Raised garden beds make gardening more manageable, and they can be quite an attractive landscape feature. However, these garden beds are prone to slipping, spilling, aamand collapsing if you don’t fortify them properly – which is why it’s always best to use stakes.
Raised garden beds don’t need to be staked unless your bed is on an incline. However, staking your garden bed will ensure that the walls don’t collapse or shift in the future, so it’s always beneficial to stabilize and fortify it with stakes, even on flat ground.
In this article, I’ll tell you more about why you may want to stake a raised garden bed and how to get the job done right. I’ll also tell you some other ways to stabilize your garden bed so that it doesn’t shift, fall, or collapse in the coming years.
Why Should You Stake a Raised Garden Bed?
You should stake a raised garden bed to keep the bed in place and reinforce the walls. Stakes can anchor your bed, ensuring it stays upright and in place, even if soil erosion, gravity, or decay attempt to pull it down.
Raised garden beds are fantastic, but they are subject to gravity since they don’t have a foundation beneath the topsoil. If you don’t use stakes, especially on sloping ground, your garden bed may slowly shift downhill, falling to pieces as it goes.
Likewise, the walls may collapse as the bed material degrades, leaving you with a pile of spilled soil and wasted material.
Stakes can fight these adverse factors, rooting your bed deep into the ground. They can keep the bed’s walls from falling, form a foundation to prevent sliding, and make your garden bed last much longer.
Because of these benefits, staking down your bed is always the best practice.
How Do You Stabilize a Raised Garden Bed?
There’s no such thing as too much stabilization when building a garden bed. Adding stakes is one step in the right direction, but it’s still critical to add as much reinforcement as possible if you want your raised bed to last.
You can stabilize a raised garden bed by preparing your plot, inserting stakes into the corners or edges of the bed’s walls, using long decking screws to make joints between walls, and fortifying the exterior corners with brackets or blocks.
Even if your raised bed looks strong the day you build it, as time passes, gravity and decay will wear down the bed’s walls, weakening the structure. So, it is critical to do the job right the first time if you want your raised bed to last.
There are many creative ways to stabilize garden beds, so the sky’s the limit, as long as you incorporate some fortification to keep everything in place.
Here are some ways you can sure up your garden bed and keep it intact:
Prepare Your Plot Properly
Plot preparation is essential when creating or installing any raised bed. Clearing the ground and leveling the area can add quite a few years to the lifespan of your structure since it won’t have to fight gravity and weeds to stay intact.
To prepare the plot, measure out the space your garden will take up, then dig up the area to remove any grass or weeds, ensuring that you dig up all the roots. Then, add some landscaping fabric to the base of the bed to keep tree roots, pests, and weeds from invading your new garden plot.
Secure the Corner Joints With Long Screws
If you want a wooden garden bed to be strong (and stay strong), you’ll need to secure the joints in the corners.
When building a frame for a wooden raised bed, you must connect the corners with long exterior screws (like screws for constructing decks and patios) that reach deep into your planks. Be sure to get wood screws that have a rust-proof weather-resistant finish.
You should join every plank with at least one of these screws when constructing your bed. However, I usually use at least two per plank for the strongest possible joints.
Then, as an extra precaution, I recommend connecting your planks to your bed’s stakes with a few of these screws.
Adding a thin line of wood glue as you screw in the planks can also ensure that the joints never come undone.
Anchor the Bed With Stakes
Of course, this list would not be complete without mentioning stakes. Stakes go deep into the ground, anchoring your bed to ensure that it never shifts, slides, or falls apart. Although these are unnecessary when adding a raised bed to flat ground, they are critical when building on a slope.
Still, stakes will only make your garden bed sturdier, so I recommend adding them to a flat-ground bed.
Finish Off Joints With Brackets
Brackets can add metal reinforcement to the corners of a garden bed, which will keep wooden or plastic bed walls from warping, sliding, and falling off. Plus, brackets can trap in your bed’s soil, ensuring that the bed looks clean and that you don’t lose a pinch of your soil.
I always use metal corner brace brackets. You can use these to attach your bed’s corner joints or screw two in each corner to join the walls of your raised bed to the stakes. They hold up much better than wood. Be sure to get brackets that are rust-proof for outdoor use.
Add Blocks, Stones, or Structural Elements to the Walls’ Bases
Any reinforcements you can find will help keep your raised bed intact and in place. Placing stones, pavers, cinder blocks, bricks, and landscape edging along the bottom or corners of your garden bed are fantastic ideas to ensure that it never slides, collapses, or shifts. Feel free to get creative with it, and keep reinforcing!
How to Stake a Raised Garden Bed
Garden beds generally need four stakes overall, with one stake for each corner of the raised box. If your garden bed is ovular or circular, you’ll still want to approximate four “corners” and place the stakes along the bed’s sides.
Most people use sharpened wooden 2″ by 2″s (5.08 cm by 5.08 cm) to create their garden stakes. These stakes should ideally be hardwood, and the best woods for this purpose are cedar, oak, or hickory, but just about anything will do. You can even repurpose old pool cues, golf clubs, broom handles, or anything else you have lying around.
However, the stakes must be long enough. Each stake should be able to descend 8 to 12 inches (20.32 to 30.48 cm) into the ground with enough height left over to reach the top of your garden bed.
So, for example, if your garden bed is 4 feet (1.2 m) tall, each stake should be at least 4 feet and 8 inches (1.42 m) long.
Once you have your stakes ready, you can install them.
To do so:
Mark the Areas Where You Want to Drive the Stakes
If your garden bed is rectangular or square, mark the interior side of each corner. If your garden bed is circular or ovular, plot a place for each stake against the interior side of the bed’s borders, approximating “corners” – it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Mark the Stakes 8-12 Inches (20.3 to 30.48 cm) From the Bottom
To ensure that you drive the stakes into the ground deep enough, measure 8-12 inches (20.3 to 30.48 cm) from the stake’s tip, then use a pencil or permanent marker to mark the spot.
Drive the Stakes
Next, use a mallet or hammer to drive the stakes. The mark you made on the stakes should sit just beneath the ground when you have finished.
Secure Your Garden Bed to the Stakes
If your garden bed is wooden or plastic, drill a couple of screws connecting the walls to the stakes. This extra measure will ensure that the walls never shift.
Once your stakes are in, you can add some soil and plant away!
Staking your garden bed isn’t always necessary, but it’s always best to do so. Staking is critical when you place a raised bed on a plot of sloping ground since the incline might cause the bed to shift or slide away over time. In addition, stakes provide wall reinforcement, benefiting any garden bed, even on flat terrain.
If you want to make your bed as secure as possible, you may also want to take care when preparing your plot, use long exterior screws and brackets to construct the bed, and line the base with heavy materials.