Tiered Garden Planting Ideas – Information On Gardening In Tiers
By: Laura Miller
Do want more garden space but your yard is too steep? Is ithard to mow the lawn because of the grade? Would you like more level space fora patio, pool or barbecue grill? Building a tiered garden might be thesolution.
What is a Tiered Garden?
A tiered garden consists of one or more retainingwalls which form two or more level areas. For homes that are built onhills, creating a tiered garden design will not only make the yard more usable,but it can also increase the value of the property by adding outdoor livingspace.
What should homeowners consider when building a tieredgarden? Safety is a major concern. The retaining walls require proper footing,anchoring and drainage to withstand the wrath mother nature hurls at them. Tomaximize safety, the tiered garden design might also include steps to accessthe various levels, lighting and, in some cases, a handrail or railing.
Building a Tiered Garden
Building a tiered garden can be a more advanced DIY project.It may require the use of heavy equipment, such as a backhoe or skid steer, andan in-depth understanding of outdoor construction techniques. For larger tieredgarden projects, hiring a retaining wall specialist or landscapedesigner can save homeowners money in the long run by avoiding costlymistakes.
Not all tiered projects need to be that big or expensive.Adding a tiered garden bed around a tree in the front yard or creatingmulti-level landscaping around the house can improve curb appeal. Man-maderetaining wall blocks have become a popular choice for gardening in tiers.These products are affordable, readily available and manufacturers offereasy-to-follow installation instructions.
Tiered Garden Planting Ideas
During the planning stages for a tiered garden bed, alsoconsider plant selection. Keep in mind different levels of a tiered garden cancreate various growing conditions. Higher levels will dry quicker than lowerones. Consider reserving those top tiers for succulents like portulaca,or drought-loving flowers such as gaillardia,verbenaor lantana.
Moisture retention will be better at lower levels,especially if there’s a water feature in the tiered garden. Planting ideas forthese lower levels can include moisture-loving plants such as irises,elephantears and ferns.
Upper levels and taller plants can also cast shadows onshorter, lower plants. Try hosta,bleedingheart or astilbefor those less sunny spots. These perennials don’t have long bloom times, buttheir attractive foliage keeps the garden interesting throughout the growingseason.
Finally, keep plant height in mind when making yourselections. One option is to plant taller perennials near the back of eachlevel while reserving the front of the tiered garden bed for shorter,long-blooming annuals. Choose phlox,poppiesor liliesto add a splash of color in spring and early summer while the annuals aregetting established. Then augment the garden with marigold,ageratumor petuniasfor waves of color that can be enjoyed all summer long!
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Hi lovegardening, that is nice, someone spent a lot of time and money doing all that hard landscaping.
Do you have anymore photos? A few different angles, like where the house situated, and side to side views.
How deep is the patio area? House walls to raised bed wall?
Is that steps going up centrally on both levels, up to the back wall trellis?
Or are they off centre?
Sorry a little difficult to make out in the shadows. Others may have better eyesight/ perception
It may be too late or difficult to stagger or move the top steps to one side so you have to travel rather than straight up the centre.
Though I do like the design as a more formal mirror image.
A few well chosen trailing plants to hang down spill over and soften the walls here and there would help to lead the eyes.
Depending on the size of the beds and garden. You could use some evergreen topiary type shrubs, or some obelisk's with climbers.
A better sense of the scale would help with advice.
Simple planting can be used to screen - like Verb. bonariensis, which is airy and can be put in the middle of beds, not just at the back, but for winter, you'd need something more permanent like a trellis screen or similar. Trellis on it's own can be a feature, especially if you pick the better quality ones with smaller apertures.
It doesn't look like you have a lot of depth in the planting areas, so something like that with clematis or similar, could also work, if you want colour from flowers as well.
If you pick an evergreen one or a single montana, you'll have a framework there all the time, which will provide glimpses through to the rest of the space. Along the back of the bottom tier would be the best place for that, but I can see you also have an access path there, so you'd need to pick carefully, and train growth horizontally to get good coverage.
It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word.
What is on that top tier section? It's the sort of area for a tree or a taller shrub that creates a slight canopy and some dappled shade. Euonymus Alatus springs to mind.
Plants like Hebes can come in all sizes and leaf shapes, nice domed clumps can create structure in the winter as well as create a nice contrast to more lighter planting. There's a front garden near where I live that is really steep. A clever mix of Eucalyptus Gunnii, Robinia Pseudoacacia 'Lace Lady', and Cotinus Coggygria frames sections of the garden so you can't immediately see everything in one go. Even in small spaces, taller and bigger plants anchors the whole garden together.
