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Positioning of Raised Beds

I am trying to work out a design for the top section of my allotment. I would like some raised beds to help divide up the space. The area is 590cm in width and 400cm in length. It starts off flat for just over half of that length and then starts to slope. It is south facing.

Should I have raised beds that run horizontally (West to East) or beds that are vertical? I am unsure what would work best with the slope.

Also is it best to go for two larger raised beds or four smaller ones?

Any help would be appreciated!



  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,481
    ekmcphee   As one who wouldn't consider RBs in any form, are you sure their introduction would offer you a benefit?  If you're convinced, the fewer the better with crop rows always running north-south.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,856
    If it is south facing and there is a slope then I would make the raised beds horizontal, east west, like terracing. Hard to know without knowing how much of a slope there is.

    The size depends on what you can reach when weeding and planting and what would look best in the area. It would be easier for us to see if you sent a photo. From the point of view of crop rotation four beds would be better. 4 beds 2m long and about 1.2m wide should fit. 

    You could mark them out with canes and string. What are you planning to have on the ground around them?
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Nick615: thanks for your reply.  If I didn’t put raised beds in how could I divide up the plot? Is there an alternative type of boundary? 
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,464
    The simplest arrangement is just to mark out your beds and put bark chip or something between them as simple paths. When you dig over the beds (or put down compost if you're going for no-dig) the beds will be mounded up. You can use narrow wooden boards to make an edging if you like a tidier look, without needing to import extra soil to fill deep raised beds.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • IMG_4525jpg
    Thank you for your replies. This is from the spring, I had marked out a horizontal east to west area (flat area), I then repeated this again below it but that hasn't worked very well because of the slope..! It is steeper than the picture implies.
    Was planning on some woodchip and possibly some paving slabs.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,512
    A few years ago, Frances Tophill took on an allotment with sloping ground (see link below) which may offer some good pointers, but you are essentially looking at a form of terracing with a higher wooden retaining wall on the lower end to resolve the slope issue. Your photo is not showing up to me, did you insert it using the little mountain icon on the toolbar above the textbox?
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,891
    edited December 2022
    If you want to avoid the growing material getting mixed with the wood chip, or whatever else you use for the paths, then a simple edging is ideal. Not difficult to do. Positions them in the same way you would do if you were terracing a slope anywhere.
    The height will be determined by the amount of incline, and the amount of depth you need for whatever you grow. How good the soil is already is also a factor. The worse it is, the better you need the soil in your bed to be  :)

    The pic doesn't show. If you have them on your computer, make sure they aren't too big [around 1MB is ideal] and follow the instructions re the icon, as @Nollie describes  :)  
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • I built my vegetable beds and perennial holding beds on a slope and horizontally worked best for me.  For the vegetable side of my garden I dug into the earth to make my beds level; not easy because the ground I was on was mostly stone.  I put wood chips between my beds for paths.  The only caution here is if there's a decent frost on wood chips, being on a slope can make walking down it slippery; I've fallen a few times.  In my perennial holding bed section I decided to add material to raise and level the actual ground and create earthen terraces before adding raised beds on top of those areas.  I also built a retaining wall around the bottom terrace.  I haven't found that one method worked better than the other, and both are easy enough to deal with. 
    New England, USA
    Metacomet soil with hints of Woodbridge and Pillsbury
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,512
    That’s a good point about the woodchip @CrankyYankee, without stepping/terracing the paths along with the beds it would probably all end up down at the bottom too!
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • Thank you so much for all of your replies, really helpful!
    Apologies the picture didn't show up. Hopefully it will work now..! These are not recent but show the slope better, thankfully far less weeds now!

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