thinking of using them for raised garden beds. I was planning on removing the bark.
My neighbor thinks they will only last a couple years. What do you folks think? Would it help if I painted the bottom of the logs with tar, would that help?
Any insight would be appreciated.
I'm personally steering away from wood as I don't really want rotten wood. I was trying to find some of the clearance kiddie pools mentioned throughout the thread, but even a couple months ago, all the clearance pools were gone here! Uggggh
I'd sure like an inexpensive option that is fairly quick and easy to do. I did take a suggestion for Craig's List and got some used bricks that I'm very grateful for, but I still want more raised beds... any more ideas?
I made a raised bed from cinder blocks as an experiment one year and it was a bit of trouble to get it level and straight and then after three years, I hated it. All the cute ideas I had for growing sedums and thyme in the holes just never really worked out well enough to make them attractive to me. I also found that it heated up the bed too much for me. Which could have been a benefit I suppose if I was growing heat lovers in that location, but mine were in part shade. I also thought the cement leached something into the soil that changed the PH, isn't that true?
I have HDPE and Concrete pipe cutoffs from construction sites. 18" and 24". They work great to add a little height difference in my garden beds. If you get lucky you might find 36" or 48" cutoffs that would work great.
Wow, you folks are amazing, and I'm now looking at curbside stuff in a totally different light. As I was out walking my dogs in the neighborhood I saw a really *ugly* low blue two-drawer dresser set out at the curb and immediately thought - "Hmmm, I wonder if the drawers are big enough to use for a raised bed?"
*delighted chuckle* I'm going to take my car around today, and see what else may be good for the planned veggie garden in my back yard.
Thanks for the inspiration, all of you!
If you go to the local builders supply store,i.e.Home Depot,etc., You can buy concrete circular forms made out of super heavy cardboard. This comes in diameters of 6" to 48"+. Relatively inexpensive and buying one tube will give you most of the circular beds you could use .. Added benefit is that when they do disintegrate over time, they compost back into the soil..
Hope it helps..
Stone and concrete walls look nice but they create a problem around the edges. You can't mow clear up to the wall so you need to string trim. You can't get the grass or weeds that collect in the crevices so never get a good clean look. I solved this with roofing shingles. I removed the grass all around my circular bed the width of the roofing shingles. Then I lifted up each rock and slid the roofing shingle underneath about 2", overlapping as I went around the circle. It took an afternoon but it was so worth it! Now the mower wheel glides right over the roofing shingles and no string trimming needed. Just circle your bed with the mower in one pass and that's it, a crisp clean look. I used green roofing shingles and the grass grows right up to the edge and blends in. Can't tell you how many people have said, Wow, that's a great idea! I used landscape pins to hold the shingles in place. Because they are so thick I made the puncture holes with an awl. These roofing shingles have been in place for 3 summers and no problems. I bought mine at Home Depot because I wanted the green color but I imagine if you see roofers putting on a new roof you could ask if they have any new shingles left over you would be happy to haul them away. I don't recommend using used shingles because they are all ripped up and falling apart. Seems to me I paid about $16 for my package of green shingles and I bet they will be there for years to come. Has anyone else done this? Hope the idea helps.
Trowelgal of Tina
I just posted a "Wanted" ad on Craigslist asking for a piece of culvert. I received a response the next day from a farmer who will sell me a new piece of galvanized culvert 6' long an 4' wide for $25.00! I will be able to make 3 raised beds 24" high from this piece. I was only looking for one to plant raspberries in - now I am thinking I will use one to plant cut flowers and the other to plant veggies. I am so excited to get started!
Tina, I'm so glad to hear that someone else uses roofing shingles to control weeds around flower beds. My beds are carved out of an a former cornfield, and the weed seeds come in/blow in with no restraint. Roofing shingles stopped them in their tracks! I put wood chip mulch over the shingles for aesthetic appeal, and the paths around my beds are weed free. That's quite a help for an old woman who has (used to have) wild aster, mule-tail grass and straw clump "weeds" as tall as she is!! My beds are defined by cedar logs, and I just slip the shingles about 2-3 inches under the log. Then I overlap them to create a weed barrier 2-3 feet between beds. I have a friend who works for a building supplier and I get my shingles free. Time to ask for more for the new beds!!
Where in Kansas do you live? We lived in Overland Park for 25 years. Nice place.
Barbara in Virginia
I love the old hay bale idea. There are lots of farmers around here with old hay stacks going to waste. Gonna use that.
Anyone ever used stacked bags of concrete? You stack the bags like bricks and can drive rebar through the bags into the ground to tie them together. Wet the bags down every other day and in about 2 weeks the paper falls off to reveal a perfectly stacked concrete wall. If you want you can then stain the concrete and/or roughen up the edges with a chisel. Google "cement bag retaining walls" and look at images if you want to see what it looks like. I was thinking of doing rectangular raised beds with circular ones at the "corners" that were higher than the raised beds. What do you think?
I've had loads of mulch delivered for free from local tree companies...... often there are rounds of wood in them. You can just make a circle of these round of cut logs, arrange the height as you prefer, and then fill in with your soil mix.
Once you've developed a relationship with one or more of these companies, you could probably end up with as much free mulch and firewood (or raised bed materials) as you could ever need.
A-la brick wall painted tractor tire.
I love the painted tractor tire! Beautiful! Also, if you know of anyone who is remodeling, you can use old wood for the edges, too!
If you choose to use the tires, you need to wash the insides out well to keep the oils, etc. from leaching into your plants.
Also, if you can wait for fall, and you might want to, to give your soil a chance to blend, check out the garden center at WalMart, KMart, etc. They clear out all their gardening stock at that time. I've found 4x4ft raised beds for as little as $25 each! The bags of garden soil cost a bit more per bed than the beds themselves.
If you can, have soil delivered from a rock and soil place. It's much cheaper, depending on how many beds you have.
Hope this helps!
Look for houses being torn down, & ask for bricks or whatever other likely-looking materials you see.
I once had a cottage garden that was defined by a border of vintage plates.
I dug a trench around the whole bed & then stood the plates on on edge & buried them not quite half way into the trench & back-filled;
those beds weren't 'raised' very much, but they were cute!