How can I weed proof raised garden beds?

Gosford NSW, Australia

I'm going to build a raised garden bed to run along a fence and around behind the pool. It's going to be from scratch as we're having a lot of building work done. We back onto a creek and the lantana, wisteria and wandering weeds can grow straight into our yard from under the fence and from our next door neighbour's. I want to line the beds with something that allows the base of the beds to drain but will discourage any of the unwanted vines growing up through the plants. Does any one have an idea of the best thing to do this with? I'm not worrying about weeds growing in the top of the bed, they should be easy enough to remove but I think ones coming up from the bottom will be harder to get rid of.

Riverhead, NY

Hi Jen,
Check out lasagna gardening on your search engine. When you build your raised beds, start with cardboard on the bottom, then newspaper, then soil. (You can also buy some small fishing net for the bottom to set in place just on top of the cardboard, but the layering should be enough to prevent the weeds.) Hope that helps.

Gosford NSW, Australia

Thanks for that Rev. It looks like a great idea however I don't have the volume of materials available that I will need to create the whole garden and I'm a bit impatient I think. The building work is taking so long I'm having withdrawals from not being able to get my hands dirty! .

Riverhead, NY

Oh Jen, I share your penchant for impatience. But with a new garden, it's all about patience. Then it soon becomes about moving plants about because we didn't like leaving so much room between the newbies (due to that impatient thing). Yet I do believe a cheerful, confident and informed soul who plants stands to grow good and healthy gardens. But we do need to give it time (and likely thyme...one of the must-haves, for me anyway!)

Poulsbo, WA

Hi Jen, as a fellow impatient gardener, I empathize. I think the cardboard and netting are a great ideas, and definitely worth implementing if you can, but they aren't going to solve your invasive root problem, in my opinion. I would offer another option:

The people who built our house 10 years ago planted bamboo around the perimeter. They put in a 30" deep vertical sheet of very thick black plastic to prevent the bamboo from wandering into the neighbors' yards. So far, it's done the job surprisingly well. There are a couple of places where the uphill neighbor created an erosion problem that pushed soil over the top of the barrier and allowed bamboo to escape out. Other than that, however, the plastic has done a good job. The barrier is only vertical, none of it runs under the plants themselves. I don't know how deep the roots of your local unwelcome plants run, but I'd be surprised if they were more than a few feet deep. Consequently, I would think that installing a similar, deep vertical barrier along the far side of your raised beds would help, and do so without affecting your drainage. It will need to be put in a trench that runs at least a couple of feet below the natural grade in order to be effective, so a good bit of digging will be required at this stage, but it should be a one-time effort. I imagine that netting would discourage big digging varmints for a while, but cardboard will start rotting after six months or so, and do little to help with either varmints or invasive roots after that.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Hi Jen, would'nt gardening be so easy IF we could lay something on the ground and not a weed passes over, through or on top of the beds, borders or even between rows of veg. IT just is not possible, the weeds you are getting are either air blown by wind, birds eat them and do a great job of dropping the seeds by then wrapped in a nice little ball of poo that is like food for the germinating seeds of the weeds. then there's animals, like cats, or whatever stroll's through the garden.

All you can do is lay out the beds and fill them with the humus rich soil, NEXT you either lay down a woven fabric and cut holes in it for where you want to plant your shrubs, perennials or whatever, then lay a thick layer of either Gravel, larger stones or wood chips, slate chips etc
within this top layer, you will eventually get some weeds germinating BUT either rake, hand weed or spray the weeds with a killer, I hate to use chemicals on weeds and much prefer to hand weed or if a larger area, rake the mulch of stones or wood chips etc, they come out easier when small and IF you rake, you tug the roots free so the weeds die off and too small to be seen after that.
Gardening is all about maintenance and I'm afraid, weeding is part of that garden unless you lay concrete down everywhere BUT even then, I've seen weeds sprout through that too.

Hope this gives you hope Jen, but there is absolutely NO garden that never has weeds germinating, you have to learn the gardeners stoop LOL, you bend down all the time when walking around the garden and pull up the small weeds before they get too tough and roots deep down.

