How to Build Raised Garden Beds with Breeze Blocks

Raised garden beds are a great way to grow flowers, herbs, vegetables, and other plants. They allow you to control the soil quality, drainage, and height of your garden bed for easier planting and maintenance.

Breeze blocks, also called concrete blocks, make an inexpensive and sturdy material for constructing raised bed walls. This practical DIY project can be completed in a weekend.

In this article, we’ll look at:

  • The benefits of using breeze blocks for raised beds
  • Step-by-step instructions for building your own
  • Tips for filling, planting, and caring for your new raised bed

So read on to learn how quick and easy it is to build beautiful raised garden beds with breeze blocks!

Why Use Breeze Blocks for Raised Beds?

Here are some of the key advantages of using concrete breeze blocks for your DIY raised garden bed project:

  • Inexpensive – Breeze blocks are very budget-friendly compared to materials like brick, natural stone, or redwood.
  • Durable – Properly constructed, breeze block walls can last for decades with minimal upkeep. They stand up well to weather and garden conditions.
  • Design flexibility – Breeze blocks don’t require mortar, so it’s easy to expand or rearrange your design later as desired.
  • Good height – Standard 440mm long blocks offer an ideal height of around 300mm for raised beds when laid on their side. This reduces back strain for planting and tending the bed.
  • Improve drainage – Elevating the soil improves drainage and prevents overly wet conditions at the roots.
  • Weed prevention – Raising your garden above ground makes it easier to prevent weeds from surrounding areas.
  • Warms soil faster – The raised position, drainage, and thermal mass of concrete help the soil warm up earlier for an extended growing season.

Shopping List for Materials

To build a basic 4ft x 8ft breeze block raised bed, you’ll need:

  • 16-20 breeze blocks (440mm x 215mm x 100mm)
  • 1-2 bags sand and cement for mortar
  • 1-2 yards quality garden soil blend
  • Landscape fabric for weed barrier
  • Spade, shovel, trowel for digging
  • Spirit level, rubber mallet, line marking spray
  • Wheelbarrow for moving soil

It’s also useful to rent a cement mixer and plate compactor to make the job easier. Pick up a couple extra breeze blocks to allow some flexibility in laying your design.

Choosing the Location

When selecting where to install your new raised bed, consider:

  • Sunlight – Most plants need at least 6 hours of direct sun daily. Pick a sunny spot.
  • Soil quality – Avoid overly compacted or wet soil if possible. Raised beds help improve poor soil but don’t fully mitigate issues.
  • Accessibility – Ensure you can easily reach all areas of the bed for planting, weeding, and harvesting.
  • Proximity to water – Having a nearby hose or spigot makes watering easier. Plan this into your layout.
  • Flat terrain – Avoid steep slopes which could lead to erosion around the raised bed over time.

Take time to pick the optimal garden location before gathering materials and starting work.

Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Breeze Block Raised Bed

Follow these simple steps to create your own beautiful breeze block raised garden bed:

Clear and Level the Area

Remove any grass or weeds from the footprint of the raised bed using a spade, herbicide, or thick layers of cardboard/mulch.

Dig down at least 15cm and turn over the soil with a spade. Break up any hard packed areas. Level the site as best you can.

Optional: Till 2-3 inches of compost into the native soil beneath the bed.

Add & Compact Hardcore

Spread an 8cm deep layer of MOT Type 1 hardcore over the cleared area. Use a hired plate compactor to flatten and compact the hardcore thoroughly. This stabilizes the base.

Mark Out the Bed Shape

Lay out the full dimensions of your raised bed with landscaping paint or flour. Mark straight lines by running string between two stakes. For curves, anchor string to a center pole.

Lay the First Course of Blocks

Set the first layer of breeze blocks around the perimeter of your marked bed, using a 5cm mortar bed. Place blocks on their side for height. Use a level to ensure they are even.

Build up the Walls

Continue setting additional courses of breeze blocks in stretcher bond pattern, staggering the joints. Check levels regularly. Cut blocks as needed to size using a bolster chisel and mallet.

Cap the Walls

Finish the top of the breeze block walls smoothly using offcuts or capstones. This gives a neat finished appearance to your raised bed.

Install Interior Weed Barrier

Line the base inside the bed walls with landscape fabric before filling with soil. This prevents weeds from below pushing up into your garden bed.

Fill Raised Bed with Soil

Shovel in high quality soil blend. Mound it up to account for settling. Mix in compost or dry organic fertilizer as you fill. A 4x8ft bed needs about 1-2 cubic yards of soil.

Plant, Mulch & Enjoy!

Your raised bed is ready for planting. Be sure to water new plants while they establish. Spread 2-3 inches of mulch on top of the soil to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

Tips for Filling, Planting, and Maintaining a Breeze Block Raised Bed

Here are some useful care tips for your new raised garden:

  • Add compost and organic fertilizer to replenish nutrients in soil yearly
  • Use 2-3 inches of mulch to reduce watering needs and keep weeds down
  • Install drip irrigation or soaker hoses to efficiently water your garden
  • Practice crop rotation from season to season to prevent disease and pest issues
  • Control bugs and diseases organically using Neem oil, insecticidal soap, etc
  • Check edges of bed walls each Spring and repair any shifted blocks
  • Top off soil level every 1-2 years as it settles over time

With proper installation, filling, and care your breeze block raised bed will provide many years of productive and beautiful gardening!

More Tips for Raised Bed Gardening Success

Raised beds are a great option for new gardeners or those dealing with poor native soil. Follow this advice to ensure success with your first raised bed project:

  • Start small – Build just one or two compact raised beds your first year. Don’t overdo it too quickly.
  • Focus on just a couple crops – Master tomatoes, leafy greens, peppers or herbs before expanding your plant variety.
  • Use quality soil – Purchase a premium organic blend don’t amend garden soil. Good soil is critical.
  • Follow a planting plan – Map out what you want to grow before buying too many seeds or plants.
  • Use transplants – Starting from seed can be challenging for beginners. Purchase some starter plants.
  • Water consistently – New gardens need about 1″ of water weekly, adjusting for rainfall. Don’t let soil dry out.
  • Control pests – Cover seedlings with row cover fabric. Quickly treat any pest/disease issues.
  • Build up soil – Mix in compost and organic fertilizer each season to nourish plants in raised beds.

Start small, focus on good soil, and don’t overplant too many varieties your first year. Gardening is a fun learning experience, so enjoy the process!

Ready to Build Your Breeze Block Raised Beds?

As you can see, constructing DIY raised beds with concrete breeze blocks is straightforward project for the novice DIYer. The basic steps include:

  • Leveling and preparing the site
  • Laying blocks in your planned design
  • Filling with high quality soil blend
  • Planting choices suited to raised beds
  • Mulching and caring for your new garden

The end result is a practical, durable, and cost-effective raised bed that will provide enjoyment for years to come. The simple cinder block design can be adapted to fit whatever space you have available.

So don’t let a lack of gardening space hold you back! Follow this guide to build your own beautiful breeze block raised beds this weekend. Then start planting your fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers to enjoy the benefits and rewards of raised bed gardening!

Leave a Comment