Raised Bed

Creating a raised bed on the balcony – here's how


You can also grow fresh vegetables on your balcony. This works particularly well in a raised bed. That's right, there are now also layered beds for the balcony.

Raised beds are a classic fixture in kitchen gardens. The clever layering system ensures the plants are provided with plenty of nutrients. You can also create a raised bed on your balcony or your terrace. These usually resemble the garden versions only in the sense that they stand at a comfortable working height. They usually look like bar counters.

Typical raised bed – the layering system

The classic garden raised bed extends upwards from the ground to around hip height. It therefore provides plenty of space for earth and compost. A raised bed table, which is generally used on the balcony, contains significantly less substrate because the bed is not built from the ground up. However, it's not just a matter of dumping soil and plants in it. Even with a compressed level bed, you should layer cleverly. But the layers of soil are slightly thinner than in larger raised beds.

The classic version for the balcony has the following layers –

  • the lowest layer is a drainage layer consisting of prunings, pottery shards or large pebbles, for example. It prevents your raised bed being flooded with water when it rains or when you get carried away with the watering. Tip: support the drainage layer with a non-woven fabric if you decide on a raised bed table.
  • The next layer is made up of garden waste such as grass or leaves,
  • followed by a layer of normal soil.
  • There should also be layer of mature compost.
  • Last but not least is a layer of high quality garden soil.

The various layers each fulfil a specific purpose – the garden waste ensures active composting. This generates heat, which has a positive effect on the plants. The plant grows faster and is supplied with the key nutrients it needs. The vegetable yield from the raised bed is therefore frequently higher than from a normal garden bed. Note: lower level beds reduce the decomposition effect.

Don't overload the balcony!

One equally important factor that you should take into account is the additional load placed by a classic raised bed on your balcony. You don't want it collapsing under the weight. If you don't know the maximum value of the continuous load, ask your landlord. You must inform them in any case if you wish to make structural changes to your balcony or your roof terrace. Tip: the load is reduced if you choose lighter filling materials and planting substrates. However, you will limit the decomposition effect if you do so. A better alternative is a raised bed table, which also contains a lower volume.

Various raised bed solutions for the balcony

Raised bed tables are especially suitable for balconies because they are space-saving and lighter. You have lots of models to choose from, which vary in terms of their material composition and shape.

A particularly weatherproof version is a metal raised bed. Make sure it is a rust-free material, so you can enjoy more seasons in your mini habitat. Practicalities – some raised beds have a valve on the bottom. You can use this to drain away excess water and support drainage. This is important because water logging causes significant harm to the plant. The metal models also have the benefit of rounded edges for safety.

Even more popular than metal is a raised wooden bed. The material's appeal is primarily down to its naturalness. It is essential to choose a model that has been impregnated. Only then will it be weather-resistant. You should also take a close look at the table legs of the bed. Wet feet will not support the weight of the raised bed in the long term. But the table legs on a model with protective caps will stay dry and stable. Raised bed tables with wheels are especially convenient. This allows you to move them around your balcony. The numerous products also offer all kinds of gimmicks, including raised beds with additional storage space – either hidden or open – so you can stow away your planting accessories. There is also a nice model on which you can insert hooks at the side – for additional flower containers or decorative items.

If you're good with your hands, you can of course also build the raised bed yourself. The ideal material for this is larch, as it lasts a long time without protective treatment. Look online for building instructions to help with your project. It is even easier to buy a kit in a specialist shop.

Whichever option you go for, measure your balcony first. You don't want to end up with too little space. Fortunately there are models in a variety of sizes, so you'll certainly find the right raised bed.

Planting the raised bed – tips

A raised bed is the ideal place for growing vegetables and herbs – thanks to a nutrient-rich layering system. Nutrient-hungry plants such as leeks, onions, carrots and celery thrive in the bed. But lettuce, tomatoes and runner beans are also suitable for planting. High growing vegetables should, however, be provided with climbing aids to support the plant. Plants that require a lot of space, such as aubergine or pumpkin, are less suitable for your raised bed. As a general rule – plant high plants in the middle and low plants at the edge, so they all get enough light. Speaking of light, you should also take into account which way your balcony faces. Your plants will get most sun on a south-facing balcony.

Raised Bed