What are the Advantages of Raised Beds?

Raised beds Suffolk – Materials from Nelson Potter

Raised beds have become a useful and practical addition to many gardens across the UK. Here Nelson Potter, a gardening products specialist who can supply raised beds to customers across Suffolk, look at why they are so popular, and how to create one – with a bit of help from our high-quality timber products.


Accessibility – raised beds are, by their very nature, much higher than any ground-level flower beds. This means they are ideal for the elderly, or anyone with mobility issues – particularly people who have problems bending down. All the usual tasks associated with gardening, such as weeding and pruning, become a lot easier to carry out in a raised bed.


Drainage – these types of beds have better drainage than grow-bags or pots, so problems of overwatering or waterlogged soil are much less likely to occur. Water can drain through soil much better when it is ‘at height’ – you also won’t be walking on it and compacting the soil.  However, raised beds may need watering more frequently than regular beds, particularly if they’re in direct sunlight.


Soil quality – even if you have a poor-quality soil in the rest of your garden, it’s easy enough to buy a soil improver or conditioner for your raised bed. The added bonus is that you will need a relatively small amount to improve the soil in your raised bed, so cost shouldn’t be a factor.

You can also tailor your type of soil improver to the plants you are intending to grow. For instance, if you want to grow blueberries, heathers or magnolias then you need an acidic soil, while alkaline soil will help if you want to grow flowers such as geraniums, phlox or hostas.


Versatility – raised beds can be built on various surfaces, such as lawns, patios, rooftops and concrete. They can be as large or small as you like (remember, it’s not just the height that you can vary). If you want to grow fruit and vegetables in your new creation, you will need a deep bed for potatoes to accommodate the root growth, but you’ll only need a relatively shallow bed for herbs and salad vegetables.

Raised beds are particularly useful for gardeners who have little space to work with – it extends your space upwards rather than outwards, helping you make the most of your available space.


Keeping Everything Under Control – Any weeds growing in your new bed will be easy to spot and get rid of – and remember they won’t be able to encroach from other parts of the garden. The same applies to pests – it’s much easier to identify any problem insects and other creatures, and to take targeted preventative action to get rid of them.


Top Tips on Making a Raised Bed

The Royal Horticultural Society recommends the following steps:

  • Dig out a shallow trench which will give you the shape of the bed
  • Fix the base layer of timbers together (they can be screwed together)
  • Make sure your measurements are accurate (and use a spirit level to check that everything is even)
  • Add as many levels of wood or timber as you want (but don’t build everything up too high before you think about the soil)
  • Fill the base with fine rubble, gravel or subsoil (making sure you have removed any weeds or debris first) as this will aid drainage – you don’t want anything too solid as this won’t allow water to percolate through)
  • Add in the topsoil mixture (the RHS recommends a mixture of organic matter such as compost or leaf mould, sharp sand and the topsoil itself)
  • Leave the bed to settle for a couple of weeks before you start planting.


Raised Beds in Suffolk from Nelson Potter

Although we don’t sell raised beds ready-made, at Nelson Potter we can supply a number of different garden materials to help you make your own. These include railway sleepers, which are available at both our depots in Ipswich and Bromeswell.

Both our sites also stock gravel boards, which can also be used for the same purpose – for more details check out the relevant product lines here. These can be less bulky and cheaper than sleepers.

If you would like any advice, then you can call us on 01394 460199 (our Bromeswell yard) or 01473 311905 (our Ipswich base).

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