Growing a Thriving Herb Garden in Raised Beds

Fresh herbs are a wonderful addition to home cooking, providing fragrant flavor and visual appeal While it’s possible to grow a few herbs in pots on a sunny windowsill, you’ll get a much larger harvest with a dedicated herb garden outside Using raised garden beds provides the ideal growing environment for a variety of culinary herbs. Keep reading to learn why raised beds are perfect for herbs and how to design, build and plant your own bountiful raised herb garden.

Benefits of Raised Beds for Growing Herbs

There are several key advantages to planting an herb garden in elevated garden beds compared to traditional in-ground plots

  • Better air flow and drainage—Loose, friable soil in raised beds keeps water from sitting there, which herbs don’t like. Good airflow around roots promotes growth.

  • Easier access – Working in raised beds means no stooping or kneeling on hard ground. Comfort is increased, especially with taller designs.

  • Better soil—To avoid the problems that come with native soil, you can fill raised beds with the best potting mix for herbs.

  • Higher yields – The loose soil, drainage and ability to densely plant means you’ll harvest more herbs per square foot.

  • Pest protection – Depth and raised sides limit burrowing pests like gophers from invading the beds.

  • Weed prevention – Off the ground, surrounding weeds aren’t as prone to infiltrate the beds, reducing maintenance.

  • Microclimate control – Angled design and soil elevation warms soil faster in spring for early growth.

  • Decorative appeal – Attractive raised beds lend decorative visual interest as part of the landscape,

Design Considerations for Raised Herb Gardens

Here are some factors to think about when planning a raised bed layout for herbs:

Sunlight – Most culinary herbs need at least 6 hours of full sun daily for the best growth and flavor production. Choose an open site with southern exposure.

Shape – Rectangular or square beds are common, but you can get creative with curved, circular or geometric patterns.

Size – Plan for at least 1 square foot per herb plant to leave room for growth. Beds 4 feet wide maximum allow easy access.

Height – Standard depth is 6 to 12 inches. Taller beds up to waist height reduce bending for those with mobility issues.

Material – Wood, stone, brick or galvanized metal are popular options. Metal is the most durable.

Style – Choose decorative raised beds that complement your landscape style and architecture.

Ideal Materials for Constructing Raised Herb Beds

There are several good material choices for long-lasting, attractive raised garden beds to grow herbs:

  • Cedar wood – Naturally rot-resistant softwood that weathers to silvery gray. Provides good drainage.

  • Redwood – More expensive but exceptionally durable hardwood perfect for herb beds. Stains well.

  • Landscape ties – Budget-friendly logs of pine, fir or cedar lashed together in stacked rows.

  • Composite – Wood/plastic or wood/concrete mix resists rotting and splitting better than raw wood.

  • Brick or stone – Attractive masonry with good drainage for a traditional cottage look.

  • Galvanized steel – Powder-coated metal withstands weather with no decomposition over time.

  • Concrete – Poured beds or block kits provide structure but slower drainage. Liners recommended.

The right raised bed material comes down to budget, aesthetics and longevity. Well-built wood or metal lasts for years in outdoor conditions.

Simple Techniques for DIY Herb Garden Beds

If you’re handy, it’s not difficult to construct elevated herb garden beds from scratch. Here are some basic approaches:

  • Stack sturdy landscape ties in a row up to three high, spiking corners together.

  • Make a basic four-sided wood frame from cedar or redwood. Optionally line with landscape fabric.

  • Form block walls one or two courses high with old bricks or retaining wall blocks. Use mortar for stability if needed.

  • Cut and arrange galvanized steel sheets to size, using overlapped corners and metal screws to connect.

  • Set poured concrete forms and fill with fresh quick-drying concrete for permanent beds.

Having the right tools for measuring, cutting, leveling and fastening materials makes DIY raised bed construction much easier.

Purchasing Pre-Made Raised Garden Beds

For fast, easy garden installation without complex building, shop for pre-made raised beds. Many attractive, well-crafted options are available:

  • Cedar boxes with curved beds attached to straight back wall sections. These kit systems connect together in different shapes.

