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Concrete / Cinder Block Beds - Slope Issue

Posted by mr-legume 6 (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 12, 09 at 0:58

1. Built the base of my first bed this weekend - planning on one more row of blocks on top. Exactly how level do i need to get it? i think i'm at least 6 inches out of level from one side to the other. will that leave me with a perpetually wet and dry side?

2. Can anyone tell me what this is? I love it creeping up the trumpet vine. hard to notice all summer till the yard is devoid of green. also is this what is considered "tardily deciduous"?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Concrete / Cinder Block Beds - Slope Issue

First, the most important thing is you want to be level. Too late now, so you'll likely end up having a slope on your soil. Not necessarily a bad thing, it will make it harder to irrigate and you'll have to figger it out. Whether you'll have a dry side is up to you, but 6" is enough so you can do a little cut and fill in the middle to slow the water down, or place something in there to slow the water down.


RE: Concrete / Cinder Block Beds - Slope Issue

If you're happy with the way it looks, then that's all that matters. Look at it this should drain well! :-)


RE: Concrete / Cinder Block Beds - Slope Issue

I made my first 4x8 bed the exact same way (cinder blocks), with a very similar slope. Here's what I learned:

1. Depending on your winters, the blocks may heave by spring, so you may have to fix them. Not a big deal, just keep it in mind.

2. With ANY slope, you will have runoff. The peat repels water if it's on a slope. If you can;t correct the slope, I'd use Mel's suggestion of saucer-shaped depressions around the base of the plant, and watering by hand. Otherwise, within a month you'll be losing your water to the low side,where more of the mix will gravitate to as well. I don't mean to be a downer, but I wish someone would have told me this before I set mine up that way!

Unfortunately, most of my yard slopes, so this year I'm building boxes and levelling them with cinderblocks. Hope this helps!

RE: Concrete / Cinder Block Beds - Slope Issue


saucers are fine but sheet flow from precipitation will wash soil downhill. You want a series of little cross-slope berms or a line of old 2x4s or something to make a check dam(s) to slow the sheet flow to minimize erosion.

Our very large raised bed (~76 lf and 256 sf of face) got a field change while we were building it, as the better half didn't like the look of one grade change, so we were left with a section having a 9 in fall, requiring me to put in a scrap concrete berm to check the slope. This check dam also retains a little heat in addition to stopping the sheet flow from the heavy downpours common here on the Front Range.


RE: Concrete / Cinder Block Beds - Slope Issue

Dan -

You're right... I wasn't even considering sheet flow. In retrospect, I bet this was a much larger contributing factor to the overall erosion of last year's bed. I'm happy with my change to level beds this year...

RE: Concrete / Cinder Block Beds - Slope Issue

Thanks for all the suggestions. I think i'll spend the extra time at the beginning and do it right the first time. as i said i still have to add the second level so its not too late. :)

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