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Raised bed advice?

Posted by Steve11-13 MO (My Page) on
Fri, Nov 22, 13 at 18:58

Hi,

I was wondering if I could trouble you all for some opinions, since I'm having trouble making up my mind.

I have 3 existing raised beds that are 6-7 years old and showing their age. They are 30 feet long; the sides are bowing, the corner posts have rotted and some of the ends have just popped off. In some places the wood is splitting pretty badly. However, much of the wood isn't so bad that it all needs to be replaced. It's 1x8 inch cedar, although the corner posts were made out of pine, which is they rotted out.

I've been flipping and flopping on whether to replace the three 30 footers in the middle of the photo entirely, or try to patch them up which is why I'm here to see if anyone has some ideas. It'd be great to replace them completely, but I'm looking at around $400 in lumber for that (the 3 new beds were about $100 for the wood and they are 3x8 feet, all 2x6 and 4x4 lumber).

You can see the new ones to the left in the first picture, and the older ones in the center (the skinny ones at the right are 1x6 also, but they are holding together fairly well)

When I look at trying to repair them, I need to put in new corner posts, some thicker wood either in front or behind the existing stuff and screw it all together. One of the problems with repairing is that the original builder used a bunch of stakes on the outside of the box; they help prevent it from bowing out and provide a way to screw the boards on the side together. But they also mean that i can't just screw on a new board over them without having a 3/4 inch gap between the boards. (They also form little pockets when you staple the ground cloth to the sides of the bed, and dirt collects there and weeds grow, I hate those stakes). I could screw the new 2x6 to the inside of the bed, but the wood on the old boards won't hold the screws too well, I'd need to use washers or something. It seems to me that the work involved in repairing them is going to be close that needed to replace them, and they won't last as long.

So.

I think I'll replace them entirely and use the old wood for something else, like a compost bin, or an open bin to hold grass clippings for mulch. But I wanted to see if anyone has some clever idea for patching these things up first.

I should add that these are for my 70 year old parents. I may not be available to replace these in a couple more years, but I'm near them now and wanting to make this as maintenance free and solid as possible�.they have enough work on their hands gardening & harvesting without dealing with the groundcloth, gravel and carpentry!

Thanks,
Steve


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Raised bed advice?

Well, at the risk of getting trampled in the stampede, & hoping you haven't given up, I'll put in my 2 cents:

My experience with patching anything that involves rotten or rotting wood is that it's throwing good 'money' (time, energy, materials) after bad.

I wish you, & your parents, the best.


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RE: Raised bed advice?

Over the long haul, I have found that the use of landscape blocks purchased on sale is less labor intensive and cheaper if you consider cost of labor. I also like the look better. It is a good investment.


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