The Complete Guide to Raised Garden Beds in Phoenix, Arizona

With over 300 days of sunshine per year, Phoenix is primed for growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers outdoors. Raised garden beds are the ideal way to maximize your growing space and get higher yields in the Arizona climate.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about designing, building, and taking care of raised beds in Phoenix.

Benefits of Raised Beds in Phoenix

Raised beds provide many advantages for Phoenix area gardeners:

  • Better drainage and less compaction than in-ground beds
  • Warmer soil temperatures in early spring for faster growth
  • Keep out gophers, snakes and other desert pests
  • Extend the growing season into fall and winter
  • Easier on your back – no digging required!
  • Full control over soil quality and nutrients
  • Convenient access for gardeners with mobility issues
  • Create geometric designs and customize sizes

With raised beds, you avoid the dense, heavy clay soil throughout much of the Phoenix area. The perfectly blended soil mix in your bed will lead to healthier plants and higher yield!

Planning Your Raised Bed Garden

Follow these tips when planning your raised bed garden in Phoenix

Sun Exposure – Pick a spot getting full sun, ideally 8+ hours per day Morning sun is crucial

Size – Standard raised beds are 3×6 ft, 3×8 ft or 3×12 ft. Scale down for small yards.

Layout – Arrange beds in geometric patterns or scatter for a cottage look. Leave 30+ inch paths.

Height – Standard is 18-24 inches tall. Go taller for root crops or accessibility.

Materials – Use cedar, redwood, composite lumber, concrete block or brick. Avoid treated wood.

Water Access – Situate beds near a hose bib or install drip irrigation. Prepare for frequent watering.

Soil – Enrich garden soil with compost and organic fertilizers like worm castings.

Constructing Raised Beds

Follow these basic steps for building a raised bed:

  1. Decide on location, size, and height based on your plan.

  2. Construct the outer walls using rot-resistant wood boards or timbers. For example, use two 20 inch boards stacked if building a 40 inch high bed.

  3. Add corner posts for larger beds or horizontal framing across the top to reinforce the structure.

  4. Elevate the bed by attaching vertical wood or composite posts on the corners or outside.

  5. Line the bottom and sides with landscape fabric to prevent weeds. Hardware cloth also deters burrowing pests.

  6. Fill the bed halfway with bagged garden soil or a homemade mix (see next section for details).

  7. Mix in organic compost and dry organic fertilizers like alfalfa meal or worm castings.

  8. Fill the remainder of the way with garden soil mix and level off.

  9. Install drip irrigation, grid dividers or other accessories.

  10. Plant seeds or starters directly into the bed. Add mulch atop the soil to retain moisture.

TIP: Use naturally rot-resistant cedar or redwood, or opt for a composite material that won’t degrade in the weather. Avoid treated lumber as the chemicals can leach into your soil over time.

Best Soil Mix for Raised Beds in Phoenix

The ideal soil mix for raised garden beds in Phoenix is:

  • 1/3 compost – provides nutrients and beneficial microbes

  • 1/3 peat moss or coco coir – improves moisture retention

  • 1/3 vermiculite or perlite – creates air pockets for drainage

You can buy pre-mixed soil or make your own blend. Mix in a 2-4 inch layer of compost plus organic fertilizer at the start and each season.

Organic options like compost, manure, bone meal and alfalfa meal work perfectly for amending Phoenix raised bed soils. Worm castings are a superb choice as they release nutrients slowly.

Avoid synthetic fertilizers that can damage soil biology. Healthy microbial life is key in the desert!

Tips for Growing in Raised Beds

Here are some top tips for success with raised bed gardening in Phoenix:

  • Water frequently – established beds need about 1-2 inches per week

  • Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses to target the soil and reduce evaporation

  • Add mulch like wood chips or straw to retain moisture

  • Shade beds with covers, shade cloth or plant screens during July/August heat

  • North-South row orientation maximizes sun exposure

  • Interplant tall and short crops to optimize light and space

  • Include flowering plants to attract pollinators

  • Use trellises and vertical growing systems

  • Rotate annual crops each year to replenish nutrients

  • Cover beds in winter with cloches or cold frames to extend the growing season

With the right plan and preparation, raised beds can significantly increase the productivity of your Phoenix vegetable garden or flower beds. The improved drainage prevents many common problems that gardeners experience with native soils.

By following this guide, you’ll be on your way to growing thriving plants in raised garden beds within your Phoenix landscape.

Where to Buy Raised Garden Beds in Phoenix

Here are some top local sources for raised garden beds and supplies in Phoenix:

Arizona Worm Farm – Locally made cedar, redwood and block raised beds plus soil mixes with worm castings.

Greenie Digs – Custom redwood raised beds installed with soil mix and optional accessories.

Berridge Nursery – Wide selection of raised bed sizes from brands like Gardener’s Supply and Cedarland.

Pioneer Feed & Supply – Untreated cedar lumber along with garden soil and amendments.

Home Depot – Affordable cedar, redwood and composite raised bed kits for DIY installation.

Lowe’s – Composite and plastic raised gardens plus a full range of supplies.

IKEA – Budget-friendly modular plastic raised beds and greenhouse covers.

There are also many local Phoenix nurseries, hardware stores, and home improvement centers that stock raised bed gardening supplies each spring. Shop early as prices can rise quickly once planting season gets underway.

For the best quality and selection, visit a nursery specializing in raised beds. They often carry harder-to-find items like extras tall designs and have experts on hand to advise you.

Investing in a properly constructed raised bed and quality soil will pay dividends for many years to come with bigger harvests of vibrant, healthy fruits, vegetables and flowers!

Get Growing in Raised Beds!

Building your own raised garden bed is a satisfying spring project that will lead to seasons of bountiful homegrown goodies. Follow this Phoenix-focused guide for the full steps from planning to planting.

Be sure to enrich your soil mix with organic compost and amendments available locally. Maintain the beds with mulch, drip irrigation and shade covers in summer.

The investment in raised garden beds is well worth it for the convenience, productivity and beauty they bring to your Phoenix landscape!

How to Plant a Raised Bed Garden in Phoenix, Arizona


What is the best type of raised garden bed in Arizona?

We recommend building a raised garden with cedar or redwood since they do not rot or break down like other woods.

Is it cheaper to buy or build raised garden beds?

On average, a DIY raised bed constructed from wood will cost $25 to $50 per square foot. To have a wooden raised bed constructed and installed for you, budget for at least $100 per square foot. (Find a kitchen garden company in your area.)

What should I put at the bottom of a raised garden bed?

Best Soil for Raised Garden Beds We recommend buying high-quality, nutrient-rich soil in bulk. Or, you can make a soil mix with equal parts topsoil, organic materials (leaves, composted manure, ground bark), and coarse sand.

What are the two cons of raised beds?

The cons of raised beds Use rot-resistant wood if you go with boards and figure even those eventually will have to be replaced. The soil mix also can be a significant, albeit one-time, expense. Raised beds need water more often since the soil is more exposed to air and dries quicker.

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