Rock-edged Raised Garden Bed - Knowledgebase Question

Boise, ID
Avatar for kpatlovich
Question by kpatlovich
August 1, 1999
We recently had a raised garden bed put in our backyard and it is surrounded by rocks. The landscaper told us that the rocks would be able to provide heat for the plants and keep the temperature more consistent for the plants. He suggested that we plant something between the rocks to reduce the erosion from the raised bed. One suggestion was strawberries, but we were concerned that they would spread too much. Do you have any other suggestions to plant between these rocks--somthing that would not get too large, keep the soil in the raised bed, and also keep the grass out from the lawn.

Answer from NGA
August 1, 1999
In my experience, no plant can compete with the grass from the lawn, so the best answer for that is to keep the grass away from the edge of the bed. You can dig it out by hand to make a cut edge, use a weed flame tool, edge, or place weed barrier fabric or black plastic under the rock edging to keep the grass out.

There are several things you can do to stop erosion from the beds. A few inches of shredded bark mulch will help keep the soil in place and will also work itself into the niches between the rocks. You can also sprinkle smaller pebbles into the gaps. Spreading, trailing, and creeping plants such as semperivums (hens and chicks), creeping thyme, creeping phlox, achillea millefolium (thread-leafed yarrow), and assorted varieties of sedum can also help. Before planting, make sure there's enough soil between the rocks for them to root properly.You will find, however, that they may need to be controlled over time or they will cover up the rocks. Finally, once the soil has settled you should find that any erosion slows considerably.

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