Raised Garden Beds With Rocks

Building Beautiful and Functional Raised Garden Beds with Rocks

These days, raised garden beds are all the rage. The benefits they offer are numerous, which is why we finally decided to incorporate them into our garden. However, we didn’t want the typical wooden or metal beds. Instead, we wanted our raised beds to seamlessly blend in with the aesthetics of our 1910 Victorian shingle-style home. Finding the perfect solution took some time, but we’re thrilled to share our journey with you.

Why Choose Raised Garden Beds?

Before diving into the process of building raised garden beds, it’s essential to understand the advantages and disadvantages they bring. Fortunately, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Here’s why you should consider them for your garden:

  1. Weed Control: Growing vegetables in raised garden beds helps keep pesky weeds in check.
  2. Easy on the Back and Knees: The raised beds make planting, tending, and harvesting a breeze, sparing you from back and knee strain.
  3. Soil Protection: Clearly defined bed spaces ensure that nobody walks on the soil, keeping it fluffy and uncompacted.
  4. Soil Management: Filling a frame with quality soil is much simpler than amending the existing ground-level soil.

good example of wooden raised garden beds
Photo: Good example of wooden raised garden beds

Of course, there are a few downsides to consider as well. Raised beds tend to require more water than traditional ground planting. Additionally, the cost can vary depending on the materials used and the number of beds you decide to build. However, we believe these minor inconveniences are well worth the benefits.

Building Raised Garden Beds with Rocks

While raised garden beds built with wood or metal are common, using rocks is a more unique approach. It may be challenging to find tutorials specifically focused on rock beds, but don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.

In our area, bluestone rocks are a native material often used in low walls around gardens. Since our 1910 Victorian home already had these walls, we thought raised beds built with rocks would seamlessly blend into our garden’s existing hardscapes.

rock garden wall
Photo: Rock garden wall

To our advantage, our neighbor had given us a pile of rocks and thick flagstone that perfectly matched the bluestone used in our garden. We couldn’t say no to free materials!

The Process of Building Raised Beds with Rocks

While numerous tutorials cover building raised beds with wood or metal, the concept for rock beds remains the same. Here’s how we approached it:

  1. Plan the Size: Determine the desired dimensions for your beds. We chose 4′ x 9′, which worked well for our space. A width of 4′ allows easy access from both sides, while the length can vary depending on your needs.
  2. Mark the Corners: Use wooden stakes and string to mark the four corners of your beds.

building raised garden beds
Photo: Building raised garden beds

  1. Gather the Rocks: If you have a pile of rocks like we did, transport them to the bed location using a wheelbarrow. Sturdy rocks work best for the bottom, while larger stones serve as corner supports.

rocks and flagstone for raised garden beds
Photo: Rocks and flagstone for raised garden beds

  1. Stack the Rocks: Start stacking the rocks, similar to playing Tetris. Begin with the thicker, flatter pieces for the bottom layer, and use larger rocks for the corners. Continue stacking until you reach your desired height, making adjustments as necessary.

rock garden bed
Photo: Rock garden bed

Filling Your Vegetable Beds

To prepare your beds for planting, you need to address the existing weeds and fill them with suitable soil. Here’s the process we followed:

  1. Weed Control: Lay down cardboard inside the stone frames to suppress existing weeds such as oxalis and grass.

top soil for garden beds
Photo: Top soil for garden beds

  1. Acquire Quality Soil: Purchase locally-sourced garden soil that consists of sandy loam, green waste compost, horse manure, cow manure, grape compost, and fir bark. We opted for 3 cubic yards, which we picked up in two runs using a pickup truck.

  2. Fill the Beds: Use shovels, buckets, and wheelbarrows to transfer the garden soil into the beds, leveling it out as you go. Depending on the depth you desire, you may need to raise the walls of the beds to accommodate additional soil.

raised garden beds with rocks
Photo: Raised garden beds with rocks

Planting Time!

With the beds filled and soil leveled, it’s time for planting. While some seeds can be directly sown into the beds, others may require transplanting once they’ve grown. We recommend using durable copper plant labels to add a touch of elegance to your garden beds.

planting raised garden beds
Photo: Planting raised garden beds

We can’t wait to see how our vegetables grow and how our raised rock garden beds evolve over time. Living in Northern California, we hope to enjoy three to four seasons of bountiful harvests. Nothing beats the satisfaction of growing your own produce, like cabbage for homemade sauerkraut!


If you’re considering raised garden beds, don’t limit yourself to the traditional wood or metal options. Building beds with rocks can add a unique and aesthetically pleasing touch to your garden. Follow our process, adapt it to your needs, and enjoy the benefits of raised beds built with rocks. We’d love to hear about your experiences with raised garden beds in the comments below!

More Garden Posts You Might Like:

  • “5+ Garden Mistakes I’m Glad I Made”
  • “Super Simple Drip Irrigation for Raised Garden Beds”

How to build raised garden beds with rocks
Photo: How to build raised garden beds with rocks

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