U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Garden
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 02-17-2017, 10:27 AM
 
Location: Virginia
1,415 posts, read 546,763 times
Reputation: 4118

Advertisements

I think you have a good idea and may try it in my yard (and I live in Virginia, btw.) For the "prettiness" factor, I would paint the outside of the blocks with an attractive shade of exterior latex paint which will "breathe" and not hold moisture inside the blocks. I'm not planning on moving my beds, and don't want to till or have someone else till up the ground, so this approach would work well for me. Thanks for posting!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 02-17-2017, 11:36 AM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
4,534 posts, read 8,696,045 times
Reputation: 3226
The whole original idea of Raised Bed gardens is to make sure the soil warms up faster than the surrounding soil on level ground.
So make sure you fill the spaces, since air is an insulator and the soil will not warm up fast enough !


Instead of good clean soil, you could try filling the beds with straw ?
If you want to try this, then make sure you do not release the bands which hold the straw together and make sure you locate the bundles the right way ...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-17-2017, 11:48 AM
 
9,268 posts, read 14,728,101 times
Reputation: 4079
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickaida View Post
Thanks for the replies everyone. A couple of questions were raised. I live in New Mexico. Don't get much rain and nothing but sagebrush grows in the soil I have. The raised beds will be part of the backyard landscaping so I need them to look nice and be somewhat permanent yet flexible. I would love to eliminate some of the work. I have a tendency to overplan and overdo everything.
I don't know how stable dry-stacking the blocks will be. The concrete was only going into a few of the holes in the lower blocks around a piece of rebar sticking up to keep them from being pushed out by the weight of the dirt. Do I not need to worry about that?
Also, as HappyRider pointed out, blocks aren't real attractive but I need to make them blend in and look nice. I was going to either paint or skim-coat with concrete or stucco material. Maybe plant something in the holes that will hang down over the blocks. Anyone ever need to make them look pretty?
Were I in New Mexico (great place btw) I would construct the raised beds out the local rocks you have there. They must be plentiful and they would certainly blend in.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-17-2017, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Deep 13
669 posts, read 443,522 times
Reputation: 2031
Don't forget that there are different types of cinder block. Some come with a more decorative side than your standard building block. Just depends on your budget and area you live in for availability,

The other option would be to use retaining wall bricks found at your local home improvement store. Depends on your budget and might be hard to make 90 degree corners.

If you already have a pile of blocks to use, this would be my suggestion:
  • Make sure all areas are fairly level.
  • Lay out each bed area with string or paint.
  • Spade over the soil inside the bed area.
  • Stack blocks as needed along outside of string line trying to overlap seams. You might need to create a half block to fit against the wall. Try to keep half blocks on the ground level.
  • Drive rebar stakes on the inside edge of any half blocks as well as in the middle of the wall and at the corners. Drive them down to about an inch below block top.
  • Fill voids of block with topsoil (or excess native soil if you plan on putting a closed top on the blocks).
  • Fill bottom 6 inches with mulch. Fill to top of block with topsoil.
  • Flowers or herbs can be planted in the block voids as a pest deterrent.
  • Sides of block can be painted (even beforehand), stuccoed (scratch coat is enough and can be tinted), or even tiled with mastic.
  • Give beds a good soaking to settle soil and estimate drainage.

Here are some visuals to help with ideas:
https://www.google.com/search?q=cind...ih=979#imgrc=_
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-17-2017, 11:58 AM
 
Location: Old Hippie Heaven
10,311 posts, read 3,807,466 times
Reputation: 4990
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickaida View Post
Thanks for the replies everyone. A couple of questions were raised. I live in New Mexico. Don't get much rain and nothing but sagebrush grows in the soil I have. The raised beds will be part of the backyard landscaping so I need them to look nice and be somewhat permanent yet flexible. I would love to eliminate some of the work. I have a tendency to overplan and overdo everything.
I don't know how stable dry-stacking the blocks will be. The concrete was only going into a few of the holes in the lower blocks around a piece of rebar sticking up to keep them from being pushed out by the weight of the dirt. Do I not need to worry about that?
Also, as HappyRider pointed out, blocks aren't real attractive but I need to make them blend in and look nice. I was going to either paint or skim-coat with concrete or stucco material. Maybe plant something in the holes that will hang down over the blocks. Anyone ever need to make them look pretty?
Depends on how high you stack them. I've dry stacked three rows high, and it was OK. And the soil here gets pretty heavy when it's wet. Still, three high always made me a bit nervous, so two high is the most I'd recommend to anyone else.

You know, you could always start with 2x12 for edging, until you're sure you've got the bed height and placement right - live with things for a couple years, then go back and do the blocks if you want. I say that because, IME, landscapes are living things, and prone to change.

Edited to add - keep in mind that any plants in the block voids will dry out very quickly - more quickly than the plants in the main part of the bed. That block just sucks moisture out of the soil.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-17-2017, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Old Hippie Heaven
10,311 posts, read 3,807,466 times
Reputation: 4990
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brucifer View Post

Here are some visuals to help with ideas:
https://www.google.com/search?q=cind...ih=979#imgrc=_
Thanks for the ideas, some of these having me thinking "hmmmmm"...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-17-2017, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
26,515 posts, read 40,904,901 times
Reputation: 13190
Our raised beds are all made of 18"x6"x6" concrete block. Our beds are mostly 8' long by 4' wide.

Under each bed I laid out a layer of old feed bags, to help control weeds from growing up through the beds.

I filled our beds with horse manure mixed with sand.

We have around 20 of these beds.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-17-2017, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Port Charlotte FL
471 posts, read 199,519 times
Reputation: 1090
OP..overkill..one course high is enough..don't make it any bigger that 4 sq. ft.. leave a 2' space between the beds to walk and work the garden..just lay them without any thing to hold them, because you might want to move things around after a bit..find a good source for worm castings and put as many as you can get in the garden..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-17-2017, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now a Rehoboth Beach Bunny
5,590 posts, read 6,997,346 times
Reputation: 4679
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickaida View Post
Thanks for the replies everyone. A couple of questions were raised. I live in New Mexico. Don't get much rain and nothing but sagebrush grows in the soil I have. The raised beds will be part of the backyard landscaping so I need them to look nice and be somewhat permanent yet flexible. I would love to eliminate some of the work. I have a tendency to overplan and overdo everything.
I don't know how stable dry-stacking the blocks will be. The concrete was only going into a few of the holes in the lower blocks around a piece of rebar sticking up to keep them from being pushed out by the weight of the dirt. Do I not need to worry about that?
Also, as HappyRider pointed out, blocks aren't real attractive but I need to make them blend in and look nice. I was going to either paint or skim-coat with concrete or stucco material. Maybe plant something in the holes that will hang down over the blocks. Anyone ever need to make them look pretty?
As a former college student with book cases made of cement blocks at school, I can tell you that if all my books didn't topple them a few plant roots will not win that battle either.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-17-2017, 04:45 PM
 
39 posts, read 8,921 times
Reputation: 48
Great ideas posted. Thanks for your input. The beds I indicated would stack 3 high are along a part of the yard that slopes away. I need to bury the bottom layer half way into the ground so the top of the beds are all level.
I've decided to not anchor the bottom level with rebar and concrete but will still stack the blocks with adhesive. Don't want to dig the beds out later if the soil pushes the top layer out. I'll also tie the blocks end to end with a tapcon so a single block can't dislodge.
Please keep the ideas coming. I'm still early in the process and there is always a better idea out there. If I can figure out how to post pictures I'll do that as I progress. Thanks again.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $99,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Garden

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2017, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 - Top