Website Extra: Janet’s Journal – Give your garden a raise May 31, 2013 • Leave a CommentPhotos by Steven Nikkila For the full article on raised garden beds by Janet Macunovich, pickup a copy of the June, 2013 issue of Michigan Gardener in stores or find it in our digital edition. Most landscapes offer the possibility of building raised beds from recycled material. For example, we removed the raised beds constructed at this house as an accent edging 30 years ago. The pressure treated lumber was mostly intact. We couldn’t pull out the spikes that held it together, so we sawed it into sections intending to haul it away. We reconsidered when we learned there would be an extra charge to dispose of it since it could not be accepted at the organic waste site. In the back yard at the same house, a steeply sloping corner that ccalready begun filling the area with sod and soil cut out in other projects in the yard. The plan had been to retain this bed with straw bales now, replacing them with a fieldstone wall once funds were available. We revised that to reuse the lumber. It was a puzzle to piece together the lumber we’d pulled out of the front beds in this new space, but simple math assured us there was enough to make the missing third edge of this triangular raised bed. So now, the earth holds two sides of the bed and we’ve retained the third with a wall that should last at least five years and probably much longer. No more mowing headaches—just a deep raised bed. Mortared brick raised beds are worth considering if regular and varied pressure will affect the sides. That’s often the case at botanical gardens where many people perch there regularly and wheeled vehicles frequently pass and occasionally bump the beds. As with wood, use some imagination and mixed stone can be recycled too. Karen and George Thompson made their steep slope into this large, safe garden by cleverly combining two sets of salvaged blocks plus a few bricks. George works out a pattern… …and settles on this elegant solution. Note the brick and block combination on the lowest terrace.