Creating raised garden beds from recycled materials is a great way to save money while reducing waste. Raised garden beds are easier on the back and are great for people with disabilities.
Raised beds are also a good option for areas with poor soils. They don’t have to be limited to vegetables and make an interesting feature in your garden. Consider installing a water feature in the middle with your favorite flowers around the edge.
Finding Recycled Materials
Old water tanks that no longer hold water and rusted silos are great for garden beds. They can be cut to the required height with an angle grinder.
Rusted panels from cattle yard fencing or cattle trucks are great for the sides of garden beds. Old iron roofing can also be cut to the required height with a grinder.
Find water tanks, silos, fencing and old roofing iron at farm auctions and metal scrap yards.
Old timber sleepers are easy to place in position with a few pegs to hold in place. Timber sleepers were used on railway lines but are now being replaced by cement sleepers. They can be found at timber scrap yards.
Sawmills may have the offcuts from the trees they have cut down to size. The curved edges make an interesting border to a garden bed.
Creating a Raised Garden Bed from an Old Silo
There are two ways to cut the silo. Either while it is sitting flat or while it is on its edge. Take care when the silo is on its edge to prop it up and to stop it from rolling.
- Angle Grinder – This Black and Decker angle grinder has a 3 position side handle for comfort, is top rated on Amazon and great value. (Paid link)
- Metal Cutting Disk for Grinder
- Metal File
- Leather Gloves and Protective Glasses (Paid links)
- Electrical Tape or Poly Pipe (Optional)
Time needed: 2 hours.
How to make raised garden beds from old silos or water tanks.
- Choose Cutting Line
To get a straight line choose a point halfway between two ridges then draw a line around. You may find it is easy to judge by sight without the line.
- Cut Off the Top or Rough Ends
Always wear leather gloves, long sleeves and eye protection when using an angle grinder. Cut around the silo cutting off the top edge first. Remove then cut the first section. The height will depend on how high you would like your raised garden bed to be.
- Cut Sections
You may find it easier to tip the silo on its side then place rocks on either side to stop it rolling. From the inside of the silo cut the sections down one side. This silo was large enough for three raised garden beds.
- Prop Up Silo then Finish Cutting Sections
Roll the silo around then replace the rocks and cut again until you have gone right around. You may need to prop up the sides or get someone to help you as the sections will fall away when cut through. This is a good method if the ground is dry and there is a total fire ban in place as the sparks from the grinder will mostly stay in the silo.
- Smooth the Metal Edges
Use the metal file or a grinding disk to smooth the cut edges. To ensure no one can get cut on the top edge; place electrical tape over the edge or cut along one side of the poly pipe then fit it over the edge.
- Position in the Garden then Fill
Place into position then fill with layers of topsoil, straw and compost or aged manure.
Weed matting can be placed at the bottom before the addition of the soil if weeds and grass are a problem. Couch grass is especially bad for growing up through a raised garden bed. This weed matting is great value and highly rated by individual reviewers. (Paid link)
Creating attractive recycled raised garden beds is easily done. Use leftover exterior house paint to give your new garden bed a fresh look. A primer for rust will extend the life of your paint and prevent the rust from coming through.
Another way to create a cheap raised garden bed is by using old tractor tyres. See this guide to Reusing Tyres in the Garden.
To Print or Save this guide to Creating Raised Garden Beds from Recycled Materials, click the button below for the PDF File.
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