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Spectacular Raised Beds


Disney Epcot Flower and Garden Show Urban Gardening raised bed display

This past May I went to Disney World in Orlando Florida. Epcot was having their annual garden show and I saw some pretty neat displays. Every year they have a different focus and this year a lot of their special displays focused on Urban Gardening. Raised beds were a part of the urban gardens. Raised beds allow you to choose the best soil possible, provide excellent drainage and are easier on your back.

I’m not new to the concept of raised beds. In two of the homes I’ve owned I’ve employed raised beds. The first house where I used the raised bed method, I even towered the beds on top of each other.

First my husband built a 4×8 foot bed. Then we built two 4×4 foot beds and stacked them on top of the 4×8 foot bed at an angle so that smaller triangular beds were created at the ends and center of the larger bed. Not satisfied with the height, I had him build two more squares to fit on top of the 4×4 beds. We laid these squares on the diagonal, creating four more small triangular beds at the corners of each section. I have a picture of the beds somewhere, but haven’t been able to find them, so I substituted this diagram of what the stacked beds looked like from the top.

tiered flower bed diagram

To help you see the layers, I filled the first layer of the bed with purple flowers, the second tier with pink flowers, and the top tier with a yellow flower. The bottom corner sections were large enough to hold a tomato plant or several flowers or smaller veggies.

I knew my knees were going due to arthritis, so in my current home, which is all hillside, we tried to circumvent the issue by building raised beds around the entire house at a height I could sit on and reach into the beds. We chose to create them from stone blocks so they would be more durable and would look nicer. Double bonus: the year we put them in both my husband and I had some pretty nifty biceps from lifting all that rock.

south patio raised bed

south patio raised bed

West tiered beds at front of house

West tiered beds at front of house







north raised beds

north raised beds

There are only a few spots in my garden where I cannot sit and garden: the hillside, the deck beds, and a few places on the beds on south side of the yard.

north deck beds

north deck beds








In hindsight we should have terraced those 12 years ago, but for some crazy reason I thought my body would last forever. Silly girl. Now the back is going and I have to figure out a new way to garden. But I’ll talk more about how I’m solving that problem in a later post.

In the meantime, I urge you to try some raised garden beds. Not only are they easier to work in, they’re easier to keep out the weeds, because if you construct them right (no wider than 4 foot) you can work from the sides. You never have to compact the soil by walking on it. That makes pulling those pesky weeds much easier.


Have you ever used raised beds to garden?

About the Author:

CT Bio 8x11

Catherine Castle an award-winning author whose book The Nun and the Narc won two awards. Catherine not only loves to write, but is passionate about gardening quilting, singing, and composing music. Her garden won the Shaker Farms Garden Club’s Best Hillside Garden award in 2009. Her book Nowadays she spends a lot of time fighting weeds.