If you’re looking for an easy and inexpensive way to take your garden vertical, try building raised garden beds against a wall.
Building raised bed gardens against a fence is a creative and inexpensive way to save space when gardening. This method maximizes garden space by subtly taking advantage of vertical fence space, as well as making use of a yard’s layout and design. Protection from soil, moisture, and termites is necessary when constructing a garden bed against a fence.
However, there are some downsides to it as well. In this article, you’ll learn the benefits and the things you should consider when building raised garden bed against a fence.
Gardening Against Fence Line
A fence is a boundary providing shape and protection to a garden. If you are running out of space and want to grow plants against your fence line, there are a few things to consider.
Start by cleaning the area along the fence and removing any soot and weed. Then, consider the amount of sunlight your plants require and accordingly position them along the fence.
If your plant needs lots of sunlight for its growth, set it on the southern or western side of the fence. For plants requiring shade, position them on the eastern and northern sides of the fence.
Also, grow plants with similar water requirements close to each other for your convenience. Before raising any plants, consider the fence type. For instance, a wooden fence requires high maintenance and must be painted frequently.
So, you need to leave proper space to reach it whenever you need to repaint your fence. You can also experiment with planting structures. Try growing your plants in straight rows or curved beds.
Plants To Grow Against Fence
As for what type of plant you should grow, you can plant flowering bushes and small flowers. You can also plant vines around fences. Vines will help cover up any rotten parts or holes in the fence.
Other than vines, you can try growing vegetables and herbs in raised garden beds. This way, you will have organic vegetables to make healthy and safe food at home.
Benefits of Building a Garden Bed Against a Fence
Building a garden bed against a fence line has its perks.
Here are a few benefits:
Protects The Plants From Nature
A fence provides a boundary and security to your garden. Planting raised garden beds near the fence line can provide additional protection to your plants.
A fence can work as a barrier against unfavorable weather conditions like wind, excessive sunlight, snow, and rainfall. It acts as a windbreaker and keeps your plants safe from damage.
It also protects your plants from excessive sunlight and provides shade to them. It also protects your plants from snow and rain.
Every gardener wishes to grow multiple varieties of plants in their garden. For this, you need to save as much space as possible and try to adjust plants in a smaller space.
You can do so by building garden beds against the fence line. This will take up less room and provide you with more area to grow other varieties of plants.
Apart from providing protection and saving space, building garden beds against the fence line can add to the beauty of your garden.
If you are growing flowers in your garden beds, this will make your garden look more eye-catching. The vibrant color of the flowers will bring joy to whoever lays their eyes on them.
Moreover, building garden beds along the fence will make your garden look more organized and put together. It will further boost the overall look of your lawn.
Downside Of Building a Garden Bed Against a Fence
Although building garden beds against a fence has many benefits, it also has drawbacks.
Soil Moisture Can Rot Wood
Gardening against a fence can make the soil wet. If the soil around a wooden fence is constantly moist, it can damage the fence.
Damp wood is an ideal environment for fungal growth. As the fungi grow, it can lead to the complete rotting of the wooden fence.
Soil Moisture Can Weaken Concrete Structures
Most people think concrete structures are not affected by soil moisture as they can not rot. This is not entirely true, as soil moisture can weaken concrete structures.
Excess water from the soil can seep into the concrete. Some materials in the concrete will dissolve in the water and leach out. This will create spaces in the concrete structure. Air can quickly deposit in these free spaces making the concrete structure weak.
Apart from the soil, trees and larger crops may cause concrete structures to crack as their root system penetrates into the soil in search of nutrients.
Excess Moisture Can Cause the Fence to Sink
Building garden beds along the fence line can lead to excess moisture in the surrounding soil. Moist soil can cause the wooden fence to rot.
The extra water in the ground makes it soft. The rotten wood combined with soft soil can cause the fence to sink into the soil, especially in spaces where the soil’s organic matter is high.
See what causes soil to sink in this article.
Termites Within The Soil Can Attack Wooden Fences
Termites are subterranean creatures and can be found in almost everywhere. Building a Raised bed garden against a fence can raise the playing field where termites can attack the fence structure from an even greater height rather than from the ground up.
