raised garden bed

Raised flower beds are rarely environmentally unfriendly, but there are some materials you can use to build them that will lower the cost and impact even further.

Getting creative with recycled materials also allows you to have different looks with your raised flower beds than the classical cedar sides.

Of course, if that’s what you’re looking for, there are plenty of ways to obtain that with recycled building materials as well.

 

Plastic Decking

One of the most common complaints with classic wood siding in flower beds is the rot that happens, even to cedar over time.

This can lead to needing to repair or replace flower beds as often as every 18-24 months, sometimes faster depending on the environment.

Recycled plastic decking can be used to remedy this as there is virtually no chance for this material to rot in the ground. A good place to find this material is from a friend who has used it for a deck of their own, or even buying it new has low environmental impact since it’s a one-time purchase. 

 

Modified Furniture Frames

With some basic carpentry skills you can modify old end tables, bedframes, desks, chairs, and more to become lawn accents and flower beds. By keeping the legs attached you can have raised beds around the deck, or cut them and sink them into the ground for a different look.

You don’t even need the whole piece of furniture; old metal head and footboards stuck at either end of a traditional flower bed can give a whole new look, and can even provide a great place for vines to climb.

Related:   Water Saving Tips for Environmentally-Responsible Gardening

 

Truck Beds

While this might be more permanent and require more elbow grease than most people are looking for, old trucks or other vehicles can create a great juxtaposition of modern industrialism paired with nature as plants grow out of them.

There are old junkers that have great lines lying around fields with weeds growing through them already, so why not clean them up a bit and have flowers grow out of them in your yard?

 

Corrugated Metal

While this isn’t the best option if you have young children who are liable to cut themselves on metal edges, recycled corrugated metal is a more traditional approach to pairing industrialism with nature.

Expect to need a welder to cut the pieces into the desired dimensions and setting larger pieces of thick metal can often require at least two pairs of hands to help move them around.

 

Concrete Blocks and Bricks

garden retaining wall

All different kinds of concrete blocks and bricks can be found at used building supply stores. These are cheap and easy to arrange outside of the classic rectangular pattern.

Because the walls are built up from separate pieces it is easy to rearrange or repair a wall should you want a change of scenery, provided no mortar was used of course.

 

When using any kind of recycled material, especially building materials, it’s important to realize that corrosive substances may be present and could leach into the soil. This is why the post has highlighted ideas for flower beds or companion planting and not vegetable beds or other plant matter that you’d eat.

Related:   Creating Healthier Environments with Plants

Find whatever you’d like to use and get creative with it to add an eye catching feature to your lawn that won’t break the bank and helps out the environment by reusing manufactured materials.

Mary Potter of the Flower Exchange has cultivated her own award winning garden and provides wedding flowers and gardening advice for her friends.


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