Question:

Can I use stone to build raised bed gardens?

Gardens of Stone

You don't want a heart of stone--you're an earth mother. But building raised garden beds with stone doesn't mean you're cold--it means you want to protect your plants. Raised stone beds bring style, charm and elegance. But you've never considered how to build a raised bed garden using stones. Here are some rock-solid hints:

  1. Check your local garden or stone supplier to determine which stone is right for your garden. Some suggestions: tumbled concrete, field stone, pavers, granite.
  2. Make sure to dig a trench around the shape of your bed. The trench should be four to five inches deep, but the width depends on the width and type of the stone.
  3. Depending on how high your wall will be, fill the trench with crushed limestone.
  4. Don't add the soil yet! Lay the sones evenly, overlapping as boards do, and tilted inward so that they point to the center of the garden.
  5. Use a chisel to change the shape of the stone--don't forget safety gear such as goggles, gloves and a smock.
  6. Backfill the bed with crushed stone--check to see that it doesn't contain silt or limestone.
  7. Leave one of the stone walls open the way you do when you follow instructions on how to build raised bed gardens with a wood frame.
  8. Add the soil!

The crushed stone will prevent it from sliding away, and will provide natural drainage. Stone is good for building raised beds with wood frames too. Shirley Brenon, gardening enthusiast and writer of a weekly gardening column for the Palm Springs, California newspaper THE DESERT SUN, advises building raised garden beds with rocks and gravel in the bottom to help drainage and safeguard the soil. Even Mother Nature needs a fortress to protect her turf--so guard yours with great-looking stone when building raised beds.

Raised Garden Frequently Asked Questions

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Patricia Walters-Fischer