  • Stone-look resin beds molded as interlocking blocks, simulated brick walls or cut stone patterns. Lightweight for easy setup.

  • Redwood or cedar lumber frames with decorative tops, bottom edging, optional benches and accessories.

  • Metal beds with panels in black, green, blue and other colors that click together into shapes from rectangles to octagons.

  • Concrete block kits with patented connectors and/or textured faces for a natural stone look without heavy lifting.

There are even complete raised garden bed kits with frames, soil, liner, hardware and plants included in one package. Kits are the simplest way to install an instant herb garden with no construction necessary.

Best Practices for Soil Fill in Raised Herb Beds

Great soil is key to growing thriving herbs in raised beds. Follow these tips:

  • Select a high-quality commercial organic potting mix instead of native soil which tends to compact.

  • Incorporate compost and well-aged manure for moisture retention and slow-release fertilization.

  • Mix in horticultural sand or perlite if the base soil feels heavy or dense to improve drainage.

  • Test pH and amend with lime if too acidic or sulfur if too alkaline. Most herbs prefer a near neutral pH around 6.5 to 7.

  • Fill beds halfway, water well to settle soil, then top off beds to 1-2 inches below the rim.

  • After planting, apply 2-3 inches of organic mulch like shredded leaves or pine straw. Replenish annually.

Quality potting soil will provide herbs with good aeration and moisture retention in raised beds.

10 Popular Herbs Well-Suited to Growing in Raised Beds

Here are some top herb varieties that do well in raised garden beds:

Basil – This classic Italian herb for pesto and tomato sauces thrives in warm, well-drained soil. Pinch flowers regularly so the plant keeps producing flavorful leaves. Many interesting basil types like lemon, Thai and lettuce leaf.

Chives – These pretty purple flowers and onion-flavored leaves self-seed readily. Chives are also easy to propagate by dividing clumps. Cut leaves frequently to encourage regrowth.

Cilantro – Loved in Mexican cuisine, cilantro grows fast in cool weather but bolts with summer heat. Make successive sowings for continual harvest.

Dill – Another cooling herb, dill pairs perfectly with fish, seafood, potatoes and tomatoes. Both leaves and seeds are used. Taller variety may need trellising.

Mint – Available in refreshing types like peppermint, spearmint and pineapple, mint can be aggressive so plant in bottomless containers to limit spreading roots.

Oregano – An essential component of Italian dishes, oregano thrives in hot, dry conditions perfect for raised beds. Snip leaves before flowers open for fullest flavor.

Parsley – Curly leaf parsley dresses up dishes with its bright green color and pairs well with many foods. Flat leaf Italian parsley offers an earthier flavor.

Rosemary – An aromatic woody herb, rosemary prefers light soil and doesn’t like wet feet. Upright varieties are good for ornamental edging.

Sage – Silvery leaves lend flavor to stuffing, sausage and more. Pretty blue or purple flowers bloom in spring. Give plenty of room for the shrubby plants to grow.

Thyme – This hardy, low-growing herb has multiple culinary uses. Lemon thyme offers both good flavor and pretty foliage.

Caring for Herbs Growing in Raised Garden Beds

A Raised bed environment supports healthy herb growth, but smart ongoing care is still needed:

  • Water beds regularly to keep soil evenly moist but not soggy. mulch helps retain moisture.

  • Feed herbs monthly with water-soluble fertilizer or compost/manure tea for constant growth and flavor.

  • Prune mature herbs like rosemary and sage in spring to remove dead wood and shape plants.

  • Harvest often by pinching leaves and tender new growth. More frequent cutting = higher yield.

  • Weed regularly as herbs don’t compete well. Apply fresh mulch after weeding to suppress new weeds.

  • In very hot, dry climates provide partial shade with shade cloth to prevent stress and bolting.

A properly filled, planted and cared for raised bed provides ideal conditions for bountiful harvests of homegrown herbs.

