For both the novice gardener and the professional, raised garden beds simplify horticulture. They make it possible for you to concentrate all of your gardening energy on a small area. This allows you to plant, fertilize, water, and weed as economically as possible.

Here are several tips on planning, installing and managing raised bed gardens.

The Spacing

Generally, a 3 x 6-ft bed ought to be sufficiently wide enough to support even sprawling plants like tomatoes, yet narrow enough for you to reach easily from either side. The ideal height is 1 to 2 ft tall, although you can still go higher, but remember that you are going to require a sizeable amount of soil to fill up a bed measuring over 3ft-high, unless of course you have constructed a stand for your garden bed.

If space allows, install more than a single bed, as it makes crop rotation easier and helps in meeting the watering needs of specific plants. Ensure that between the beds, you leave at least 18 inches for walkways, or some 2 ft, in case you will use a wheelbarrow.

Location of Garden Beds

Identifying a flat spot will spare you lots of digging. Generally, a north-south orientation gives full advantage of the available light. It’s good to stay close to your kitchen area, but steer clear of locations shaded by messy trees or the house. Aligning the raised beds in straight rows makes the installation of an irrigation system easier.

Raising the level of the soil by even a single foot reduces your back-bending effort when planting, irrigating, weeding and finally harvesting.

Choice of Soil and Drainage

Avoid using bad dirt and instead use a customized blend of soil-and compost to fill your raised bed. Drainage should be built into walls of the beds, which also keeps soil erosion under control. Greater exposure to direct sun warms the raised bed, allowing more plant diversity while also extending your growing season.