Raised Flower Beds

Hello everyone, I am wanting to put a raised bed on my lawn in which to plant lavender and box.  I will be filling in the bed with new topsoil.  What I would like to know is can I just put the structure straight onto the lawn and backfill with the soil or must I dig up the turf first - I'm hoping someone will say that the roots will grow down through the turf!!  Thank you for any information on this.





  • Tabatha 2Tabatha 2 Posts: 5

    Yes shouldn't be a problem we made two raised beds for my friends garden and we just filled it with top soil although they were about 3.5 feet high but no problems and that was two years ago!

  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 1,783

    I've done this several times.. but I have two recommendations.

    1. Spray the grass/weeds in the area first with Roundup, give it a few weeks to completely die off.

    2. Layer newspaper (five or six sheets thick) over top the dead grass.  It will all rot down within the year, but will kill off any resistant weeds.

    It's just I have couchgrass coming up through one of my beds, and bindweed in the other.  They are both tough weeds.. I wish I would have sprayed first.  

    Utah, USA.
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 5,319

    I agree with Blue Onion.  Unless you have a weed-free lawn with no coarse grass in it, you can't guarantee that everything under the raised bed will die.  Couch grass in particular is quite capable of working its way through an extra foot of soil.

    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • wildaboutwildabout Posts: 6

    Thank you all for your replies - I will certainly spray the area first and layer the newspaper as you suggest Blue Onion - I said it was a lawn but maybe I was being a bit wishful, it does have a lot of weeds in it!!

  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Why risk it? cut the turves, lift them  and hide in a corner behind a bush for a year, you will get good seed compost once seived.  When setting up the bed put some drainage in the base before filling. Use old potting compost to fill half the base then good topsoil leaving it low in the bed so you can mulch or top up.


  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 1,783

    Because it's hard work lifting the turf. image  AND more expensive, as you have to buy more soil to fill the beds.  AND it's not promised that it will in fact remove all the weeds (unless you plan to take out the top six inches or more of turf and soil).  

    Utah, USA.
  • Katherine WKatherine W Posts: 410

    Personally I would not use Roundup, actually I would not touch the stuff with a barge pole. There have always been health concerns about it, and now they are becoming more serious and official than ever. But you can call me a eco-nut tree-hugger, I can live with that.

    The grass will not sprout again if it is a very high raised bed (30 cm), but it might be troublesome under a low one (

  • Katherine WKatherine W Posts: 410

    Oi! That was half of my post disappearing into thin air!


    Well the gist of it was, if the bed is small, or you have the time, dig up the turves, and either leave them under the bed (roots up), or compost them and reuse them later. That way you get a good rich deep root run for your flowers. If you just kill off the grass, but leave the ground untouched it's still hard and compact, and unless your bed is exceptionally high, it's poor fare for your plants. Work invesetd in preparing the soil pays very high dividendss later on. (I KNOW!)


  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Who ever said gardening is easy, short cuts and easy ways usually lead to twice the work later, do it once correctly and save your back is my way. Lifted turves can be stacked left to mature and used later. Soil dug out can be cleaned and put back though when I had raised boxes there was plenty of drainage in the base. Fill the box with old compost then top off with good topsoil or compost leaving room to top up or mulch.

    gardening will never be easy which is why little and often with a sit in the sun glass in hand is so relaxing, you plan your next project knowing it may well include double digging removing all weeds and probable some building included. Do it right, do it once.


  • Lily  LilyLily Lily Posts: 4
    I've done 3 raised beds for the first time 3 years ago with nothing complex. Just filled with top soil or home made compost and no weed came back whatsoever. The lower bed is only less than 12'' high and there is no problem too. Why struggle?
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