January 11 2022
Designing a custom size garden bed can seem pretty complicated at first, however there are a couple of basic things to keep in mind that will make it not only easier in the long run but also more enjoyable.
WIDTH. There are few different factors to keep in mind when thinking about the width of a new garden bed. Will you have access to both sides of the bed? Or will one side of the bed be up against a fence or a wall restricting access to one side? If you will only have access to one side of the garden bed a simple way to figure the width is just to measure your arm length. To properly measure your arm length just take a tape measure and start measuring from your armpit and end at your fingers. Now simply deduct a few inches from your final measurement (so you don’t have to stretch too much). With the above being said, I usually find that 2’ is very good width for access on single side.
If there will be access from both sides just simply double your arm length (minus a few inches so you don’t need to stretch*). I find 4’-5’ wide is usually a good width for access on both sides.
LENGTH. The length of the bed will be determined by the space available, budget and how far you’d like to walk either bending over or crouching. However if there won’t be access on one end of the bed it would be a very good idea to have the width narrow enough so you’ll be able to reach right across, simply so you don’t have walk all the way around it just to reach the other side.
HEIGHT. While we recommend a minimum of 12" in height there may be some instances that you want them higher. If you have a bad back or troubling bending over having the boxes built at a height where you can easily pick and work the soil will ensure that you'll have a much more pleasant experience in the garden.
Another instance where additional height would be ideal is if your placing the beds over packed gravel/builder soil or even sand.
Having taller boxes will help prevent issue with more aggressive weeds that are capable of coming up from 12"
Just keep in mind the taller the height of the bed the more soil will be required to fill it!
SPACING. If multiple garden beds are being installed in parallel rows generally 3’-4’ between the rows is sufficient to push/pull wheelbarrow forwards and backwards between the rows* (*It will not be wide enough to turn the wheelbarrow around, but why waste yard/lawn space?)
The space between each bed in the single row will be determined by if there is access from both sides or just one. If the beds are wide (access on both sides) having between 2’-3’ each bed is ideal. While it may not be enough to get a wheelbarrow through but it will provide enough space to kneel, sit, crouch, bend over and walk through fairly easily.