Using Bricks to Build a Stunning Yet Functional Raised Garden Bed

As an avid gardener, I’m always looking for ways to expand my planting area and experiment with new garden bed designs. Recently, I’ve become fascinated with the idea of using bricks to construct beautiful and sturdy raised garden beds Bricks provide such an elegant, classic look that pairs nicely with plants and immediately ups the visual interest of any yard

This detailed guide will teach you everything I know about finding bricks, planning the design, and building a great raised bed out of these classic building blocks. Find out why building raised beds out of bricks is a great gardening project and how to do it below.

Why Make a Brick Raised Garden Bed?

Building a raised garden bed out of brick is a great idea for many reasons, such as:

  • Durability – Bricks are extremely sturdy and long-lasting, able to withstand decades of exposure to sun, rain, and frost Wood and metal beds degrade relatively quickly by comparison

  • Appearance – The classic, elegant look of brick gives beds visual presence and acts as a focal point in the garden. Bricks come in endless colors, patterns, and textures too.

  • Availability – New and used bricks are widely available at masonry suppliers and home improvement stores, making them an accessible material.

  • Drainage – The small gaps between bricks provide drainage to prevent overly wet soil, unlike solid wood beds.

  • Avoiding Weeds: Using bricks instead of planting directly in the ground stops weeds from growing from the ground up.

  • Height Options – Beds can be shallow or multiple bricks high to suit the plants’ needs.

  • Layout Flexibility – Build straight, curved, or custom brick beds to maximize space.

In short, brick raised beds provide a sturdy yet beautiful planting structure that will serve your garden for many years to come!

Choosing Bricks for Your Raised Garden Bed

Once you’ve decided to construct a brick raised bed, the first step is sourcing the right bricks. Here are the factors to consider:

Type of Brick

  • Clay – Most common option that provides a classic look. Choose solid, non-porous ones to avoid moisture damage.

  • Concrete – Very durable and available in endless colors and textures but pricier. Ensure they are safe for gardening.

  • Used – Salvaged bricks add character but inspect carefully for damage or toxic residues.

  • New – Guaranteed quality but higher cost. Often more uniform in size for easier building.

Brick Size

Standard sizes include:

  • Modular – 2 1⁄4” x 3 5⁄8” x 7 5⁄8”
  • Engineer – 2 1⁄2” x 3 3⁄4” x 8”
  • Closure – 3 1⁄2” x 2 1⁄4” x 7 5⁄8”
  • Utility – 3 5⁄8” x 3 5⁄8” x 11 5⁄8”
  • Jumbo – 4” x 4″ x 12”

Measure your design area and opt for the size that results in the least cutting. Jumbo and utility bricks are best for larger beds.


  • Smooth – Provides a clean, uniform look that’s easy to wipe down. Can be slippery when wet.

  • Tumbled – Has an antique aged appearance and natural hand-feel but still structurally sound.

  • Rough – Offers good grip but can snag clothing. Requires sealing.


Choose a classic red or experiment with gray, brown, gold, blue, and more! Contrast or complement your plants and existing hardscape.

Designing Your Brick Raised Bed

Once you’ve selected materials, it’s time for the fun part – planning the design! Consider the following:

  • Layout – Linear, square, curved, circular, or custom. Map it out on grid paper first.

  • Dimensions – Typically 2 to 4 feet wide and at least 12 inches high. Scale up for larger plants.

  • Soil Volume – Ensure adequate cubic footage for roots based on plants chosen.

  • Site Conditions – Sunlight, drainage, proximity to water source and pathways.

  • Access – Include openings to reach the bed interior and steps if very tall.

  • Bed Number – Start with 1 or 2 beds, expanding later by adding on modular units.

Take photos of your yard and sketch possible shapes and placements. Having a solid plan will make building much smoother.

Gathering Materials and Tools

Constructing a brick raised bed is relatively simple but does require some specific materials and tools:


  • New or used solid clay or concrete bricks, enough for the bed size

  • Consider extras for a double-brick thick wall

Base Materials

  • Gravel, sand, or paver base to stabilize the first brick row

  • Landscape fabric to line bottom, preventing soil washout

Mortar or Adhesive

  • Masonry cement, mortar, or brick adhesive to bond layers

  • Avoid toxic commercial brands if growing edibles


  • Quality raised bed mix, organic compost, etc. to fill interior

  • Calculate cubic feet needed based on bed dimensions


  • Trowel, shovel, gloves for digging base and moving soil

  • Brick hammer for adjustments

  • Line level, stakes, tape measure for layout

  • Wheelbarrow for transporting materials

  • Masonry chisel for cutting bricks if needed

The right materials and tools will make constructing your brick raised bed smooth and efficient. Prepare them ahead of time based on your plan.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Building a Brick Raised Bed

Once your design is finalized and materials gathered, it’s time to start building! Follow these steps:

1. Mark the Layout

  • Stake out the shape using string tied to corner posts.

  • Use a tape measure to ensure it matches plans.

  • Mark the outline or use spray paint if installing on grass or dirt.

2. Excavate and Add Base

  • Dig down 4-6 inches and remove grass or weeds inside the outline.

