Wednesday, 27 July 2016
We’ve recently been sent a copy of “Raised Bed Revolution”, a new book by Tara Nolan all about one of our favourite garden features – the raised beds. We have designed and built a variety of raised beds over the years, using different materials and using different designs and shapes, so we were immediately keen to see what this book had to offer.
The book is immediately appealing, a lovely quality of hard back with a ridged cover. The full title is “Raised Bed Revolution. Build It, Fill It, Plant It. Garden Anywhere” – well that pretty much sums up raised beds. They are a wonderful option for many gardens providing an easily accessible space for those who would maybe struggle to garden at ground level; they can provide an alternative growing medium when the existing soil is poor (or maybe there is none there at all!); they can be attractive features in their own right, often adding height, colour and interest into a garden. So, we are a fan of the raised bed, but were we a fan of the book?
The author has a similar passion to us about raised beds, hence she is starting the #RaisedBedRevolution and encouraging readers to share photographs of their own raised beds on social media using this hashtag.
The author talks about the rise in interest in edible gardening in the US which we very much see here in the UK too. Lots of our clients, even those with few gardening skills, are keen to have even just one raised bed so they can experiment with growing their own, especially if they have a young family. There is lots of advice in this book on what to grow in your raised beds and tips on how to grow them well.
Included in “Raised Bed Revolution” are lots of examples of different types of raised beds. Here are some of our favourites but the book is packed full of many many more:
This raised bed which has been tiled and filled with flowers rather than being used for veg:
We love upcycling and this is a cheap and easy way to create a raised bed out of old bricks:
Making tiers with your raised beds is a great way of adding height and interest:
Dry-stone walls are a passion of ours at Vialii and we just love this one, it might have to be included in a design sometime:
There is also tips on ways to maximise space with raised beds such as installing an archway for your beans to scramble up:
And we think our girls would love making these colourful signs to brighten up our veg patch:
The book provides lots of helpful advice on a wide variety of topics including tips on protecting crops, choosing the size and material, soil, location and much more.
There is a large section showing you how to make your own raised beds and there are lots of different designs to choose from. There are also other associated products which it shows you how to make such as an obelisk and cold frames. Some of our favourite designs that you can learn how to make include:
The upcycled raised bed, using off-cuts of wood:
A raised bed with built in benches:
And our absolute favourite – the upcycled suitcase planter with gas pipe legs:
We also loved that in the sections where it shows you how to make a range of raised beds, there are plenty of photographs of women with power tools #girlpower
We have given this book a Vialii rating of:
4 out of 5 stars, pretty good indeed. The only reason it just missed out on top marks is that we would have liked to have seen a few more inspirational raised beds. A couple that we have designed and built for clients include:
We used traditional timbers for these raised beds but used them vertically allowing us to create these lovely curving shapes and make the garden feel less rectangular:
These raised beds are rendered and painted bright pink. The colour can easily be changed allowing a dramatic change to the feel of the garden at low cost. The raised beds allow for planting around the seating area which includes the lovely fragrant lavender:
We wondered how you could dedicate a whole book to the humbled raised bed but Tara has certainly shown us how. Here’s to the #RaisedBedRevolution!
Raised Bed Revolution by Tara Nolan is published by Cool Springs Press (£20).
All at Vialii