Have fun making your new garden,
Kindest regards.
WeeNel.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

I have used landscape fabric ( affordable and purchased by the roll ) as long as you are certain your plantings will be happy above it with enough depth/ room for the roots to do their thing. I have never had anything grow thru it from below and it is water permeable. I have also used it on top of areas where I do not want to plant.anything... .just mulch. I have creeping Jenny covering it in one area ( unintended) -- growing healthy ON the landscape fabric with a few years worth of decomposed mulch. 😖...the creeping Jenny looks fine there and had I known would have skipped the landscape fabric and let the Jenny grow and act as the excellent weed barrier that it is,

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

In the autumn I just blow the leaves off. Never need to rake. An occasional clump of clover gets in..comes right up. And I can't pull the landscape fabric up without demolishing the creeping Jenny!! At least it doesn't rot. This started from just a few plants placed near the stream to give interest to the rocks. I staked landscape fabric down..never intending to plant in the hard clay base used to build the stream sides....then mulched ..refreshed the mulch for a few years ....then the Jenny went nuts.

This message was edited Sep 10, 2015 6:31 PM

Thumbnail by missingrosie Thumbnail by missingrosie Thumbnail by missingrosie Thumbnail by missingrosie Thumbnail by missingrosie
Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

I use the woven fabric for larger beds Jen, this is because I have a huge area and the beds / boders in question are for planting Large shrubs, Rhododendrons etc, I then throw about 2-3 inches of wood chip on to (After I have cut crosses in the fabric to make planting holes for the shrubs, (shrubs still small at planting time) I am able to use feed, water, do a quick rake of the wood chips etc to help keep weeds away, once the shrubs have put on a couple of years growth, the weeds are fewer as the shrubs block out the light etc, so for me I could NOT garden without this method.

If your raised beds are to be filled with plants like perennial, annual or even veg, then forget the woven black fabric as you will be constantly having to remove it for softer stemmed plants and annuals to be able to survive, and the way to look after beds filled with these type of plants it to be forever separating some plants out that become too thick or large a clump, this stops flowering with some perennials, also as you go through the seasons you will want to plant new or different plants, add some spring bulbs for colour before the other peep back through the ground after winter sleep or maybe even need to add a couple of frames onto a wall etc so allow climbers to give you height, and to help mulch out weeds, either use wood-chips, small gravel, or humus mulches of compost etc.
Whatever you do, try to make sure you keep on top of any emerging weeds as they germinate as after a few months, some perennial weeds like dock, dandelions etc, are a devil to get way down to their long tap roots and when larger, IF you break the root, you end up with new plant and sometimes 2-3 shoot from the broken root. if you hand pull weeds or rake the tiny things free from the ground, when they are laying on top of the soil, they soon die off.
Hope this throws another idea into the mix JO, have a great time whichever way you go with your raised beds.
Best of luck and kind Regards.
WeeNel.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

WeeNel
I believe the original question Jen posed relates to what to put on the bottom ( the liner) of a soon to be constructed raised bed. Jen is saying she is not concerned with weeds that form on the top. She was wanting ideas on what to put at the bottom that allows drainage and yet would discourage things creeping in from the bottom. She did not have time or material volume to do Revwhitebeard's excellent suggestion to "lasagna" garden.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

missingrosie, thank you so much for pointing out my miss reading of the question asked by Jen.

I hope she isn't a new member, or she will be thinking she went to sleep and awoke to find herself being educated by an idiot LOL.

I cant for the life of me think how I missed that info that the question was actually about the BASE of a raised bed, and NOT for the top dressing for appearances, OK I'll keep taking the tablets, LOL.

Sorry Jo to have wasted your time, I've sent myself to the naughty step Ha, Ha, Ha. Hope you find the correct solution for your new raised beds. AND I would go with lining the bottom using the woven black fabric, AND it is rot proof, believe me, I can vouch for that, and it is least expensive too.
Enjoy your new planned beds and make sure you step back and admire your hard work.

Kindest Regards.
WeeNel

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

These threads are read by so many that even if you went down the wrong answer path...somebody benefitted. This was way back in June anyway. I wonder what she did.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Oh dear Missingrosie, I think the replies / answers to a lot of the threads will be out of date, or irrelevant by the time an answer is given, due to the mix up of the new system and I have no idea how to find the forums and thread I was enjoying for many, many years, it apparently called modernising, changes or updating, who knows, But thankfully I'm not alone, in my disappointment or struggle LOL.

I'm sure there will be more mistakes for a good while yet and NOT just by myself.

Have fun Misingrosie and enjoy what's left of the season before winter sets in.
Kindest Regards.
WeeNel.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Oh dear Missingrosie, I think the replies / answers to a lot of the threads will be out of date, or irrelevant by the time an answer is given, due to the mix up of the new system and I have no idea how to find the forums and thread I was enjoying for many, many years, it apparently called modernising, changes or updating, who knows, But thankfully I'm not alone, in my disappointment or struggle LOL.

