Save Money With Hugelkultur!

2 Materials
45 Minutes

Today I am popping on to share how I fill all of my garden boxes. It saves us money because we have less soil to buy, plus it is AMAZING for the plants! Here is my finished planter box. You may have already seen it on my previous post, where I show you how to rust metal. This particular planter box is from DIY Cartel, and I absolutely love it! If you'd like more info on how I rusted it, see my previous post. If you'd like to know more about the box itself, click here-- it is a GORGEOUS planter box, and we get so many compliments on it!

If you have ever purchased soil to fill large planter boxes, you know that it can get very expensive. So I have been using the Hugelkultur method, which is European method of making raised garden beds filled with rotten wood and other plant materials. Hugelkultur beds have naturally good drainage and produce rich, fertile soil that retains moisture. They're also a great way to clean up your yard!

The first thing I do is make sure the box has good drainage holes. This planter from DIY Cartel has predrilled holes, which makes it so easy! Then I create a layer of wood pieces. You can use a fallen tree or branches you have pruned. The older the wood, the better.

Next, I layer in leaves and pine needles, which help fill in the gaps.

After this, I place a few inches of potting soil. I like to use organic soil.

After this, I layer in greens, such as lawn clippings or plants I have pulled from the garden. Just be careful not to use anything that might go to seed and give you weeds. Here, I used old cabbage plants that needed to be removed from my other planter boxes.

Basically, you are creating a compost pile of alternating layers in the planter box. It will be sooooo good for your plants - lots of nurients! I continue layering leaves, bark, greens, and soil. In between layers, I like to wet down the soil and push it down with my feet at bit.

When you get to the top third of the box, you can finish it all off with potting soil. Just think about how big your plants are, and how much soil they will need to start off with. If you are putting in large plants with larger root systems, you will need a thicker top layer of soil to start. Everything under that top later will decompose over time, creating super rich soil that your plants will thrive on as their roots continue to grow! Here are my planted boxes:

Here is what this area looked like before:

And here is a photo of the huge garden beds that we built last year. It would have cost us so much money had we not used the Hugelkultur method, and just look at how the plants love it, too! We had an amazing garden! BTW, the fence panels are there to keep the forest friends (animals) out. :)

And, just for fun, here is a pic with the fence panel off, at Halloween!

If you liked this post, please share... and I would love it if you would follow me on Instagram or Facebook -- @jagcagdesign -- where I constantly post lots of fun DIY and money-saving projects!

Happy DIYing,



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Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 10 questions
  • Benjamin Benjamin on May 10, 2021

    If you create a microcosm of composting items, don't you presume that the heat from the decomposition will become too much for the plants that are trying to live on the top layer? I get the concept of the breakdown of the green and brown layers and soil between becomes nutrients for the plants so that you don't actually need fertilizers for healthy growth. But the heat from the breakdown of the elements worries me. Please let us know how it all turns out with future posts. I'm curious...

  • Mona Plunkett Mona Plunkett on May 10, 2021

    Question...doesn't the breaking down of those materials generate heat that could harm to roots of your plants? Our compost pile gets really hot and we are continually turning it at regular intervals. I good idea though.

  • Could you do a post on how you made the fence?


Join the conversation

2 of 46 comments
  • Nasreen Nasreen on May 18, 2021

    Great idea have a concrete patio so your tip is great but layering it in browns & greens may cause some heat while it breaks down

  • P P on May 29, 2021

    the Formosan termites the old wood in the bottoms would attract in our New Orleans area gardens would eat the wooden fence & our frame house in short order - so I would skip the wood in the bottoms but composting 'in place' is great - plastic bottles or large plastic Mardi Gras beads could go into the bottom for drainage.