Raised Bed Gardening

Raised beds at Rick Bayless Garden.png

This year I’ve been seeing examples of raised beds
all over Chicago that make me wish I would have created raised beds
when I started my garden. Instead of digging through hard clay to try
to create a hospitable area for plants I could have built a few raised
beds and saved myself some back breaking digging. While you usually see
raised beds in vegetable gardens that can be used to grow ornamental
plants too.

In the photo above from Rick Bayless’ urban edible garden the raised bed is located on the right along the wall covered in ivy.

Natural wood raised bed.png

Not as tall or wide as the raised bed at the Bayless garden this one shows that they can be made at different heights and sizes to accommodate gardeners who have mobility issues and kids.

Red raised beds growing vegetables.png

These raised beds are part of the demonstration garden at the Garfield Park Conservatory. I really like that they are painted red and look to me moveable around the garden. The photo on the left is from May ’09 and the photo on the right is from July ’09.

Usually raised beds are created from wood but a neighbor of mine has a border around her garden of raised beds created from cinder blocks that were painted red.

Cinder block raised bed.png

Possibly the sorriest raised bed I’ve ever seen. Two marigolds seem to have reseeded and persevere on second tier of the raised bed even as it crumbles from neglect.

Crumbling raised bed.png

Here’s a video that demonstrates just how easy it is to build raised beds in your garden.

Examples of raised beds from other Chicago gardeners in the Flickr pool can be found here and here.


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  • You can also make eminently moveable raised beds with plastic storage bins if you're not good with a hammer and wood. Drill holes in the bottom for drainage, and it's a good idea to place them up on wooden pallets for air flow.

  • In reply to naxn:

    Hey Xan,

    That's a really good idea. Thanks for sharing it.

  • That first photo rocks! I have my containers and pots on wooden pallets, being on a rooftop they not only provide airflow but relief from the hot tar.

  • In reply to OhioMom:


    Another excellent tip. Thanks for sharing it.

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