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Elevated Gardening Bed

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Project by USMCRet93 posted 04-16-2016 03:32 PM 983 views 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently had the idea of building a gardening bed for use by the residents of the nursing home where I work. Knowing that many of these people (in their 70’s and 80’s) would be unable to get down on the ground, I knew that this would have to be an elevated bed. I decided to build the gardening bed a height of 36 inches. I used 4×4 posts for legs, 2×12 for the sides and ends, 2×4 cross bracing, and 1/2 inch plywood for the bottom of the bed and for a bottom shelf. All wood used in this project was pressure treated wood, purchased from a local “big box” store. I attached the 2×12 sides and ends to the posts using 1/4×3 inch lag screws, countersunk into the wood (to avoid people getting scratched by the bolt heads). Once I had the basic frame constructed, I added 2×4 bracing across the bed to give additional support to the bottom where the soil would rest. I then added another level of frame and bracing near the bottom of the legs for a bottom shelf. After completing the bed, we flipped it upright and added a layer of plastic sheeting (with holes cut in it to match drain holes previously cut in the plywood for drainage), a layer of weed barrier cloth (to keep the dirt in, while allowing water to drain out), and the dirt (Miracle Gro gardening soil). After adding the soil, I remembered the wooden dowels I wanted to add to the ends of the bed for support of climbing plants….. oops!

Then came the FUN part….. watching the residents of the nursing home having the enjoyment of planting and watering the plants we provided. I am sorry there are no pictures of this process, but there are “privacy” issues involved that I have to respect. I will say that in the few days this project has been completed some of these folks have become very protective of “their” plants.

I know that my project is not a “thing of beauty”.... I am not a carpenter, I’m a Physical Therapist. But I did my best to build a gardening bed that would be safe and strong for the folks who will get to use it, and I hope it is something that will last for a number of years.

-- Live to dive.... dive to LIVE!





12 comments so far

View majuvla's profile

majuvla

9097 posts in 2328 days


#1 posted 04-16-2016 04:36 PM

It’s very kind of you to make this. It will be a source of pleasure for many residents.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View jim65's profile

jim65

805 posts in 1393 days


#2 posted 04-16-2016 07:15 PM

Wonderful! Great project and a great cause, I am sure they residents will spend many enjoyable hours gardening with this and not have to worry about standing up again. great project!

-- Jim, Marostica Italy

View isotope's profile

isotope

146 posts in 1084 days


#3 posted 04-16-2016 07:29 PM

Great project. I’m sure the residents are thankful of your efforts.
Thanks for sharing.

View lennyk's profile

lennyk

30 posts in 292 days


#4 posted 04-16-2016 09:44 PM

Excellent, is the wood at base of solid protected from eventual water damage ?

View bruc101's profile

bruc101

1077 posts in 3002 days


#5 posted 04-16-2016 10:05 PM

Awesome project and you may be surprised how much that will help with the minds of the residents.

-- Bruce Free Plans http://plans.sawmillvalley.org

View USMCRet93's profile

USMCRet93

32 posts in 682 days


#6 posted 04-16-2016 11:34 PM



Excellent, is the wood at base of solid protected from eventual water damage ?

- lennyk

Aside from being pressure treated, no it’s not. I paid for this project out of my own pocket, and when I passed $300.00 in materials, my wife’s eyebrows started going up a bit…....

-- Live to dive.... dive to LIVE!

View USMCRet93's profile

USMCRet93

32 posts in 682 days


#7 posted 04-16-2016 11:39 PM



Awesome project and you may be surprised how much that will help with the minds of the residents.

- bruc101

I’m sure you are correct. And it gives them a “reason” to go outside. So many of these people (nursing home residents) seldom ever leave their rooms, much less go outside unless they are going to a Dr’s appointment. I always encourage my patients to get out and do SOMETHING, anything that they may be interested in. You would be surprised how much of a difference it makes in their physical and emotional abilities when they get involved with activities that they enjoy.

-- Live to dive.... dive to LIVE!

View USMCRet93's profile

USMCRet93

32 posts in 682 days


#8 posted 04-16-2016 11:42 PM



Wonderful! Great project and a great cause, I am sure they residents will spend many enjoyable hours gardening with this and not have to worry about standing up again. great project!

- jim65


The ones that can stand are encouraged to do so, as much as they can/will tolerate. For others that can’t/won’t stand…. well I tried to make sure that they too could reach things while sitting in a wheel chair.

-- Live to dive.... dive to LIVE!

View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

185 posts in 1675 days


#9 posted 04-17-2016 06:24 PM

That’s a very nice thing to do for the residents. I’m a firm believer that what you do comes back at the end in a thousand little ways.

If you decide to build another one at some point or if you want to do one for personal use, you might look at the link below on self watering raised beds. Obviously the intent of this is not minimal maintenance, but getting the residents out doing something they enjoy. Down here in Houston, the heat in the middle of the summer coupled with some periods of dry weather make keeping a regular garden a challenge sometimes to keep watered. I’ve used raised beds of various sizes for a while for different reasons and I’ve done the last few as self-watering setups which has really cut down on the accidental vegetable murder. You can dress up the outside with cedar pickets as lap siding to give it a decorative look.

For residents in a wheel chair, you could build one more as a planter without the legs to get it down closer to the ground. This will let you generally use lighter lumber as it won’t need to be as beefy since it could be supported along its length on the ground.

Mike
http://www.familyhandyman.com/landscaping/planters/build-your-own-self-watering-planter/view-all

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View USMCRet93's profile

USMCRet93

32 posts in 682 days


#10 posted 04-17-2016 08:41 PM


That s a very nice thing to do for the residents. I m a firm believer that what you do comes back at the end in a thousand little ways.
http://www.familyhandyman.com/landscaping/planters/build-your-own-self-watering-planter/view-all

- MikeDS

Mike, I agree with you…. what goes around, comes back around…. otherwise known as karma. I have built a number (5) of sub-irrigated gardening beds for my wife and she (who is the gardener in the family) swears by them. I have 2 videos on Youtube if you care to check them out on how I built the ones for my wife. They can be found at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TKisKuAwL4 and
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRrQq0acwd4

After looking at your webpage, it seems we used a number of the same ideas.

-- Live to dive.... dive to LIVE!

View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

185 posts in 1675 days


#11 posted 04-18-2016 11:09 PM

I like the videos, a good easy to follow method.

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View Ted Ewen's profile

Ted Ewen

187 posts in 527 days


#12 posted 04-21-2016 09:09 PM

Oh, given the joy it will bring I’d say it is certainly a thing of beauty. Good on you.

-- Show us a man who never makes a mistake and we will show a man who never makes anything. The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass.

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