Raised Bed and Trellis

by Kerry
15 Materials
4 Days

Moving from an apartment to a first home meant I could finally have a garden! Well, that was until I realized the soil was solid clay and my low fence left me feeling a little too exposed. So I designed and built a raised bed and trellis to provide a great south facing SFG space and a privacy screen.

Here's the completed project!

Best raised garden!

Feeling inspired but don't have the tools or time to make this project? We like this raised garden and lattice fence that Amazon reviewers swear by!

The day I closed on the house I submitted a request to the Architectural Review Committee for our HOA. After getting an idea off Pintrest, I used Realtime Landscaping Architect 2016's free trial to measure out and model how the trellis would fit into the rest of the landscaping at my new house.

With acceptance of the request, I ripped out and transplanted three existing butterfly bushes and two of three needlepoint hollies. I eventually took out the last holly, but I didn't have anywhere to transplant it.

The general plan... The cost of wood for such a high raised bed was more than I wanted to spend. I switched my plan to corrugated metal, which should hold up better than wood in the long run. I ended up cutting the bottom couple of inches off the metal sheeting on two sheets so I wouldn't have to dig as deep in the clay. My backyard slopes a couple of inches, so cutting the metal for the higher side was easier than trying to dig in the metal any deeper than I had to.

I cut the metal with a metal blade on my jigsaw. No need for all the other fancy tools Home Depot said I needed!

Trying to dig the trench for the perimeter of the raised bed was much harder due to the existing trellis... In hindsight, I should have made the raised bed first and then the trellis. Oh well!

By securing the two 8' sections together with more metal screws, the raised bed became much more stable.

How do you cut an 8' board by yourself? I realize this isn't the proper way to do it, but I had to go with what I had. I supported the end on a leftover bag of cement and an extra board. It worked!

Adding on the 1"x6" topper not only increased stability, but also makes a nice bench. They are secured to the 2x4 posts with little triangles of left over 2x4s which mimic the support spans on the trellis and add stability.

I used a scrap pallet to support the middle as I filled the bed with a 50/50 mix of screened topsoil and compost. Originally I was thinking of filling most of the bed with lower quality soil, but the price difference wasn't that much.

It took 2.5 cubic yards of soil to fill this monster bed.

The top 6" is a square foot mix of peat, vermiculite, and compost. Had I known exactly what I was doing, this project would have taken about 4 days... I spread it out over multiple weekends though.

Now it's time to wait for the weather to warm up to plant and enjoy the backyard.

Update: It's growing! I added a little wire fencing as my puppy thought the soil was perfect for hiding her bone. I also stapled nylon twine to the top frame make the square foot garden grid to keep track of spacing and map out what I planted where.

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  • Laurie Kilts Laurie Kilts on Aug 29, 2020

    GREAT job!!! 12 years ago I'd built 3-inferior above ground gardens. Which need to be removed now! I'd like to copy your design to help hide my neighbors old, ugly, decrepit, eye sore fence along one side of my yard & use as my new above ground garden. Yea!!! But I need help! Laid weed cloth then mulch, but after several years developed nasty white mold & a (ha!) mushroom farm! Told due to the mulch not having a place for natural decompe. I've removed everything and now thinking about using a rubber mulch w/no weed cloth to help with weed control while also adding a decorative look. Next, previous owners used a dug in black bendable edger that has seen better days! Should I simply replace the ending with more of the same, or could I get by with using a thick layer of weed cloth dug in where the previous plastic border was? I'm 65, female, & alone! And planning on selling my home in the next 2yrs., since I no longer can physically care for it all & lack the $$ to hire help :( I would greatly appreciate any & all advice/suggestions! Oh, I live in a 4-season climate. TY!

  • Lisa Samia Rangel Lisa Samia Rangel on Aug 19, 2021

    My neighbor has this in his backyard and it looks lovely. The only thing is, when the sun hits the corrugated metal it shines so bright in my direction that I am forced to draw my blinds closed because it hurts my eyes. Is there a way to avoid this? Maybe an angle issue on the metal?

  • Carol Carol on Aug 25, 2021

    Super job Kerry! 4 yrs later & you show up on my HomeTalk. lol I read all the original questions from 2017. But this new one is more daunting to read. The material list won’t open for me 🤷🏻‍♀️ maybe you could attach a link, please. So I have a few questions:

    1) How deep (top to ground) is this planter box? And how wide (your knees to the trellis)? And I did read that you would recommend making it 2 planters instead on 1 for better reaching stuff.

    2) why did you put the middle trellis post inside the planter instead of behind it?

    3) One place I read that you used 10’ trellis posts, another place I read 8’. Which did you use?

    4) Did you happen to create instructions? Like making the top attach to the top of the trellis looks the most daunting. Cutting those angles!

    Thanks in advance for you reply. This is something I really want to do. Block the street & neighbors & have a raised garden cause I can’t get up from my knees anymore! icon

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  • Trudy Trudy on Jun 05, 2023

    One way to fill raised beds is to fill the bottom with tree branches, twigs, leaves, etc. then fill in the rest with soil. The branches and leave hold water for the roots and as they rot serve to add humus. You can add compost and dirt as the level sinks and you will end up with great dirt that doesn’t cost as much all at once.

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  • Susan Grekso Susan Grekso on Aug 18, 2023

    Beautiful solution!