The Benefits of Low Raised Garden Beds and How to Make Your Own

Raised garden beds provide many advantages over traditional in-ground gardening. They improve drainage, reduce weed pressure, and make tending plants easier on your back. But sometimes, standard raised bed heights of 12-18 inches may be too high for those with mobility challenges or seniors. Enter the low raised garden bed. Ranging from just 3-8 inches tall, these accessible beds offer all the perks of raised bed gardening without difficult bending or kneeling.

What is a Low Raised Garden Bed?

A low raised bed is simply a garden bed that sits just a few inches above ground level. The slight elevation improves drainage while still allowing easy access. Low beds are often designed with the following features:

  • Height of 3-8 inches above ground
  • Made of rot-resistant wood, stone, or other lasting materials
  • Filled with high-quality potting soil
  • Integrated into landscape for a cohesive look
  • Accessible from all sides or ends

The modest rise provides all the benefits of a traditional raised bed in a more manageable size Low beds are ideal for those with limited mobility as well as kids and seniors

Benefits of Low Raised Garden Beds

Compared to in-ground gardening, low raised beds offer many advantages:

  • Reduced bending and kneeling for accessibility
  • Better drainage and drier soil suited for many plants
  • Easier weeding and maintenance
  • Warms up faster in spring for earlier planting
  • Extends season longer into fall due to warmth
  • Keeps pathway between beds clean of mud
  • Defined look for an organized garden
  • Can be matched to hardscapes in design

Just a slight elevation yields big rewards for your garden!

Best Plants for Low Raised Beds

Many types of plants thrive in the improved soil and drainage of low raised beds. Consider growing:

  • Leafy greens – Lettuces, spinach, kale, chard
  • Herbs – Parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary
  • Radishes, carrots, beets, turnips
  • Strawberries, blueberries
  • Flowers – Marigolds, zinnias, cosmos
  • Shallow-rooted perennials – Dianthus, asters, sedum

Focus on plants that don’t require deep root space like tomatoes or squash. Shallow and compact varieties work best.

How to Build a Low Raised Garden Bed

Constructing your own low raised bed is an easy weekend project Follow these steps

Choose a Sunny, Level Location

Select a site that receives at least 6 hours of direct sun daily. Check that the ground is flat or gently sloped.

Decide on Dimensions

Standard widths are 2-4 feet across. Length can vary from 4-10 feet. Keep beds narrow enough to easily reach the center.

Build Side Walls

Use rot-resistant wood like cedar or redwood, stone, bricks, blocks, or metals. Avoid treated lumber.

Add Bottom (Optional)

Line inside of bed with hardware cloth to keep out burrowing pests. Top with weed barrier fabric.

Install Bed

Level the soil surface. Set bed in place and backfill gaps with soil. Make sure it’s stable.

Fill With Potting Mix

Use a quality organic mix amended with compost. Check drainage by watering thoroughly.

Add Plants!

You can either sow seeds directly or transplant seedlings. Add vertical supports as needed.

Finish With Mulch

Top off beds with 2-3 inches of organic mulch like wood chips to retain moisture.

Low Raised Bed Ideas and Inspirations

Here are some great examples of accessible low raised bed designs:

1. Classic Wooden Bed

A stylish raised bed that is only 5 inches off the ground is made from rot-proof cedar boards that are joined together with galvanized corners. It’s filled with pollinator-friendly flowers.

2. Matching Hardscapes

These narrow stone raised beds coordinate perfectly with the pea gravel pathways and home’s stone facade for a cohesive look.

3. Wheelchair-Accessible Gardens

Raised beds on legs bring the garden up to a comfortable height for gardening from a wheelchair, allowing for easy planting, tending and harvesting.

4. Tiered Beds

Low beds built in stair-step fashion create visual interest while remaining an ideal and manageable garden height.

5. Kids’ Garden

A simple cinder block raised bed lets kids garden at their level, encouraging hands-on learning.

6. Repurposed Dresser Bed

An antique dresser laid on its back transforms into a charming vertical garden for herbs and flowers. Just add legs to boost height.

Get creative with materials and designs, but keep accessibility and ease of care in mind. A low raised bed lets you reap a bountiful harvest with less effort.

Caring for Your Low Raised Bed

Low raised beds are easy to maintain using these tips:

  • Water beds regularly until plants are established. Then water when soil dries out.

  • Replenish mulch as needed to control weeds and retain moisture.

  • Fertilize organically with compost or fish emulsion every 4-6 weeks.

  • Remove spent plants promptly and replace with new crops for nonstop harvests.

  • Control pests like aphids by handpicking, using row covers, or spraying insecticidal soap.

  • At end of season, pull all plant debris and add fresh compost to rejuvenate soil.

With proper care, your low raised bed will provide many years of successful gardening enjoyment!

DIY Low Raised Garden Bed Plans

If building your own accessible raised bed interests you, be sure to check out these step-by-step plans for inspiration:

The right plans can help you DIY a raised bed tailored to your space and needs. Have fun designing and creating your own low raised bed gardening oasis!

How to Build Cheap, DIY Raised Garden Beds In Under 30 Minutes


How low can a raised bed be?

Six inches is the minimum height I’d recommend. The very first raised bed my family ever put together was only four inches tall, and that height just didn’t hold enough good soil we could grow in. Six inches is enough to grow lettuce greens, herbs, and plants with very shallow root structures.

How shallow can a raised garden bed be?

Luckily, there are plenty of perfect candidates. Herbs like basil, cilantro, and other low leafy greens like lettuce will grow and grow with just 6 inches of soil. A 1-foot raised bed is more than enough to accommodate a salad garden box plan. Carrots, radishes and peppers thrive with 12 inches or more.

Is it cheaper to buy or build a raised garden bed?

A homemade raised garden bed might be cheaper in the short term, but it will cost you far more time and money in the long run.

What are the best raised garden bed ideas?

The grouping of raised beds is set off by a picket fence painted green, its scalloped top contrasting with the hard angles of the beds. This is one of the most stylish raised garden bed ideas that makes the perfect addition to any modern home. Sheet metal coiled into a spiral creates a contemporary raised bed.

Where can I buy a raised garden bed?

At Lowe’s, you can buy raised garden beds, including raised wood garden beds and raised metal garden beds, or find the materials you need to build a do-it-yourself raised garden bed. We can even help you with how to build a raised planter box, so you can easily tackle a DIY raised planter box and start growing your garden today.

What is a raised garden bed?

Using raised garden beds is a popular strategy for planting a vegetable, herb, or flower garden that’s simple to install and easier to maintain than a traditional garden. Raised garden beds can be used to optimize small outdoor spaces or to structure a large backyard.

Are raised beds good for plants?

Raised beds are extremely versatile, and will accommodate a wide range of flowers, fruit and vegetable varieties. Some people use them to grow decorative flowers for indoor arrangements. Raised beds are also good for growing alpines, which like free-draining soil and a dry garden.

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