• Raised Bed Gardening: Flea Market Style

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    How to create raised beds from recycled materials

    TWO WAYS TO MAKE decorative flea-market style raised beds this year, 1) use large cast-off and up-cycled containers; 2) make fanciful layered edgings of garden-friendly materials like bricks, wood, or even bottles! We’ve even seen old bathtubs and refrigerator cases made into thriving raised bed gardens; planted tub below photographed by D. Diane Weiss.

    Vintage tub, bathtub raised bed

    MOUNDING SOIL IN A RAISED  bed can make for happy root systems, as long as your drainage is good. You can increase the moisture retention of your raised beds, and protect the containers, by lining them with durable plastics and using lots of natural mulches like straw, chopped yard waste, and compost. Holes or cracks aid the drainage process.

    rusty wagon, wheelbarrow, pink sink, pink bricks and terra cotta pots

    7 Flea market raised bed garden ideas –

    RAISED BED LINERS CAN be used inside any of the following creative raised beds — or, you can use recycled plastic nursery pots inside the raised beds to help retain moisture, keep roots cool, and protect the sides of the raised bed container:

    a. Wagons (with holes in the bottom) are great for holding nursery containers. You can put sphagnum moss between plants as lush green mulch. With a raised bed on wheels, you can easily roll this into sheltered areas or anywhere that needs a burst of color; photo by Tammy Prouty.
    b. Blue painted wheelbarrow by Jane Krauter. This color seems to attract birds and visitors of all kinds, including the human type. Shade loving plants can stay in their plastic containers tucked inside this portable raised bed.
    c. The pink sink by Bridget McGivern Staley; we just can’t toss out grandma’s good stuff! Vintage metal containers of all kinds can add charm to cottage corners — the light and cheerful color helps keep this metal keepsake cool in the sun.
    d. Collections like this flowerpot and sedum family make the edge of this raised bed a fun display area; by Stephie McCarthy.

    Flower pot edged raised bed by Stephie McCarthy

    YOU CAN USE PLASTIC or terra cotta pots as edgings for a raised garden bed. The best of both worlds is putting the plastic pots INSIDE of terra cotta. Roots will stay cooler and moister even in July by mixing materials in your raised bed designs; photo by Stephie McCarthy.

    FOR MINIATURE RAISED-BED containers that look wonderful year round, make these simple concrete troughs molded inside cardboard boxes; a project by Sue Langley. Concrete containers can be filled with plants and can also be used as edgings for raised beds.

    Products that may interest you!
    Grow Bed Liner

    Also, get our easy step-by-step instructions for building a raised bed for vegetables.  Marie’s Rust Garden.


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    Stephie McCarthy is an illustrator, designer, and writer who is a passionate gardener and restoring a 150 year old house in historic Harpers Ferry, WV.



    1. Beautiful pictures and great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

    2. Jeanne Sammons says:

      Beautiful raised beds, Stephie! Love that blue wheelbarrow of Jane’s … so versatile…am still looking for the perfect one to fit in my gardens! Definitely would love to try the ‘hypertufa’ pots pictured by Sue L …would be fun & love the look. Also I’m still looking for plants for my old clawfoot bathtub in the Secret Garden…shady there & depends alot on just ‘rain’ for watering…have to haul it. Fun ideas here! Thanks, Stephie!

    3. Nell Howard Stelzer says:

      I loved the different ways of container gardens. I do lots of container gardening,too,it’s easy to move around to different areas of the gardens. I have a few things I may try this season. TFS !

    4. Myra Glandon says:

      Wow, loved the article. So many ideas and showing people exactly how to line a bed is great. Sometimes we lack the confidence to actually carry out our dreams, and that little bit extra will help someone be brave and create a raised bed this year. And loved the creative planters. I used to have a claw foot tub but my new hubby hated it, so it had to go, but I have seen so many creative things on fmg that my head just spins sometimes.