I'm sure there will be more mistakes for a good while yet and NOT just by myself.

Have fun Misingrosie and enjoy what's left of the season before winter sets in.
Kindest Regards.
WeeNel.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Yes, I followed the back and forth on the " update" thread and even contributed to it with my 2 cents. But WeeNel (and I did read all your and Terry's responses ) what may be an "ah ha" moment for you is that with supposedly 700,000 plus membership -- think about that number 700.000 plus members ...there were no more than 25 people interacting on that thread and less than 20 were unhappy with the changes. Think about that. 25 or less people had an issue significant enough to ask, protest, suggest...etc., out of a potential 700,000 plus.

The administrators / owners/ investors do what needs to be done and YES I do understand what you are saying about common sense and convenience and usefulness and preservation of a very good resource... But the truth is...the vast majority sign up and whether they come back or not because the site worked for them or not ...... Well....I think the revenue that flows in is based off of membership numbers. It is certainly NOT subscribers. It is a numbers game. Advertisers want to reach the masses and if EVERY subscriber pulled out ..it would likely not be noticed after 6 months because there are 10 or more people joining up daily. With all those old forums filling up little
I-Phone screens .....people using their small devices would be overwhelmed just trying to see it all and would leave the DG site in 20 seconds flat and NOT start the free DG membership. THAT is where the money factor would come into play...less members = less visits to the site = less advertising worth = less revenue. Terry heard you loud and clear and I think empathizes, else she would not have tried all the times she did to say the same thing just in different ways to help us to understand. But in the great scheme of things... 25 people or even 2500 people....just a drop of water in a vast ocean.

This message was edited Sep 15, 2015 7:37 PM

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Your so right Missingrosie, however my comments were about MY own difficulties, I for sure did NOT go out to be personal in my comments to Terry, did express how hard she and others work, AND said how she had put herself forward to hear out ALL the views good or bad.
I am aware I am only one person in many thousands of loyal supporters who had the Audacity to show my utmost disbelief that the whole site, system of organisation was put upon me without any hint, clue or even a header at top of home page to say, "BY THE WAY, BY SUCH A DATE, A NEW SYSTEM WILL BE IN PLACE" then tell up we should have been saving out forums / threads for ease of finding. NOTHING.
What it transpires now, the difficulties that are still showing up, while Terry and the other administrators knew that the programmer's who were doing the changes knew sweat Fanny Adams about gardening, terminology, a Daisy from a Dandelion etc All I read now is, we will tell the programmers to change that, tell the Pro's to move that. I'm Just ever so grateful it wasn't a health advisory site they were employed to fix.
I actually do agree with lot's of your comments Missing Rosie, BUT I can only speak for myself when I say, NOT EVERYONE IS computer savvy, I am totally computer illiterate, there are many older, long standing members etc, who are like me, so as I said, some form of warning would have caused LESS upset to many,
Just because people have NOT gone onto the threads/ forums re the changes, does NOT imply they agree with the changes. when there is a full blown discussion taking place and one party pulls the sympathy card by implying that they are being abused by someone, when there is absolutely NO personal abuse given, intended, or implied, then my own mail box inferred there were others who did not feel there was any abusive language noted, but were NOT wishing to give any views that would cause these remarks to be pointed to them BUT, thanked me for trying to get the administrators to at least rethink some of the mess,
To be fair, as far as I know, this has began to take place as others have pointed out they don't/ cant or even want to search anymore.
I.m sure Dave's Garden site has to be run like a business, BUT Businesses normally have their clients / customers thoughts /feelings/ views at the core of the business, sadly, it now transpires this is NOT the case (IN MY VIEW) when it comes to Dave's Admin section.

Better close here Missingrosie, I truly thank you for trying to offer some helpful views and thoughts on this subject, and take no hard feeling what's-so-ever, BUT I will not renew my membership as I have tried to find my forums, have lost some stuff on the site and really don't enjoy having to spend ages trying to find threads that were found within a moment of opening my Welcome to Dave's page. In MY opinion, no site deserves my time when I want to use it and cant, jst because someone thought change would be good, NOT.

I'm on this thread because it is at the top of the Forum page as is another forum I used for many years, as for my other threads, don't have a clue and lost the enthusiasm to go search any more.
So it's late at night here Missingrosie and I'll say night, night. BUT wont say any-more on the subject, I'm going over the same old stuff and have said quite enough.

You take good care and have fun in your garden.
Kindest Regards.
WeeNel.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

I hear you loud and clear. Truly. I get and feel the same frustration.

