How to Line a Garden Bed

What You'll Need
Landscape fabric or newspaper
Mesh hardware cloth
Soil mixture

If you have decided to make your own raised garden bed, you will need to know how to line it. The liner separates the unfit soil from the rich compost or soil mix you are filling the bed with. As an added bonus, it will also protect against unwanted animal visitors. The benefits are of this project is many, and the process is simple. Just follow these easy steps and you are ready to go.

Step 1: Measure and Cut your Materials

By this time in the project, you have chosen your location, decided on your building materials, constructed, and hopefully oriented your box north to south to take advantage of the sun. Remember that not all wood is ideal for this type of project, if you plan to grow vegetables, avoid wood treated with toxins. You do not even have to use wood. Any durable material, like brick or rock, can be used. You have also probably reinforced the frame and decided what sort of plants you want to grow. But, before you can plant, you need to line the bed. A raised garden bed is often used when the soil beneath it is somehow unfit for planting. The liner is then necessary to create a barrier between the unfit soil and the soil in which you will plant your flowers or vegetables.

First, measure the length and width of your box to determine how much liner you need. Next add 4 inches to both the length and the width. The extra material will be used to make a kind of lip around the walls of your garden. Cut your materials based on those measurements. You will need more than one piece of material.

Step 2: Install Material in Layers

To keep burrowing animals out of your garden bed, you should start with a bottom layer of mesh hardware cloth. Using a pre-cut layer, place it at the bottom of your bed and fold the mesh up around the edges to create a lip. Next you should install a couple of layers of either your recycled newspaper or landscape fabric, creating the same lip as with the mesh. Remember that you are trying to make a barrier.

Step 3: Fill Bed

Now that your liner is in place, fill your garden bed with your soil mixture or compost. In order to keep the liner securely in place, pack the soil down a bit along the outside of the box and in the corners. This ensures that the moles and gophers will have a harder time pushing through your barrier and that your plants will not do the same.

Now that you have completed the initial set up for your garden bed, you can start planting. Remember to consider irrigation set-ups for the garden. Also, be mindful that your box is not being overfilled. Between planting, you will want to enrich your soil. If you are planting vegetables or flowers, consider looking for nutrient enriched soil specifically geared toward your planting goals. Either way, your garden bed is lined and protected. Have fun.