Raised beds are not only trendy, they also strengthen your back when it comes to cultivation, care and harvest. Typically, the raised bed frame is made of wood. Another variant is a raised bed made of stone.
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Stone raised bed
While a raised bed made of stone will cost more and be more difficult to work with than one made of wood , a stone raised bed also offers many advantages:
- lasts for decades
- warms up more slowly
- retains heat longer
- inner layers rot slower
- Permanent planting with perennial shrubs or small fruit trees possible
There is a wide range of stones to choose from for raised beds. There are also a wide variety of options when it comes to shape, so you can choose a bed depending on the design of your garden. It is important that the bricks are insensitive to cold and moisture, so that no damage is caused to the brick bed by penetrating moisture during frost. This is why brick, for example, is not ideal for building a stone raised bed.
Among the variety of materials, the following stones have proven themselves:
- concrete bricks
- crystalline marble
Which material you use ultimately depends on your craftsmanship. When working with mortar, evenly shaped stones are easier to pull up into a wall than irregularly shaped ones. With natural stones, the edges are often not regular, but they are well adapted to the local weather and also offer many animals a shelter. For example, concrete bricks or clinker bricks are suitable for dimensionally accurate wall construction.
tools and other materials
In addition to stones, you will need the following to build a stone raised bed:
- Floor grid (e.g. rabbit wire) to protect against vermin and rodents
- pond liner
- metal poles or poles
- Rubber hammer
- marking chalk
- Angle cutter or stone cutting table
- Mason Hammer
- if necessary mortar and mortar trowel
For the foundation, if it is not a concrete foundation, you will need the following:
- Shovel for excavation
- crushed stone or gravel
- vibratory plate (to compact the soil)
In contrast to a raised bed made of wood, a foundation is essential for a brick bed. Because without a solid base, displacements that have a negative effect on the structure and stability of the raised bed are inevitable due to the weight. However, a gravel foundation is sufficient, concrete is not necessary. Also, you can use an inexpensive gravel variety since you won’t see the gravel.
How much gravel you need for the foundation depends on the size of the bed. The general formula for material calculation is:
Material requirement in kilograms (kg) = length in meters (m) x width in meters (m) x height in meters (m) x bulk density in kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m3)
Instructions for building the foundation:
- Dig an area the size of the bed
- Depth 20 to 40 centimeters
- Walls to floor at an angle of 90 degrees if possible
- fill with crushed stone or gravel
- compact with vibrating plate
- if necessary, repeat the process
- create a leveling layer of sand about ten centimeters thick
Now you can start building the wall on this level surface.
If you didn’t mark out the area for the raised bed before you started digging, you should now anchor the metal rods in the ground and connect them with the guide line at the height of the first row of stones.
Since the first row of stones (stone layer) is crucial for the stability of the raised bed, you should work particularly carefully here:
- Place stones in the leveling layer with a rubber mallet
- Use guidelines for orientation
- Place stones absolutely horizontal
- continuous control with the spirit level required
- after completion check horizontal stones also diagonally
When all the stones are perfectly level, you can spread the mortar over them with a trowel. Make sure you use enough mortar, because the first row of stones must be absolutely tight. After all, it bears the entire weight of the raised bed. Once the mortar has dried and set, you can tackle the second layer of stone.
Since the second row of stones is placed offset to the first, you start with half stones at a time. To cut in half, use marking chalk to mark where to cut. Then cut the stones in half with a large angle grinder. You can rework the stone halves with a mason’s hammer to give the cut edges an attractive appearance. Now you can place the second layer of stone or raise the wall to the desired height, always offset.
When raising a dry wall, proceed as with the mortared wall, but here the stones are set without mortar. The rows of stones should also be shifted in this variant, as this form of wall construction is more stable.
Lining the raised bed protects
- on the ground from the intrusion of uninvited guests
- the inside of the walls from moisture
For protection “from below”, lay the rabbit wire over the entire floor area and fix it with gravel or mortar. For moisture protection, follow the instructions below:
- Cut the pond or dimpled liner to the inside dimensions of the walls
- Line the inside of the raised bed with it
- pull something over the edge
- fix with mortar and another layer of stone or another wall finish
Once the mortar has completely dried, you can fill the raised bed. If there is a risk of rain during the dry season, you should protect the bed from the moisture.