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Building raised bed against a fence?

Posted by HoustonNewlyweds TX (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 30, 13 at 10:30

My husband and I have a very small backyard in an urban area, and we decided to build a raised garden bed along the fence using concrete pavers. We've researched tips on building this type of raised beds, but we still aren't sure how to protect the fence (which is ~5 months old, cedar, untreated wood). We'd like to grow produce in the bed, so I am concerned with any solution that would involve potential toxins leaching into the soil.

Ideas we've considered:
-Protecting the fence with some sort of plastic? My concern is that might not allow the fence to breathe.
-Building a protective "wall" against the fence out of 4"-wide cinder blocks.
-Covering fence with cement blue board.
-Building a "buffer" against the fence with treated wood, and then maybe covering that wood with plastic to prevent chemicals from leaching into the soil? Or maybe covering fence with some extra cedar boards for protection.
-Installing some kind of french drain?

Also, I read on another forum that someone suggested laying a perforated pipe surrounded by crushed stone along the bottom of the fence to improve drainage. Is this recommended? Where would the pipe drain to?'

Thanks in advance!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Building raised bed against a fence?

A couple other options I've read that I forgot to mention are:

1) To paint the cedar fence with asphalt emulsion or foundation waterproofing material;

2) Use an EPDM rubber sheet on the face of the fence that will be holding the soil

What do you think?

RE: Building raised bed against a fence?

Why do you need the bed to be raised?

Don't add any materials that could leach toxins if you want to grow edibles.

I think only way to protect the fence would be to leave a space between it and the raised portion and then build a box around the whole raised area.

RE: Building raised bed against a fence?

You are proposing to create a problem --a rotting fence -- and then spending time and effort trying to figure out how to prevent the problem in spite of its existence. The only good method is as Lyfia suggest ... keep an air gap (several inches at least) between the raised bed and the fence. There is no other way. And this creates another problem ... a place where trash is trapped and maintenance is more difficult because of limited access. Cedar will disappoint you with its shortened life span if you don't make sure it is able to dry quickly after its gets wet.

I ask the same question as Lyfia ... why does the garden need to be raised? If you wish to raise the grade, the proper way is to create the raised area and place the fence on top of it. Placing anything against the fence will ensure that it doesn't dry quickly.

RE: Building raised bed against a fence?

  • Posted by mjlb z5 MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 5, 13 at 14:42

Ditto - keep space between fence and raised beds, but plenty of options:

Here is a link that might be useful: materials for raised beds

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