I agree, the borders by your property can be more deeper. That allows you to plant your clumps in zig zag formation rather than next to each other. That tends to create a more harmonious feel and also makes borders look more natural from all angles.Sorry for delay - here's some photos as promised
Our garden is steeply tiered, and not dissimilar to yours. Some ideas.
Big planter, big plant, helps to hide the retaining walls.
Prostrate/low growing plant (in this case an Acer), helps to soften a retaining wall
A Cotoneaster completely hiding a retaining wall, which acts as a nice foil for other plants, plus lots of pots, which break up the lines of the hard landscaping.
The other side of the garden, with more pots, tall plants, grasses to give movement.
Tall wispy plants at the front of the beds will create height, and hide what is behind. Try using trellis and bamboo canes with climbing plants, or grasses like Calmagrostis Karl Forster. Small trees grown as standards will do the same thing, and these can be in pots. A steeply tiered garden can be a pain, but you can also create lots of drama, good luck!
How to build an off the ground garden bed
Due to the constraint of space, I decided to build an off the ground planter and decided to make it tiered so the back tier had a trellis to support the vines for tomatoes and cucumbers.
I built the frame out of 2x4s and then used cedar fences to make the box using braces from National Hardware.
Since this planter will sit front and center in our backyard, it also looks pretty!
76 Free DIY Raised Garden Beds Plans
1. Two Tier Garden Bed
This raised garden bed has a very unique style. It is actually two-tier. Meaning it has a stair-step appearance.
The really cool thing about this design is that you can plant on both levels. So, if you have something you want to plant that might be taller then plant them on the bottom tier.
Then you can plant smaller plants or flowers on the second tier, and they will still be visible and get lots of sunlight.
2. The No-Frills Garden Bed
So maybe you aren’t looking for a unique design. Maybe you just want something that will keep your plants organized and looking sharp but will also be easy to build.
Well, look no further. This garden bed is a basic square with basic building instructions. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
So, if you are new to carpentry this might be a good entry-level raised garden bed project for you. And it will still add a nice look for your yard, too.
3. Simple Cedar Garden Boxes
If you have a fenced yard, these boxes will look great against it. This is actually one of my favorite traditional garden beds. The reason is that they are two boards high, which means gardening in them is much easier on your back.
But I also love the clean look of it all. And the cedar wood isn’t too bad either. So, if you are looking for an organized way to plant your flowers or vegetables, add these beauties to your backyard. They will certainly make your yard pop.
4. Landscaping Timbers Garden Beds
So have I ever mentioned that I have a ‘thing’ for landscaping timbers? Well, I do. They are usually inexpensive and have a way of adding organization and simple beauty to an area that was once chaotic and well, unattractive.
Why should the results for your garden beds be any different? You stack these beauties together and once again, you have an organized space for whatever vegetable or flower you wish to grow in that area.
5. Raised Bed With Benches
These are really sharp looking garden beds. Beyond the beauty that the wood brings to the picture, let’s just talk about the functionality of these raised beds.
First, they are pretty tall. This equates to less bending and a happier, less stressed back. But then, they also have benches which means you have areas to hold your necessary equipment or even a place to sit while you work in your flowers.
6. Fenced Garden Bed
Do you have pesky vegetable predators around your house? Oh, me too! We have rabbits and squirrels everywhere. All come with the territory when you live in the middle of the woods, right?
Well, if you have that problem then this garden bed just might be for you. It is three boards high which is great for the ease of working in your garden. But it also has a fence that goes around your garden bed. This might help keep your unwanted visitors out of what you have planted.
7. DIY Garden Enclosure
Okay, don’t let the picture confuse you. What you have here are three raised beds and a standing spot. All of which are enclosed by netting and a door.
This is great news for your flowers and plants because the enclosure means that they have less chance of being disturbed by any unwanted visitors. So there again, if you have a pest problem then you might want to consider giving this enclosure a go.
8. Garden Enclosure
Here is another garden enclosure. Isn’t it gorgeous? It gives your plants and flowers a safe place to grow and adds a bit of rustic charm being built from gorgeous wood.
I also love how it appears large enough to grow a small variety of what you might desire in your backyard. So, if you have certain plants that pests go out of their way to go after this might be a safe place to grow them successfully.
9. Raised Bed Planter Stand
This is a unique idea if you want to grow something fresh or pretty and place it in a smaller area. I could see this working wonderfully on my front porch. What a unique way to display your flowers without having them low to the ground.
