The Circular Raised Bed

After being cooped up all winter my daughters and I hightailed it to the backyard and spent the day outdoors digging in the dirt. We accomplished many of the chores I mentioned on Friday (wait they weren’t chores because I enjoyed doing them!). One of those tasks was a rearrangement of the vegetable garden. I wanted to move four small raised beds out of the center and install a retaining wall stone raised bed.

The obvious advantage to stone for raised beds is that it won’t rot like my old wooden beds have done. In fact I noticed that the small raised beds I put together last year have some significant rotting along the bottom (see my last picture in this post). They might make it through this year but definitely not another garden season. Because they are wooden they feed the soil as they break down but in the long run they are more expensive to keep replacing than the stone beds.

Here’s a closer shot of the circular stone bed. It’s about four feet across. The ground slopes downward to the left which made leveling the circle a challenge. It’s not set like a retaining wall should be with layers of gravel underneath but it doesn’t need to be. It just needs to hold the dirt inside.

Three of the beds that once occupied the area are now in a U shape. Mostly because I thought it looked neat but also because they are easy beds to reach across. These may end up being our greens and beans beds.

The fourth small bed was moved over an existing 4’x6′ bed which turned it into a tiered raised bed system. The left side will get more shade which might be conducive to growing greens a little longer into the summer.

You can see how much those boards that were new last year have rotted in one season. It all depends on the moisture. Dry years will help the boards last longer but it’s been very wet lately. That’s not a bad thing, unless you are an unpressure treated raised bed!

I hope your weekend was as wonderful as ours was!

Here’s an update on the circular raised bed!

6 thoughts on “The Circular Raised Bed”

  1. Using stone is such a good idea for raised beds. Right now, Our beds are under so much snow, so I can't even see their condition right now. I hope they don't rot too much.

  2. We are fortunate to live in an area that has cypress available…it seems to hold up fairly well. Some of my beds are now 3 years old and still in fine shape.
    I LOVE the stone for raised beds-very durable, good looking, what's not to love?! Could even be good for those heat-lovers like melons, etc. Looking forward to seeing it "filled"!

  3. Meemsnyc,

    I'm hoping spring is just around the corner and no more snow…


    That sounds like a good use. I've gone the initial cheaper route with the pine – just to get the beds in place. My eventual goal is to get all the beds lined with stone of some kind. Hopefully it will extend the garden season some!


    I seem to do it every year! That board really did rot fast. A lot faster than my other beds have, must have had more water in it than the others last year. Could be because of my irrigation.

  4. It's looking good Dave. I like the idea of the stone. It does seem to last better. I need to replace my wood retainers also. I want to do it in stone.

  5. Fun to see this shift to a Parterre! I've just been re-reading an old garden journal, & enjoying the mid-80s shift from rectangular beds to a very similar layout!
    For years I've used Peter Chan's method (outlined in "Better Vegetables the Chinese Way)' – he uses the mounded system for his raised beds, which works well in our area, the Pacific NW. I enjoy both looks – & also have noticed many of my landscape rounds are rotting …
    Working on my late summer/fall garden layout right now, & found your blog researching cover crops in the home garden 🙂

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