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Hi there, i am looking to build some planters in the garden but im not sure on the best way. Can i use lightweight blocks or would concrete blocks be better (frost resistent). They will be approx 6ft in lenght x 1 meter high x 2ft deep and rendered. I was also wondering if i need to dig foundations or possibly cement in some pad stones and lay a lintel accross ?. Any sugestions would be helpfull.

Thanks.
 

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If I'm understanding you right, you're talking about a raised flower bed. There are a number of ways to build these. Here are a few sites I found when I googled 'raised flower beds'. I read about a nursing home for the elderly that had a landscaped area filled with these beds. The people living there (who loved gardening in their younger years) were able to dig and plant while sitting in their wheel chairs or sitting on the walls of the beds.

http://www.ehow.com/how_2202430_build-raised-flower-bed.html

This next one has 10 pages, starting with the first steps and continuing through:

http://landscaping.about.com/od/landscapinginsmallspaces/ss/raised_beds.htm

This one has some great pictures of different flower beds:

http://www.rose-gardening-made-easy.com/raised-flower-beds.html

I hope this helps. If you can, it would be nice if you post some pictures of it when you're done.
 

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I was sorry to see that no one has responded to your post as I am planning very much the same project.

After researching many large planter ideas online, and realizing how expensive doing a brick or stone or cedar/redwood planter of the size I'm contemplating would be (not to mention the amount of work and expertise needed to get it just right), I am now thinking I'm going to go for the concrete-block-with-a-finished-face approach.

Like you, I am trying to figure out the foundation, too. I'm asking myself these questions and looking online for answers: should I just build it on the patio, or should I put it in the dirt alongside the patio? If I put it alongside, couldn't I simply sink a row of concrete blocks all around as the foundation, then do the fastening and strengthening as I build the planter by using rebar and concrete in some of the holes in the blocks? (I learned that last part online!) If I do it that way, would I eventually have problems with settling, shifting, etc, that would make the planter crack?

I intend mine to be 30" to 36" tall, about as wide, and 7 feet long, so I will need some vertical stabilization. But I don't want to get too carried away and make it so hard I never get to it!

Have you had any other ideas or advice about your planter?
 

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I would do this out of the retaining wall blocks sold at Lowes or HD. They are about $2.50 each and would really look good when you are finished...



Here's mine...

 

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Retaining block are the only sensible way to build a low retaining wall. Footings, mortar, reinforcement and grout are not recommended or permitted.

It is also not necessary to get below the frost line since it is a "flexible" wall.

The original post wanted to have a rendered (plastered) surface, which automatically requires deeper footing, reinforcement to make the wall rigid and hope it does not crack. The retaining wall block give a totally different appearance at a lower cost that is more of a DIY project.

Dick
 

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Block Planters

In my case, I want my planter to be vertical and freestanding (not a retaining wall, not a raised bed), about 30-36" tall, 7 ft long, and 3-4 ft wide. Do I need to start with a concrete foundation?
 
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