Benefits of raised stone beds
Although stone is initially more expensive than wood and also more difficult to process, it has an almost unlimited lifespan. Once set up, you don't need to rebuild such a raised bed every few years. In addition, the inside of a raised bed made of stone heats up more slowly than one made of wood because of the thicker walls, but it can hold the heat longer. This has a positive effect on plant growth, but also has an impact on the rotting process of the individual inner layers - these also rot more slowly and do not collapse as quickly, which is why raised stone beds are more suitable for permanent planting. In principle, even with these variants, the decomposed material must be removed after a few years and the bed replanted.
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Types of stone raised beds
There are two different ways to build a stone raised bed. In the case of a dry stone wall, you simply layer the stones on top of one another without mortar or cement, while in the case of mortar walls they are connected to one another by a suitable material and therefore permanently fixed. Note, however, that dry stone walls take up more space for the same height, as the walls must be built significantly wider than a mortar wall in order to be stable.
Dry stone walls
Usually you do not need a foundation for a drywall raised bed; instead, a level and sufficiently solid surface is sufficient. Stamp it firmly so that the stones do not tip over or sink in. If the soil in your garden is very soft (e.g. because it is very sandy), a simple foundation is recommended to increase stability. All types of natural stone, which can either be processed or not, are suitable as material. Little-hewn stones can only be brought into a reasonably closed shape with a flat upper edge with great skill. In addition, the coarser the stone profiles, the larger the joints between the stones. However, you can take advantage of this for yourself,by planting these loopholes with rock garden plants or suitable herbs.
How to build a simple drywall raised bed
The easiest way to build a dry stone raised bed is with rectangular stones that are as smooth as possible. Use the largest and most even pieces for the bottom row. Then build up the dry stone wall layer by layer until the final bed height is reached. Make sure that the stones are not stacked joint after joint, but offset from one another. They should be so stable on top of each other that they neither wobble nor tilt. To compensate for unevenness, you can pinch small pieces of stone in the remaining gaps. Then nothing is guaranteed to wobble.
Raised bed with a mortar wall
Mortar walls can be built from regularly processed or cut natural stone, from bricks, clinker or molded concrete blocks. In any case, however, a foundation must be laid under the walls of the raised bed so that it is sufficiently stable. There are various possibilities:
- a 40 to 50 centimeter thick layer of crushed stone or gravel, compacted with a vibrating plate (€ 214.60 on Amazon *)
- a foundation cast from concrete
Furthermore, a sufficiently deep pit must first be excavated at the intended location of the raised bed. On this foundation you will finally brick the walls of the raised bed, carefully paying attention to a good waterproofing. Water must not penetrate anywhere, otherwise it will freeze at minus temperatures in winter and destroy the wall.
Which types of stone are particularly suitable for raised beds
Raised beds made of stone can look very different. The market offers a wide range of natural stones, but also shaped stones such as bricks or clinker as well as forms cast from concrete. The type of stone you ultimately choose depends on various factors. On the one hand, different materials naturally have different optical effects - but also their price. Natural stones such as granite, porphyry, travertine, limestone and sandstone look fantastic, but are also very expensive. Concrete blocks, on the other hand, are much cheaper to buy and are easier to process due to their uniform size and shape. This also applies to bricks or clinker, whereby simple clay bricks are usually not particularly stable and weatherproof.It is therefore better to use fired clay bricks or clinker.
Natural stones are also available in the form of stone palisades or steles, with which extravagant and individual raised beds can be built. Walls made of processed slate also look particularly elegant. Since these are very expensive, you build the walls of the raised bed from solid material (e.g. concrete or metal) and then only cover the front sides with them.