The intensity of termite infestation depends on the soil. Different types of soil can be found in a garden, such as sand, potting soil, topsoil, clay, peat soil, etc.
Moisture is very important for subterranean termites. They love damp soil. The moisture content creates an ideal environment for them to survive and thrive.
See our helpful article on termites in raised bed garden and how to deal with them.
7 Ways to Protect a Fence From Soil Moisture
Damp soil can cause significant damage to your fence. It can lead to rotting of wood, destruction of the structure, and even sinking the barrier into the ground.
So, it is crucial to protect your fence from the adverse effects of soil moisture. Here are a few tips to save your fence from rotting:
1. Choose the Right Fence
The first step to protecting your fence is choosing a suitable material. Try finding a rigid, rot-resistant fence for your garden. Some examples of high-quality and rot-resistant materials are cedar and redwood.
Fences made of cedar last a long time and don’t rot easily. They are ideal for fences surrounded by moist soil. On the other hand, it is not recommended to use materials like pine and Douglas fir as they can rot quickly.
2. Install a Waterproof Barrier
There are many ways to combat rotting from damp soil. One of them is investing in a waterproof barrier.
If you are not satisfied with just using high-quality fences, try using a waterproof barrier instead. This will guarantee that soil moisture can do no damage to your fence, and you can rest assured.
3. Plant a Few Inches Away From the Fence
In case you have already installed a fence, you can build your garden bed a few inches away from the fence. Doing so will limit the contact between the damp soil and the fence. Less contact will lead to fewer chances of damage to the fence.
Also, it will prevent the rotting of the fence. There should be at least a distance of 10 cm or 4 inches between the fence and the garden bed.
4. Remove Rotten Areas
Always be on the lookout for any rotten areas on your fence. If you find a rotten site, remove it. Rotten parts of the fence need to be removed as quickly as possible. This will prevent the further spreading of the rot.
If the rotten areas are not removed on time or at all, the decay can spread to the whole fence. To prevent this from happening, inspect your fence for rot regularly, and discard any affected areas if found.
5. Stain Your Fence
Staining is an essential part of maintaining a fence. It prevents any damage caused by soil moisture and protects the fence.
Whether you need to stain more or less often depends on climate conditions in your area, like the soil amount surrounding the fence, the water in the soil, the temperature of your area, and the average rainfall.
However, it is advised to stain your fence at least once a year. To determine whether your fence needs staining, you can sprinkle some water on it. If the water doesn’t absorb, staining is not required. If the water seeps into the fence, it needs to be stained.
See our article on how paint can harm plants.
6. Keep Your Fence Clean
Clean your fence regularly. Tidying up your fence will eliminate any dust and debris on it. This will make your fence look good.
If the fence is not cleaned daily, the dirt and debris can infiltrate the crack and holes in the fence. The accumulation of waste in such places leads to rotting.
If rotting already exists, this can further speed up the process making it impossible to recover from the damage.
7. Examine Your Fence Regularly
Take some time from your everyday life to inspect your fence for any damage. Look for any cracks and holes which can potentially lead to further damage to the fence.
You can also look for unusual spots on the fence. The most important area to inspect is the lower part of the fence that is in contact with the soil. Evaluate them.
If you notice any cracks and holes, try to patch them up as quickly as possible. In case of any peeled-off paint, repaint your fence. It would be best to examine your fence at least once a week.
Building raised garden beds against a fence is a common practice. However, it has its pros and cons. It can free up space and looks aesthetically pleasing. The plants that grow against the fence are sheltered and protected from harsh environmental conditions like snow, rain, too much sun exposure, and wind.
On the other hand, building raised garden beds along the fence line can rot the fence. It can cause it to sink into the ground and lose its shape. Therefore, maintaining a proper distance between the fence and the garden bed is essential.
You can also use a waterproof barrier if you build a garden bed against the fence to avoid damage from the moist soil. Taking necessary precautions will prevent any damage to the fence.
Also, See our detailed article on building a raised bed garden against a house, as it can also share some helpful insights on how to safely do it with the intention of protecting the house.