I just don't feel that the membership ARE the clients and customers -- perhaps peripherally -- but MEMBERSHIP sure are part of the assets.

Do you agree that customers and clients' dollars underwrite/ fuel the activities of any business -- fund profit-making activities, and flat out provide profits directly? That was all I was trying to say. Access to the vast 700,000 + strong membership's ears and eyes. Tracking what interests the membership. Observing the search habits. Just like Facebook. Members are assets. Members knowlege grew the business assets via attracting new members. But, if we follow the revenue stream it will not lead to $25 a year subscriber fees. Not when there are thousands of members in a regional forum but just a few hundred subscribers to that forum.

Last, ( because this is somebody's thread and we are off topic - entirely my fault ) I think Terry did not feel unappreciated or abused. I am sure with every change she expects to have to explain the 'whys' more than once and I agree nothing and nobody suggested nor submitted a personal attack on administrators.

Back to this thread..

Jen seems to have gotten her answers about the weed barrier. If she is still following this thread, I hope she will post a photo of the finished raised beds ( I envy her growing zone ) and tell us what she did with the barrier issue. Lasagna gardening was the way to go had she the time and materials.





Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Well I'm sure some of the helpful answers / Advice will have gone a long way to giving Jan choices, and thoughts re how to go about lining and making her new beds.
Stating out a project is fun, hard work and can be costly if you get it wrong from the start but I am full of confidence she's taking her time and thinking each stage in advance, well I hope so anyway.

I'm thinking that even Australia NSW, will soon be entering it's cooler months, so perhaps she is waiting for that season which would make good sense as IF it can be avoided doing hard heavy landscaping as it's best carried out when the weather is more helpful to the person doing the task, and helpful for fixing soil conditions/ movement too.
Like you MissingrosieI, I to hope she send us some pictures of the progress made, you kind of build up a mental picture in your head, (usually wrong pictures LOL)
Take good care.
Kindest Regards.
WeeNel.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Well I'm sure some of the helpful answers / Advice will have gone a long way to giving Jan choices, and thoughts re how to go about lining and making her new beds.
Stating out a project is fun, hard work and can be costly if you get it wrong from the start but I am full of confidence she's taking her time and thinking each stage in advance, well I hope so anyway.

I'm thinking that even Australia NSW, will soon be entering it's cooler months, so perhaps she is waiting for that season which would make good sense as IF it can be avoided doing hard heavy landscaping as it's best carried out when the weather is more helpful to the person doing the task, and helpful for fixing soil conditions/ movement too.
Like you MissingrosieI, I to hope she send us some pictures of the progress made, you kind of build up a mental picture in your head, (usually wrong pictures LOL)
Take good care.
Kindest Regards.
WeeNel.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

I get the impression from her posts that she was eager to begin then and work underway

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

OH missingrosie, this is like awaiting a parcel to arrive and rushing to open it. Hope Jen realises she's brought the child out in us both LOL.
WeeNel.

Sanford, United States

Quote from Jen59 :
I'm going to build a raised garden bed to run along a fence and around behind the pool. It's going to be from scratch as we're having a lot of building work done. We back onto a creek and the lantana, wisteria and wandering weeds can grow straight into our yard from under the fence and from our next door neighbour's. I want to line the beds with something that allows the base of the beds to drain but will discourage any of the unwanted vines growing up through the plants. Does any one have an idea of the best thing to do this with? I'm not worrying about weeds growing in the top of the bed, they should be easy enough to remove but I think ones coming up from the bottom will be harder to get rid of.


The best way to make your raised garden look good is that Don't walk on the soil. The biggest advantage of raised bed gardening is the light, fluffy, absolutely perfect soil you're able to work with as a result. When you build your raised beds, build them so that you're able to reach every part of the bed without having to stand in it.

You must plan your irrigation system accordingly. Try to mulch after planting. If you have large trees in the area, or just want to ensure that you won't have to deal with weeds growing up through your perfect soil, consider installing a barrier at the bottom of the bed. This could be a commercial weed barrier, a piece of old carpet, or a thick piece of corrugated cardboard. If you have an existing raised bed and find that you're battling tree roots every year, you may have to excavate the soil, install the barrier, and refill with the soil. It's a bit of work, but it will save you tons of work later on. If you're finding difficulty in doing all the stuff then you can contact professionals for landscape maintenance. There are plenty of landscape professionals available. I recently seen work of http://www.orlandogreener.com/orlando-landscape-maintenance. They have done spectacular job.

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