How to make a raised bed, construct steps, build a retaining wall and landscape your garden

By Andy McIndoe

How to build raised bes, steps and walls

There are so many landscaping features that it would be nice to be able to construct in a garden, but without the hard work and skills so often required. Bricks and mortar and anything requiring foundations are just not appealing to most of us. So is timber an option? Is it easier and will it last?

1 Steps

In my first garden I had to build a low retaining wall, with steps from the lower patio to the upper level of the garden. I did it with railway sleepers, which worked well; but at the time they were inexpensive. However, they were monumentally heavy and oozed tar every time the sun came out. I used railway sleepers again in my present garden, to step up to the upper level of the terrace which is edged with a rill of water. Again they worked, but they were difficult to manage and to get level because of their weight. I wished then I could buy a timber system that was easy to install, stable, long lasting and didn’t cost the earth. If WoodblocX had been available then I would certainly have used them.

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WoodblocX is a revolutionary way of landscaping your garden and constructing garden features using chunky wooden blocX anchored together using large dowels made from recycled plastic. The system needs no foundation and will be extremely solid, with many connections holding it together. It is designed to last; it is made from specially selected pine that is pressure treated twice during the manufacturing process. The pine is cut from specific parts of the tree to avoid distortion and cracking. Even in contact with the soil it won’t rot after 20 years.

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You can use WoodblocX to make raised beds for growing vegetables, raised ponds and easy access planters, steps, retaining walls, kerbs and edging. It’s an incredibly versatile system that can take on curves and shapes and so won’t stifle your creativity.

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If I had made my retaining wall from WoodblocX I could have gone to the website and used the online wall calculator to find component quantities and prices. If you are constructing long walls they need buttresses on the back to prevent them being pushed over by the retained earth. The buttresses and wall are held in place by galvanised spikes which go deep into the ground. If you want a specific design, perhaps with steps, contact WoodblocX and they design it for you.

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If you are making a raised bed you can choose from a range of kits. The WoodblocX website shows you the possibilities and you can choose from a range of popular kits, or you can specify your own dimensions and the calculator works out the price. Alternatively WoodblocX will do the designing for you; you just tell them what you want. There are some great little videos which help you with the thinking process and give you tips on construction. Orders are delivered to your door on a pallet with full instructions. Because the blocX and rest of the kit are light and easy to manage its easy to transport through the house, or down to the far end of the garden in a wheelbarrow.

You can use the raised bed kits to make raised ponds. For larger raised ponds where the pressure of the water is greater a double wall structure is stronger. The second wall can be either outside the pond, creating a surrounding planter or seat, or inside the pond under the surface creating a useful ledge for aquatic plants.

7 boxed pond

I liked the idea of using WoodblocX to make a raised bed on the vegetable patch. I thought I would try a small one to start with and see how I got on. I’m no good at DIY, so the appeal of making a raised bed from timber boards and posts was not great; I felt its chances of success were limited. I ordered the one suitable for a herb garden which makes a raised bed 1500mm x 750mm (5ft x 2ft 6ins). It is 350mm (14”) high and like all raised beds is finished with shaped capping that is cut to size. I received an e mail from WoodblocX in advance of my delivery telling me when it was being delivered and who was delivering it, giving me the opportunity to make arrangements.

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My raised bed arrived on a pallet as promised, with a neat document giving me full instructions – all I need to do now is to follow them. I’m going to construct it on the vegetable patch, straight onto the soil. I’ll also have to decide what to fill it with. That’s going to be the subject of my next blog and you can find out how I get on.

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Check out the WoodblocX website now for lots of inspiration and ways to transform your garden:


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Andy McIndoe

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