Another great idea is if you are an apartment homesteader. This would be a great addition that could easily fit out on a balcony and grow a lot of fresh herbs and vegetables.
10. Raised Bed With Legs
I really like this idea for a raised garden bed. Again, let’s say you live in an apartment or want to grow something in a smaller space. This raised garden bed allows you to do just that.
Even more so, it is also portable. So if you don’t like the idea of something permanent, then you don’t have to worry about that in this case. If you decide you want it somewhere else from year to year you just have to move it.
11. DIY Raised Garden Beds
I really like these raised beds. They are absolutely gorgeous. What I love even more is that they appear to be very easy to construct. I say that because the lady who wrote this post had never built garden beds before, and she made these beds look gorgeous.
So, if you are new to building garden beds, this might be a good tutorial for you. Her list of instructions is very easy to read and so is her materials list. You might find yourself having these beds built in no time.
12. Puppy Proof Garden Beds
Do you have a dog that likes to dig? Especially in your garden beds? Yes, me too. I can feel your pain. My dog seems to think that if it is planted in one of the beds then it is her duty to dig it all up. I mean, how else is she supposed to sunbathe and roll in the dirt if those pesky plants stay in her way?
So, if you find yourself in this boat then these garden beds might be able to help you. They are taller so they make it difficult for most dogs to dig through them. I’d say you’d be pretty safe unless you are like me and have very agile dogs that would find jumping on top of these things their daily entertainment.
13. Elevated Garden Bed
This is a larger version of our garden bed with legs. It is basically a large box with legs under it. This is a great design because it does make it difficult for pests to find their way into your plants this way.
It is also a great design because think of how much easier it is going to be to plant, weed, and harvest when you don’t have to bend over. Considering my mornings during the summer are filled with pulling lots of weeds and ends with an aching back, this is making this elevated garden bed look all the better to me.
14. The Inexpensive Raised Garden Bed
I really like this garden bed and the tutorial. Why? Because it is not only beautiful, but she also offers tips on how to make it more budget-friendly.
So, if you are looking for a way to add subtle beauty to your backyard while also growing lots of plants then this is a great project to take on.
15. Striped Garden Bed
Such a simple addition to a basic raised garden bed that gives an aesthetic look! A great way to add a bit of style to your garden!
This is an easy to follow project and will look great in your front yard!
16. The Square Foot Garden Bed
This garden bed is truly unique. Imagine with me for a moment, that you don’t want an extremely large garden. You just need a small space to grow a few vegetables that you enjoy during the warmer months.
Well, if that is you then this garden bed is right up your alley. It is a raised bed that has a frame laid over it that delegates out certain spots for certain vegetables. It is a great way to organize a small garden.
17. DIY Tiered Herb Garden
This herb garden is gorgeous. Again, it is a very decorative way to grow herbs that you will use without creating an eyesore or taking up much space.
The herb garden would be a great addition to a front porch or even a back patio. It would give a fresh look to any sitting area and also be a convenient place which adds ease to taking care of them.
18. Hoop Garden Bed
This raised garden bed has an added feature that makes it extremely cool. So you plant your seeds or plants but then a frost hits. What do you do then?
Well, if you have this awesome garden bed, the answer is to simply drop the lid. This lid will protect your plants from frost while also giving you the opportunity to plant a little earlier or grow a little later in the season.
19. Tire Garden Beds
If you are on a budget or just like the look of unique things then this garden bed might be for you. It is often easy to find old tractor tires for little or no money.
Well, all you have to do is lay the tires out and fill them with dirt. Then plant your seedlings or seeds and you have your very own garden bed.
20. Curved Raised Beds
If you are someone that likes to add a little flair to your design then you might like this raised garden bed option.
They place multiple beds together to create a ‘U’ shape. It offers a really neat design while also keeping a lot of your plants closer together which makes caring for them a little easier.
21. The Ultimate Garden Bed
This garden bed tutorial has you covered. If you are new to building garden beds or growing plants, they walk you through each necessary step.
The design of this garden bed is a basic one, but they also show you how to add a protective cover for frost or birds which is always handy to help give your crop a fighting chance.
22. Planter Box
This is a basic but gorgeous design for a planter box. They placed their box right up against their fence. It is a good height which makes caring for your plants a little easier for you.
After building the basic structure, it just has to be filled with dirt and plant the plants you desire. It is an easy and beautiful way to add a little touch of color and life to your backyard.
