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bordering garden beds ecologically with curves

 
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Hi

we are working for clients in urban setups in temperate climate. Most of the time they want their beds elevated. So we have to create borders.

We need something that doesn't rot, that's the cheapest possible, that's clean and stable.

If we use oak (or black locust) planks disposed vertically like this :    [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkDjwNt5H-k,[/youtube]    it's deosn't rot, can be curved, is clean, but it's very expensive.
If use bricks it's seems expensive.

Do you have any ideas ?

Thanks for your help
 
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Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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We built these raised beds ourselves (no skills) out of stone from the site, mortared with clayey garden soil. Well, my land-artist friend built them and I helped. She'd never done this kind of work before. It was easier than I thought it would be. It's inside the solar greenhouse attached to my house, that both heats my house and provides food, flowers and greenery all winter.

In February when the greenhouse was enclosed, my homesteader friends from Maine helped me make more raised beds. They were reluctant to try mortaring, but I think I need to mortar them now, because when I water the beds they tend to drain out the sides. The crates in the middle are for worm composting. Now in July, these beds are teeming with greenery.
curving-stone-raised-beds-in-greenhouse-garden-before-cover.jpg
[Thumbnail for curving-stone-raised-beds-in-greenhouse-garden-before-cover.jpg]
Curved stone raised beds
20190227-curved-stone-raised-beds.jpg
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These unmortared ones were made later but I think I will mortar them with garden soil.
 
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What exactly do you mean by ecologically, Louis? As in, with stuff that won't harm the soil microbiome?

The cost of the materials shouldn't factor into it. You assemble a list of materials, their costs, and lifespans, and the client makes a choice. It gets factored into what you're charging.

I think that the roadblock you might run up against most, having some exposure to the landscaping industry, is the curb-appeal aspect of your job. If the client is looking for a specific aesthetic, which isn't uncommon in design and staging circles, too, you are operating under more constraints.

As to innovative products, have you looked at Yakisugi? Charred planks are hydrophobic, and offer nothing to decompose, as well. It is possible to use conventional dimensional lumber, treat it in the Yakisugi technique, and simply build a conventional-style wooden raised bed or planter. They would also work in the Beach Groyne Style Retainer in the video you posted. I just think they would look sharper, and you could use cheaper wood to do it with, potentially. It could even be attempted with reclaimed material of the right dimensions, as the carbonisation would pyrolise anything that remained to offgas or leach out.

-CK
 
Louis Romain
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@Rebecca, thanks for your answer, that's a good idea. I have to check if I can have some large stones like those you used.

@Chris, yes, by "ecological" I mean something that won't harm the soil microbiome nor the production. Charred wood is a good idea ! I have to verify that the aesthetics of it is in accordance with what the client wants.
 
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