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Homemade Concrete Raised Beds

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Post  OhioGardener 9/11/2019, 12:33 pm

This concept would make some really durable, and very decorative raised beds. Make-Your-Own forms, pour concrete in the forms, cure the concrete, and then assemble the beds. The beds could be stacked 2 or 3 high by using longer steel rods to make them higher - us old people don't like bending over so much.


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Post  yolos 9/11/2019, 7:23 pm

Yea, I saw this video already and am very intrigued.
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Post  donnainzone5 9/12/2019, 12:38 pm

I wonder how much it would cost to have someone make these beds for me?
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Post  sanderson 9/12/2019, 2:50 pm

Donna - $$

This video was fascinating. He does such clean cuts, plus has all the tools necessary.

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Post  donnainzone5 9/12/2019, 3:41 pm

Sanderson,

My own estimate would be more like $$$$$!
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Post  sanderson 9/12/2019, 4:45 pm

rofl   And in my case, a divorce!  "Hun, I would like to replace all of the wood beds you built for me with concrete beds   . . .  wait where are you going?"

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Post  has55 9/12/2019, 5:02 pm

@sanderson wrote:rofl   And in my case, a divorce!  "Hun, I would like to replace all of the wood beds you built for me with concrete beds   . . .  wait where are you going?"
lol!
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Post  has55 9/13/2019, 4:23 am

a friend of mines said he estimate 12.00 for the cement to do the walls. The cost would be in making the forms, but that would be a saving too, because you can use it again and again. the CSA mortar mix cost 17.00, so it would cost about 40.00 worth of cement.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 9/13/2019, 7:36 am

We talked in the past about doing something similar... Just haven't gotten there yet.
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Post  OhioGardener 9/13/2019, 8:23 am

I have a friend that makes concrete lawn figures/decorations for a living.  I'll see if I can get him to look at the video and see what he thinks - he isn't a tech savvy person, so that may be a challenge, though.

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Post  donnainzone5 9/13/2019, 12:57 pm

has55,

I think the cost would be mostly in the labor.  The time, skills, tools, and expertise it would take would probably be beyond the reach of most of us.
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Post  OhioGardener 9/13/2019, 1:23 pm

You are right Donna, but that would be an up-front cost to make the patterns/molds. Once they are made, the making & pouring the concrete would be minimal cost, and the molds would be used over and over to make as many side pieces as necessary.  One of the neat things about the design is that the panels could be made 4' long, and then they could be used for the end pieces of the bed and multiple panels used for the bed so that the finished size could be 4' x 4', 4' x 8', 4' x 12', etc., but just adding more side panels. I would probably make the panels 10" high so they could be stacked and have the bed 20" high. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.........lots of potential....   Very Happy

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Post  has55 9/13/2019, 11:42 pm

@donnainzone5 wrote:has55,

I think the cost would be mostly in the labor.  The time, skills, tools, and expertise it would take would probably be beyond the reach of most of us.
you're right about the labor, but I agree with OG, after it built, you have molds that you can use over and over and over....Very Happy

 I'm not a carpenter, I'm going to have a couple of my carpenter friends to look at building me  a few sides. I can do the mortar mixing and pouring.
I will build the sides 10" high as OG suggested.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 9/14/2019, 5:58 am

I also agree with the 10" height. That will allow me to put in more mulch & have a little extra space so it's not full to the very top.

I will probably also add hooks to the wet sides/tops so that when it's dry, I can hook something like weed blocker over the tops of the beds to prevent my neighbor's tree seeds from getting in there.

Gotta think about how to set up my irrigation hoses too..... That means small holes built into the sides before pouring.... Hmmmmmm.......
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Post  has55 9/14/2019, 10:56 am

@AtlantaMarie wrote:
Gotta think about how to set up my irrigation hoses too.....  That means small holes built into the sides before pouring....  Hmmmmmm.......
I just ran a pipe under my beds, the to the top surface, put on a 90 degree coupler, then connected to irrigation line, This will work with drip irrigation. These are old pictures. I now have a valve cover over the cut off valve  and a clean out line at the other end in case anything gets clogged. You know, "murphy law".
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Post  OhioGardener 9/14/2019, 11:11 am

@has55 wrote:I just ran a pipe under my beds, the to the top surface, put on a 90 degree coupler, then connected to irrigation line, This will work with drip irrigation. These are old pictures. I now have a valve cover over the cut off valve  and a clean out line at the other end in case anything gets clogged. You know, "murphy law".

Interesting, I did nearly the same thing except I ran the pipe up the outside of the beds, and put the shut off valve in the upright pipe. The beds were already built and in use for a couple years when I decided to add drip irrigation, so I just retrofitted them with the pipes and tubing.

