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Lawsons are the largest independent timber, building & fencing merchants in London and the South East of England. Established in 1921 Lawsons now have a number of branches offering the complete range of building materials.

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Raise Your Gardening Game with Planters

Raised planters are a fantastic way to separate your flowers or vegetables from the rest of your garden – they offer a way to save space, maintain healthier soil for your plants, and even mean that you don’t need to bend down as much when tending to your garden if you have a bad back.

Fortunately, they’re also extremely simple to make – essentially they’re just boxes with a soil mix added to them. You can choose from a huge number of materials when making them, and you can tailor your soil mix to whatever you’re growing without having to dig up your entire garden.

DIY Raised Garden Beds

While you can buy raised garden planter kits, you don’t necessarily benefit from doing so. You’ll need to work with the materials in the kit – rather than what’s best for your garden – and you’ll be restricted when it comes to size or shape. Starting from scratch doesn’t require much more effort but you’ll get exactly what you want.

First, decide on your size and placement – if you’re putting your planters on a roof terrace or in your garden, you still need to decide where they’re going and how large the planters can be. It’s generally easier to make fewer, large planters than lots of small ones but the arrangement is entirely down to your preferences.

Then you need to find out what materials are best for you and your garden. Our clients have used everything from bricks and paving slabs, through to timber and railway sleepers. Sleepers have the added benefit of not needing cement to put them together – you can just stack your sleepers and fill the box with your soil!

Once you’ve got your measurements and materials, you’ll need to start making your planters! Remember to make them at a comfortable height – if your aim is to look after your garden with minimal bending down, it’s a good idea to build them up to waist height so that you can achieve that.

If you’d like to build using timber, this wikihow will be helpful.

And if you’re building with bricks, this will help you with the technique and steps.

Remember, if you’re using railway sleepers or paving stones, you won’t need to spend as much time putting your planters together since the materials are heavy enough to stack together and stay put.

Finally, you’ll need to decide on a soil mix and add that to your planter. The most expensive option is to use all purchased materials, with varied composts, peat moss, and vermiculite. If you’re building extra tall planters, it’s best to use the ‘lasagne method’ which means that you bulk out the bottom of your planter with leaves, grass clippings, or hay. This bottom layer will eventually turn to compost and give you extremely rich soil without having to pay as much for it. Once that layer is built, add a compostable barrier (like untreated cardboard) to stop your quality soil from moving down too quickly, then add your growing soil mix to the very top 6-12 inches. You’ll notice the soil sinking over the next year or so – all you need to do at that point is add a fresh layer of compost to keep your planter topped up.