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building a bed on concrete


 
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aine
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
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Joined: 25 Jun 2009
Posts: 90
Location: carrick on shannon

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 4:34 pm    Post subject: building a bed on concrete Reply with quote

am trying my best to get little bits done in the garden, and am not very knowledgable, so excuse me if this is silly question

i have an area of concrete at the side of house
i would like to build a bed perhaps 5 foot high, built with stone or brick and filled with soil. i would love to plant some sort of miniature tree and some shrubs.
the base will obviously be concrete. is this a good idea. will stuff grow in it? just trying to think of ways of 'prettying' up the space
thanks!
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Sive
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Location: Co.Wexford

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure exactly what you are suggesting, Aine.....do you really mean 5 ft high ? The height of a small person ?
I presume you are not constructing this against the side wall of the house ? You must never build a bed higher than the damp-proof-course as you will cause damp problems that way.
I'm hoping you are planning a free-standing bed ?
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walltoall
Rank attained: Orchard owner


Joined: 25 Aug 2008
Posts: 705
Location: Thurrock RM15 via Dungarvan and the Banner County

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:57 pm    Post subject: building a bed on concrete Reply with quote

Nothing at all wrong with the idea. In fact the concrete base can help retain water in the planter which is usually a problem when they are built open. I've put a photo of my own planter (which is not concrete based and I wish it was). The shot was intended for another contributor asking about tomatoes, but I think you'll gat an idea of what a planter looks like done in brick. Obviously it can be done with breeze blocks, railway sleepers, pallets, Liscannor stone. I have even seen a planter made of glass jars. Unbelieveably this joker got his hands on 5000 glass jars for a verse of a song and cemented them all together to make a stunning garden feature about the same size as mine which is exactly one metre inside width. The height you want is about 3/4metre although you could go to a metre if you have good reasons. But 5' is too high to actually do any work in the bed without a ladder or a step up. I would not recommend planting any 'tree' as they need to get tap roots down to mother earth at some stage.


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aine
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
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Joined: 25 Jun 2009
Posts: 90
Location: carrick on shannon

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sorry, it was a typing error...i meant 3 foot high and it will be free standing. i was hoping to have it built in a circular shape. thanks for the picture walltoall
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walltoall
Rank attained: Orchard owner


Joined: 25 Aug 2008
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Location: Thurrock RM15 via Dungarvan and the Banner County

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:32 pm    Post subject: made beds and planters Reply with quote

Aine, a circular planter could be very nice indeed. Optimum diameter about 1.25 metres ID so as to be able to reach the centre. A circular bed could support a small tree because it will simply ball up its roots and this will limit it's ability to grow too big. I like your idea. BTW, before I had any of my planters made permanent I used just bricks on top of each other and could move them from place to place until I got them right. One of the best circular planters I ever saw (and it is horses for courses) was made from two tractor tyres white-washed.
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aine
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
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Joined: 25 Jun 2009
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Location: carrick on shannon

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the advice again walltoall

just a bit unsure though, will it definitely be ok to build this and fill with soil and plant up....where will the water run off to?

just dont want to damage the concrete

thanks
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walltoall
Rank attained: Orchard owner


Joined: 25 Aug 2008
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Location: Thurrock RM15 via Dungarvan and the Banner County

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Áine, I can only give you general advice but unless you flood the planter with water regularly there should be no run off as such. It's only a large pot when all is said and done. Would you be willing to grow a plant in a pot left on the concrete?

Please refer to Sive's advice points above especially ref damp proof courses. If you are really afraid of run-off why not use the jack-hammer you are getting to solve your rose problem to bore a hole through the concrete to take any possible run-off down to permeable earth.

Designing, constructing, preparing and using planters is, in the final analysis, a very expert exercise. When 'potential problems' have to be foreseen and planned out, one pauses. Usually raised beds by nature run drier than surrounding soil attached to the earth. The 'soil' contents of your planned circular planter should be water-retentive.

My latest planter was half-filled with waste garden timbers partly crushed, along with branches pruned from adjacent trees and shrubs last winter, mixed with a couple of barrows of soil relocated from another part of my garden. Next layer is home-made compost containing a lot of shredded paper and garden refuse. Next layer is 5x70litres of peat from B+Q, mixed with 5x25kg bags of stable manure. All of this is to ensure a mix which will hold moisture as we get less rain here than Jerusalem!

Since I presume your planter will be watered by rain, that same rain will keep the concrete, adjacent to the planter, clean. Hope this helps?

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