Bricked Up: Using Recycled Bricks To Make Raised Planting Beds For Your Garden

With the earth's resources becoming more diminished every day, recycling as much of the material you use in life as possible is becoming ever more important. However, you can do far more to save the earth than simply sort your plastic bottles into a different bin every week -- even the leftover building materials from demolished buildings and abandoned construction projects can be put to good use. One of the most common uses for recycled bricks is the creation or raised planting beds, and humble house bricks are quite ideally suited to creating these structures.

What are raised beds?

Raised planting beds essentially consist of a container capable of holding soil, with flowers or vegetables planted within. While raised beds have long been installed in gardens as purely ornamental additions, these structures also have some concrete advantages, and can help avid growers get better returns from their growing efforts.

For example, the raised position of the planter keeps the delicate roots of plants away from ground level, helping them to weather heavy rains and flooding and minimising the risks of root rot. This raised position also helps to improve soil drainage. Raised beds made from durable materials, such as recycled bricks, can also be durable and are particularly useful for protecting delicate plants from high winds.

How can recycled bricks be used to make raised beds?

The beauty of using recycled bricks to create raised beds is that they can be built in practically any shape or design you desire; with enough effort and a little imagination, you can make a truly unique and decorative accent for your garden. However, for your raised bed to last long enough to make your effort worth it, you should go about the construction process in the right way.

You have two choices when it comes to constructing brick raised beds, depending on whether you choose to use mortar or not. Mortared brick beds are obviously more durable and are less likely to be disturbed accidentally. However, they take more time to construct and cannot be removed once installed.

Mortar-less beds, on the other hand, can be moved as desired, while leaving gaps between bricks helps improve soil drainage. You will, however, have to take more care with designing your bed, as improperly shaped or top-heavy mortar-less beds are liable to collapse.

Can any recycled bricks be used to created raised beds?

Theoretically, yes; however, if you use miscellaneous bricks from unknown sources, you should insert a liner made of vinyl or other tough, waterproof materials between your bricks and your soil. Bricks taken from unknown demolition sites may be tainted with mercury, heavy metals or other plant-killing contaminants, so sourcing your bricks from a reputable salvage yard that can accurately source its materials is always the safest option.