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I find myself in the situation where I need to redo my raised vegetables and strawberry beds. I read What is a good alternative to pressure treated wood for raised beds? and Do chemicals leach from the sides of raised beds? which are excellent references and I was about to go with wood.

However, I have a huge heap of natural rocks (Griftstone and kind of granite and some others) which I got for creating, at some point in time, a dry stone wall in my garden which is a long slope.

I'm now wondering if I could use especially the griftstones to make a border of my raised beds. My main doubt is that the wall won't be closed. By definition there are holes and I'm afraid that water will dissolve the soil with time.

What do you think?

  • FYI: The term you want is a "dry stone" wall. The term drywall is the gypsum/plasterboard material used to make interior walls. Drywall as such would get quite sloppy and flimsy in the rain and wouldn't make a good garden border at all. grin – Robert Cartaino Mar 6 '13 at 1:51
  • @RobertCartaino Thanks. Changed my question. – Patrick B. Mar 6 '13 at 13:48
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A drystone wall is certainly an option. The stone you have is ideal for building. All it takes is a little preparation and some inexpensive materials and...time. Here are some practices I have used which assisted me:

  • know your soil type. Clay will shift in a cold winter or a very cold winter. Sand drains freely but is more likely to washed out
  • drystone walls are good up to one meter tall or so. Higher than that takes some practice and preparation. (More deadman retaining stones, more drainage, angling the wall into the soil on the higher area)
  • a geotextile fabric or soil separator is essential to keep the soil from washing out from between the stones EDIT: in North America these are sold as "Landscape Fabric" or "Weed Barrier". I find the quality of this type of retail product is insufficient for a long lasting job and suggest you source commercial grade products which will be called "geotextiles".
  • drainage pipe on the inside base of the wall is also essential. In North America you can buy four inch diameter drainage pipe with a woven sleeve that does the job nicely. I'm sure similar material is available where you live.
  • a list of tools you might need is here
  • some alternative ideas are here

I find the best part of using stone for your bed is that are also building a miniature micro climate. Stone will warm faster and retain heat than soil. Plants placed into the wall will grow sooner and, if the correct species are chosen, flower faster

My stone wall is starting to shape up nicely after a few years of stuffing plants into every crack. It has been stable for 5 years with a temperature range of -30 degrees Celsius to + 30 degrees Celsius. Stone wall

  • What did you use for gravel both below the base level and behind it? – Chasester Apr 12 '16 at 13:47
  • @Chasester as this is build on solid clay I carved the clay into the right shape and added 1 - 2 inches of stone dust. This should not work but is has due to the clay base. On sandy or loamy soil a base of 6 inches of 5/8" crushed gravel without limestone fines compacted in layers would be required. – kevinsky Apr 12 '16 at 13:53
  • Thank you - I don't have clay - in that area (my backyard a different story - hit water there). I was thinking the crushed gravel and a layer of leveling sand or stone dust. – Chasester Apr 12 '16 at 18:04

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