  • Add a 1-2 inch layer of gravel, sand, or paver base and pack down.

3. Install Landscape Fabric Barrier

  • Line the excavated area with landscape fabric to prevent soil washout.

  • Overlap seams at least 6 inches.

4. Dry Fit First Row of Bricks

  • Place the first row of bricks around the perimeter to test the fit.

  • Use builders line level to confirm they are even.

  • Adjust base material as needed to stabilize.

5. Mortar the First Row in Place

  • Apply mortar or adhesive to the base and underside of bricks.

  • Fit first row in place, using line level to verify evenness.

6. Complete Additional Rows

  • Apply mortar and stack additional rows, checking level frequently.

  • Build up desired height, allowing mortar to cure between rows.

  • Consider thicker double-brick walls for taller beds over 18 inches high.

7. Backfill with Soil

  • Shovel raised bed soil mix into the interior.

  • Water periodically while slowly backfilling to help settle.

  • Top off as needed, leaving 1-2 inches from rim.

8. Finish Exterior Details

  • Wipe away any excess mortar drips or spills.

  • Seal any gaps between bricks with additional mortar if desired.

  • Paint, stain, or seal the bricks for added protection.

And that’s it – your gorgeous new brick raised bed is ready for planting! Just add your favorite flowers, veggies, or herbs.

Tips for Installing Brick Raised Beds on a Slope

For beds positioned on a hillside or slope, use the following tips for a secure build:

  • Dig a flat platform into the slope to create a level base.

  • Use diagonal stake rows when laying out the shape to follow the slope contour.

  • Build retaining walls around the downhill section using large pavers or timbers.

  • Insert rebar rods into holes in the brick to anchor beds on steep slopes if needed.

  • Add more mortar between rows to prevent sliding.

With proper planning and preparation, you can install handsome brick raised beds even in tricky sloped locations!

Enjoying and Maintaining a Brick Raised Garden Bed

Your hard work has paid off – time to reap the rewards and care for your new bed:

  • Boost soil nutrition annually with compost to keep plants thriving.

  • Hand pick weeds versus hoeing to avoid damaging brick mortar.

  • Reapply brick sealer every few years to protect from weathering.

  • Inspect mortar for cracks or damage and repair as needed.

  • Avoid piling mulch, soil, or compost directly against brick.

  • Drain and cover beds in winter climates to prevent freeze-thaw damage.

With routine care, a quality brick raised bed should provide many years of successful gardening!

Inspiring Brick Raised Garden Bed Ideas

If you need a little design inspiration before getting started, here are some gorgeous ways to incorporate brick into raised garden beds:

Contrasting Brick Patterns

Use two alternating brick types, colors, or layouts (herringbone, basketweave) for visual interest.

Classical Brick Wall Beds

Tall multi-tiered beds with brick sides look elegant and stately flanking a path or home.

Brick Accent Stripes

Jazz up wooden beds by adding vertical brick columns on corners or edges.

Brick and Stone Combinations

Blend bricks with natural stone accents for eclectic beds with rustic appeal.

Brick Planter Boxes

Build stunning brick planter boxes with drainage holes and fill with blooming annuals.

Curved and Circular Beds

Shaped beds wrapped in brick add fluid lines and a focal point to the yard.

Elevated Brick Beds

Raise beds up on brick columns or short walls for a decorative look and drainage.

The design possibilities with brick raised beds are nearly endless – unleash your imagination!

Frequently Asked Questions about Brick Raised Garden Beds

Here are answers to some common brick raised bed questions:

What is the best type of brick for raised garden beds?

Clay bricks are the top choice for durability, appearance, and availability. Avoid soft, porous, or spalling bricks prone to moisture damage.

How deep should a brick raised bed be?

About 12-18 inches deep accommodates most plant roots. For deeper roots go up to 24 inches. The more soil, the better!

What can damage a brick raised garden bed?

Freezing weather, acidic soil, erosion, weed growth in mortar cracks, and chipping from shovels or hoes require occasional repairs. Avoid piling mulch or soil against the bricks.

How long do brick raised garden beds last?

A properly constructed brick raised bed will realistically last 20-30 years or more before needing rebuilt. Ensure mortar and bricks are in good condition.

Can bricks leach anything harmful into garden soil?

New, unpainted clay or concrete bricks suitable for edible gardens should not transfer any toxic substances as long as contaminants weren’t introduced previously. Avoid old industrial, chimney, or salvaged bricks with unknown origins or coatings to be safe.

How do I level the base for brick raised beds?

Remove grass or weeds then dig down 4-6 inches where the bed will sit. Fill with gravel, sand, or paver base, packing it down. Adjust until flat and even using a line level and mason’s hammer to fine tune.

Unleash Your Creativity with Brick Raised Beds

I hope these tips have gotten your creative juices flowing for envisioning and constructing your own incredible brick raised beds! Remember to source high-quality bricks, plan smart designs tailored to your space, and take time to properly prepare the base and install materials. The end result will add beauty, functionality, and years of pleasure to your gardening.

How to make a brick raised garden planter

Leave a Comment