Putting raised beds on concrete, Greenhouse on Concrete

heebiejeebieAugust 14, 2006

Most of my backyard is concrete. I'd like to build raised beds out of wood on the concrete. How would you do this?

1) Put the bottomless box right on the concrete and fill it with soil

2) Put the bottomless box on concrete, put rocks in the bottom, fill it with soil

3) Put a wood bottom on the box, drill holes in the bottom, raise the box on bricks

I'm also planning on buying a greenhouse. How do I anchor this on the concrete?

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lovesjunk(z4 Iowa)

There is a wonderful book on just this topic. Grrrrrr... I've looked for it and can't remember where I stashed it- as well as my other favorite urban garden books. I believe the title is Gardening on Pavement and Concrete (or Concrete and Pavement). A search on Amazon should come up with it. There are some fabulous ideas in it.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 10:38PM
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I'd agree with Janet that #1 seems best. I would worry somewhat about the extra heat generated by the concrete surrounding the beds. Is it dark colored? I know there is a big difference in the moisture needs of pots sitting in grass and those on my concrete porch. 'Course it gets hotter here but Illinois gets pretty hot too, just for shorter periods. I'd add an extra 6" depth to your boxes just for cooler root run and to hold more moisture. josh

    Bookmark   August 27, 2006 at 9:47PM
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I put in raised beds this summer on top of my concrete backyard, about 18" tall. I pretty much just plopped the dirt into the enclosures, although as I came across rocks and sticks I did use those for a bottom layer, thinking of drainage and also just to get rid of them. I'd love to hear what you decided and how it works out.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 7:56AM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

I built a raised bed on concrete last spring. It's about 14" deep and just shy of 4 feet long and wide, bottomless and has a trellis nailed to one side. If I were doing it all over again I would make it 18" like newskye.

The concrete slab I built it on has a very slight angle so that helped with drainage. I also used a chunky, loose soil mix. I successfuly grew okra, beans, snap peas, and cucumbers in it (not all at the same time).

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 8:40AM
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I have pretty hard, mostly decomposed granite soil in my back yard, which is covered by a porous synthetic weed shield and about 4 inches of 1/4' and finer decomposed granite. I want to use raised bed gardens so I don't have to dig up my landscaping, because breaking up the existing soil would be a real chore, and the soil quality is not good. What I wondering is will I be able to get away with a 1 foot bed or do I need to go 18"? Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 7:13PM
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Would love to know how/what worked out for everybody. I am putting 2 raised garden beds on my concrete in the backyard. I was directed to this site because I was wondering if I am just supposed to put the soil directly on the pavement in my bottomless raised bed.

I have been doing an internet search all day, and I came across a suggestion to put newspaper on the bottom before putting the soil down. Has anybody heard of this?

Otherwise, I will just put directly on concrete. Can't wait to get started.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 5:41PM
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You just need drainage at the bottom where the beds meet the concrete, the cardboard won't add anything. I left the bricks meet at the bottom un-mortared and threw dirt straight in.


last week

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 1:48AM
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I will be putting raised beds on old concrete slab in the city and after much ruminating believe that a layer of stone (or recycled wine corks) at the bottom of the box is a great idea... not only for drainage but also for air flow and isolation from concrete... seems to make sense...

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 11:23PM
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Let us know how it works for you!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 3:23PM
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susan2010(6 Massachusetts)

It is almost like container gardening, putting beds on concrete. You might want to post in the container gardening forum for more specific advice.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 11:35AM
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I used cinderblocks on a concrete slab at a house we were renting - I just dumped the soil in the middle, then filled up the holes in the cinderblocks.It was marginally successful for herbs and more successful for succulents. If I were to do it again (we moved) I would use garden soil rather than a lighter soil...I think it would hold moisture better. At this house I am using smart pots for tomatoes...tomatoes are thriving.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 12:25PM
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it's past summer, but i'll add my 2 cents, may be for next year will come in handy. how about using cinderblocks or pavers with holes in them to allow for drainage - use them as a bottom layer to support the box. then fit inside window screen netting or perforated metal grid to retain the soil . and then put a layer of argi-cloth, permiable, for drainage. it'll prevent buggies from crowling in thru the bottom too. when soil is on concrete, doesn't it stain it? if you use pavers, the soil will remain cooler too and drainage is much easier.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:56AM
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