23. Pallet Planter
So you already know if there is something that can be built, there is probably a way to build it out of a pallet. I, of course, am a fan of stuff built out of pallets because it is a sturdy, inexpensive material that is pretty easy to access.
This planter is higher off of the ground which makes using it easier. But it also has a great rustic look that adds a little extra charm to the yard it is in.
24. Herb Planter
I love herb planters. They look gorgeous and can brighten up any area they are in. I especially love this one with the unique table legs that accompany the elevated bed.
Another benefit of having herbs in an elevated bed is the elevation. It makes working on your herbs fun and no longer backbreaking work.
25. Raised Garden Bed Benches
Would you like to add these garden beds to your yard while also adding some extra sitting space? If so, this design is for you. Imagine sitting in your yard fully surrounded by gorgeous flowers and plants.
Not to mention when it came time to weed or harvest you could literally sit down while you work. That certainly makes for a more leisurely and enjoyable experience.
26. Sleeper Garden Bed
This is a creative DIY project that uses recycled railroad ties or sleepers as a frame for your new garden bed.
A clean look that is sturdy and functional. Besides, a DIY project can’t get too much easier than this!
27. Cement Block Raised Garden Beds
These had to be mentioned. I love these garden beds because these are what fill my fenced in backyard.
We actually chose to go with these garden beds because they are inexpensive and easy to put together. You basically lay them down where you want them and fill them up. And I enjoy the look of them as well.
28. Natural Wood Garden Bed
Have you recently done a project that required clearing some land? And now you have a ton of extra twigs and limbs left over? Well, don’t burn them or throw them away.
Why? Because with a little framing, you can actually use those limbs to create a natural planting box. It is very unique and costs basically nothing to make. That is obviously an added bonus to this project.
29. Dresser Herb Garden
I love upcycling. It is so interesting to see all of the different ways you can reuse an item that is no longer being used for its original purpose.
Well, this herb garden is no different. They just pulled out the dresser drawers and added dirt. Then planted herbs in them. It offers a very unique look but is really neat too.
30. Raised Garden Beds For Vegetables
This tutorial is all about creating inexpensive raised beds to help your family grow more of your own food. Growing your own food is an important part of living a more self-sustained lifestyle and saving money.
So, creating your own garden beds that add a beautiful touch is really just an investment that will hopefully save you quite a few dollars down the road.
31. DIY Timber Raised Beds
I really like this DIY tutorial. They lay everything out for you all nice and neat. The materials list is very easy to follow and so are the steps to building this creation.
Ultimately, I like the look of these DIY garden beds. They have a rustic feel while also providing a nice touch of elegance to any yard.
32. Elevated Raised Garden Bed
This is a smaller elevated raised garden bed. It would be good for planting a small garden or even using it for herbs.
What I like the most about elevated garden beds is the ease of using them. If you’ve ever grown a large garden then you know why ease is such a great thing if gardening in raised beds.
33. Mini Elevated Raised Garden Bed
I like the look of making a full garden out of mini elevated garden beds. Basically, they built a bunch of elevated garden beds.
Then they placed them together so they could have a garden just above the ground and not have to deal with much weeding. A very good idea, if you ask me.
34. Recycle Masonry Herb Garden
This is a very interesting raised bed herb garden. The reason is that he took old masonry parts and put them together to create a unique shape.
Then he filled the spare parts with dirt and planted his herbs. When it grew, it is actually a beautiful piece that is sure to create conversation when seen by visitors.
35. U-Shaped Raised Garden Bed
I like the u-shape raised garden bed. Though it isn’t elevated, it still makes caring for your plants a little easier.
The u-shape allows you to get where you need to be to care for your plants much easier than if you had to reach over larger square garden beds.
36. 2×2 Planter
This planter is a petite raised garden bed. But not everyone needs large planters.
So, if you are someone that lives in an apartment or duplex and doesn’t have a lot of room for a larger planter, then this could certainly do the trick. You could even create a few of them to grow a variety of herbs and vegetables if desired.
37. The Adjustable Planter Bed
The person that wrote this post brought up a very valid point. They said that if you buy a prefab kit for a garden bed it isn’t always adjustable to fit in your specific area.
Well, this one is. He shows you how to make it fit your exact space. The plans are very detailed and easy to read too. That should help make this project a little easier to tackle.
38. Decorative Raised Planter
This planter is a very unique design. I personally would love to have it in my backyard because of the design on the sides.
Another great feature of this planter is its size. It appears to be large enough to plant quite a variety. So, if you are looking for a unique grow space this might be it.