Creative Add-Ons and Accessories for Raised Herb Gardens

Accessorize your raised herb beds to add functionality and visual appeal:

Attached Trellises – Help vining herbs like mint climb vertically with trellis panels attached to the bed frame.

Wheels – Add mobility to beds by installing caster wheels on one side to move for maintenance or climate moderation.

Decorative Trim – Dress up plain wood box edges with lattice panels, carved legs or finial posts for extra charm.

Plant Markers – Identify herbs with cute markers. Painted rocks, metal tags and chalkboard signs are pretty options.

Bench Seats – Affix wood or metal bench tops to beds for comfortable herb gardening without kneeling. Great height for harvesting too.

Drip Irrigation – Reduce watering labor with easy-to-install drip line kits on a timer for consistent soil moisture.

Protective Cover – Install hinged clear plastic covers to shield beds from heavy rain, hail or insect pests.

Creative Design Inspiration for Herb Garden Beds

Want to elevate your herb bed from basic to beautiful? Here are some fun design ideas to try:

  • Group matching beds in geometric shapes for an artful look.

  • Edge beds with low ornamental hedges or flowering plants to visually define space.

  • Arrange beds near entertaining areas for easy garnish and ingredient harvesting.

  • Alternate beds with masonry or stone pathways for old world charm.

  • Mimic potted topiaries with shaped woody herbs like rosemary or curry plant.

  • Include blooming herbs like lavender and borage for added garden color.

  • Install arbors or obelisks festooned with vining herbs.

  • Pair herbs with vegetables like tomatoes or carrots for a gourmet pairing.

With a thoughtful layout and accents, a utilitarian herb bed becomes a true garden showpiece.

Enjoy an Abundant Raised Bed Herb Garden

Maximize your enjoyment of homegrown herbs this season by planting a dedicated culinary garden in well-designed raised beds. Choose durable construction materials that complement your landscape aesthetic. Fill beds with rich, friable potting mix. Include your favorite herbs you love to cook with so you can harvest garden-fresh leaves at their peak of flavor. Maintain your herb beds properly and they’ll keep flourishing for years of bountiful harvests.

Planting a Kitchen Herb Garden In A Raised Bed


Do herbs do well in raised beds?

Do herbs do well in raised beds? The quick answer is yes; most herbs will do well in raised beds. Many herbs have a relatively shallow root system and are small to medium in size. Generally, a rectangular raised bed with good drainage is the best for growing herbs.

How deep should a raised herb garden be?

A depth of 8 – 12 inches will suffice for most gardening situations. Because of the excellent drainage properties of raised beds, it is possible to grow an abundance of vegetables in a limited amount of space.

What is the best material for a raised herb garden?

Untreated wood: Cedar and redwood are popular choices because they naturally resist rot and insects, and they do not need chemical treatments that could potentially harm your plants. Composite wood: This is a type of wood made from recycled materials like sawdust and plastic bags.

Can herbs grow in raised garden beds?

Herbs can do exceptionally well in raised garden beds because raised beds provide good drainage, improved soil quality, and better control over the growing environment, which can be ideal for growing herbs.

How do I get my raised herb garden ready to go?

Use this simple guide to get your raised herb garden ready to go. First, you need to work out where in your garden you want your raised bed to be. Make sure to consider whether you need to access all four sides, and where your bed will catch the sun – ideally for six hours or more a day. Create the walls of your raised bed by pre-cutting sleepers.

Can a raised bed herb garden elevate your cooking?

A raised bed herb garden can elevate your cooking. We talk about raised garden beds a lot here at Epic Gardening, and for good reason! The best feature of a raised garden bed is that the soil level is elevated above the ground. This allows for more accessible gardening since you won’t have to crouch down just to reach your plants.

Why should you grow your own herb garden in a raised bed?

It empowers you to take control of your culinary experiences, connect with nature, and embrace the delightful aromas and tastes that only freshly picked herbs can offer. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your favorite herb seeds or seedlings, and embark on the fulfilling adventure of growing your own herb garden in a raised bed.

Leave a Comment