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Post  AtlantaMarie 9/15/2019, 10:15 am

Some interesting ideas... Thanks, guys! I use a couple of 300-gallon totes for gardening, so it would be gravity fed. But I think that's do-able...
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Post  OhioGardener 9/15/2019, 10:21 am

Sure it is possible, AM! A friend of mine build a gravity fed drip irrigation, but he had to design a pump with a float switch to pump the water up from the rain barrel to the tank for gravity feed. Still works, though.

Meanwhile check out this article DIY Drip Irrigation System: Irrigate from Rain Barrels by Gravity Feed

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Post  plantoid 9/20/2019, 4:45 pm

Found the cast side videon  interesting especially in the lightweight  mortar …they can always be fence coat spray painted deep dark green on the outer faces so they don't stand out like a sore thumb once they have dried.

My engineer mind says  use folded 2 mm or 3 mm steel forms with over centre  clips to pull the parts together ,  for screws in wood will not last very long if you want to make say 60 frames for 15 raised beds or perhaps use brass or stainless screw thread inserts in the timber and proper  full thread 1/4 galv steel bolts with big flat penny washers  . 
 
 No need for super long pins either .  you'll only need to tap the bottom  lift pins down in to pre drilled holes in a foundstion say 2 " down into the plastic tubes then the upper lifts will still be able to be strongly located .

 I'd also  dig in a simple 12 " x  12 " foundation footing for the frames to sit on leaving a decent hole in the middle for drainage .  Just setting the base lift on bare soil is asking for movement of the soil & for small animals to burrow in under the thin wall. 

 Looking at weights  of 30 pounds plus per finished light weight 48 inch long side wall it might be easier to redesign his whole idea and cast the whole box inside two fabricated skins  on a concrete foundation using oiled steel side walls inside & outside to the finished height with a simple easily removable joint plate  covering a 2 inch gap in the vertical middle of the walls so you can easily  take the metal forms off when they the mortar  is set  .  Galv or stainless steel chicken wire in the middle of the concrete is sufficient rather than the more expensive  reinforcing steel mesh  he used . 

 If such walling was done in 3 mm galv plate they would most likely work out cheaper than using wood and also have a decent resale value when you have had all your beds made


Last edited by plantoid on 9/20/2019, 4:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  plantoid 9/20/2019, 4:49 pm

@AtlantaMarie wrote:I also agree with the 10" height.  That will allow me to put in more mulch & have a little extra space so it's not full to the very top.  

I will probably also add hooks to the wet sides/tops so that when it's dry, I can hook something like weed blocker over the tops of the beds to prevent my neighbor's tree seeds from getting in there.

Gotta think about how to set up my irrigation hoses too.....  That means small holes built into the sides before pouring....  Hmmmmmm.......
  Take the water out in a pipe & Tee it off up almost in a corner of each box internally before you construct the beds ..means drawing an accurate plan and sticking to it for the bed layout .
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Post  plantoid 9/20/2019, 4:53 pm

@OhioGardener wrote:You are right Donna, but that would be an up-front cost to make the patterns/molds. Once they are made, the making & pouring the concrete would be minimal cost, and the molds would be used over and over to make as many side pieces as necessary.  One of the neat things about the design is that the panels could be made 4' long, and then they could be used for the end pieces of the bed and multiple panels used for the bed so that the finished size could be 4' x 4', 4' x 8', 4' x 12', etc., but just adding more side panels. I would probably make the panels 10" high so they could be stacked and have the bed 20" high. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.........lots of potential.... 

  36 inches ( 900 mm ) high beds are much easier by the time you get to 70 yrs old ..I'm nearly there and my 36" high  bed are an absolute necessity .
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Post  OhioGardener 9/20/2019, 6:48 pm

@plantoid wrote:  36 inches ( 900 mm ) high beds are much easier by the time you get to 70 yrs old ..I'm nearly there and my 36" high  bed are an absolute necessity .

Yes, they would be easier on the back, but a lot harder & expensive to fill (unless, of course, they were Hugelkultur beds, which has other benefits as well).  My current beds are only 18" high, even though I am well into my 70's, they work very well.

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Post  sanderson 9/22/2019, 3:48 am

Plantoid, How are you doing? I don't want to high jack this thread. Just wanted to know how you are doing.

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Post  plantoid 9/22/2019, 4:27 pm

If I were a horse I'd have been shot long ago .      I'm running in the 3.30 pm at Epsom tomorrow …. just don't know I manage it  Laughing  

Cleaned & sterilized the glasshouse yesterday ready for over wintering things , using  homemade  2" dia wax candles 24/7 for heat in deepest darkest coldest winter .
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