What's even better than raised beds in the garden? Step gardens top the list. They're easily reached by physically limited folks. There's usually more planting space than with a conventional raised bed, due to layering. Make them from all kinds of used materials you have around the home and garden. There's no need to be fancy about it. Even free finds like old dresser drawers work well. What will you make your perfect step garden from?
How about those dresser drawers?
Just stack a few in a pyramid type triangle for the perfect step garden. Don't forget to support the center.
You could also use:
*Old bookshelves, laid flat and stacked (bonus – more sections for planting)
*Discarded wooden fruit crates
*A wood barrel, surrounded by half barrels
Leave drawers in the dresser for planting.
Pull the bottom drawer out most of the way. Work your way up pulling each drawer out a little less than the one below. Support the upper drawers with a dowel rod extending into the drawer below. Got drawers on both the right and left sides? Alternate the ones you plant in for a funky look. Use extra drawers for tool storage and such. The top of the dresser makes a nice work space. Or you could simply place some garden pots there.
Planks make step gardening easy.
Got scrap wood and something to support it? If you do,making a step garden is a breeze. Cement blocks are commonly used to hold planks for garden pots. Still, you could use any sturdy, stable same-size objects. Make each successive stack of supports one higher to form the steps. How simple is that?
Do make sure to support the center of longer planks.
Build a two sided step garden.
Whatever material you use, making your step garden two sided will increase planting capacity. Why waste all that available space, anyway? Make steps up one side and down the other for maximum usage.
Step up to the next size container.
Do you have containers which are similar, but different heights? Make a simple step garden by lining them up, step fashion, tall ones in the middle. This can be done with flower pots, trash cans, kitty litter buckets or whatever you have a lot of. You don't have to be conventional about it either. Try pyramid stacking for variety.
If your containers are not specifically made for planting:
*Check the label for toxicity information.
*Punch drainage holes in the containers.
*Use a base, such as a pallet to increase drainage.
Step garden walls can be made from brick, stone or wood borders.
This method works well for sloped yards, since the dirt is already there. Simply carve a spot in the hillside for your step garden borders. Make the borders slightly higher than the dirt they hold. That way, you have plenty of room to amend your soil.
Hillside step garden borders should be secure and stable to prevent erosion.
This article was previously published by this author on a closed Yahoo! property.