Whites Raised Beds

We can collected together some of the questions that people ask us about our raised beds. This list is by no means complete so if you have a question which is not covered here please do get in touch with us. You can telephone (01384 442190) or send us an email.
Hows does our raised bed system work?
Our raised beds are erected using 1.2m (4’) or 2.4m (8’) lengths of timber.
Support is provided using our patented steel components. These are designed to provide a “bonded” structure like brickwork to give strength to the bed. The steel work encapsulates all joints and aligns all timber both vertically and horizontally. It is an alternative to the added expense of building beds using bricks or blocks involving excavations, footings, materials and skilled labour.
Why do we use new untreated Larch timber?
The most abundant home grown softwood timber species is Spruce (whitewood). Spruce along with redwood species (Larch, Pine and Douglas Fir) is usually treated using the Tanelith E pressure impregnation process.
Unfortunately Spruce does not take up preservative well and is not recommended for use in ground contact. It may well last only 3 years when in contact with the ground. The redwood species take up the treatment process better however, a very high proportion of the “new treated sleeper” market is in fact, Spruce! Whatever the claims for the treatment process being non toxic such timber cannot be cut, or burnt and has to go to landfill for disposal. Larch offers the best natural protection to decay and attack. It is also environmentally friendly and recyclable with no special requirements for eventual disposal. It is long lasting, can be cut and drilled if required, and is maintenance free. Timber is of course a natural material and Larch has its own characteristics. It is liable to twist and bend on occasions and can produce some sap/resin. Any twist or bend will not compromise a constructed bed. Any sap will stop escaping when this natural process is complete. The sap itself provides Larch with it’s natural resistance to decay and attack. Sap can be removed with a blunt scraper and some turpentine.
Do I need to treat the timber with any kind of preservative?
No. Larch does not take coatings well and is not really suitable for painting, varnishing, oiling or staining.
Will the timber change colour over time?
Our untreated Larch will weather gracefully turning a beautiful silver/slate grey/olive in colour with time.
What is the expected lifespan of our timber?
We anticipate that subject to local conditions, our timber will be serviceable for at least 10 years.When assembling beds and stacking timbers it is important to install timbers with the “heartwood” on the inside of the bed. That is, with the hardest most durable wood in contact with the soil. The bed should be assembled with the wood laid as the tree grew ... bark side on the outside face. The life expectancy of the timber is reduced if the outer “sapwood” is in contact with soil. If you are not attempting to gain the absolute maximum life from your timber, then they can just be stacked with the best side showing. Our timbers are carefully sized to fit the supporting steelwork used construct our beds.
How long does the steelwork last?
Hot dipped galvanised components have a minimum serviceable life of 20 years. The durability of the galvanised steelwork is determined by the chemical properties of the fill material used in the bed and local atmospheric conditions. We are advised COR-TEN components will last over 500 years!
How quick is the system to assemble?
The system is quick and easy to erect making a big impact in a short time.
Our “Championship Best” for 2 people to assemble a 750 mm (30”) 1.2 x 1.2m (4’x 4’) bed on level ground is 1 minute 26 seconds, 3 minutes 28 seconds for an 2.4 x 2.4m (8’x 4’) bed. It takes a bit longer to fill mind! Should you have no one to assist with stacking the timbers, then speed becomes an important factor. That is, you only need help for a short period to lift and lay the timbers and complete the work.
Why are raised beds 4ft (1200mm) wide?
The width of a raised bed is a matter of comfort and preference. Four feet seems to have become the recommended standard, because most people can still weed and tend plants at a two-foot reach, but not much beyond. To reach the centre of a 4’ bed will of course require access from both sides. If the bed becomes so large that you have to walk all over it in order to tend your crop, then you will have broken the first and second rule of raised bed gardening.If you are tall and flexible, reaching the centre of a four-foot wide bed will not be a problem. If not, reaching the centre is difficult. Therefore, you may be much happier with two beds, each 4’ by 4’, with a path between them. This arrangement means that you can now reach the bed from all four sides.
What are the limits to the height shape and size of a raised bed?
Our Raised Bed system is constructed from 250 mm (10”) high x 125 mm (5”) wide solid untreated timber, which is safe, sturdy and stable enough to allow the building of longer and higher beds without fear of bowing. A wide variety of shapes are possible to give efficient use of space. “L” “C” “E” “F” “H” shapes are all possible in different sizes. Straight joint steelwork components allow lengths of any permutation of 8’ and 4’ timbers, i.e. 8, 12, 16, 20, 24. 30 , etc. Within reason, provided that you return to where you started from, whatever layout you create will be stable. All steelwork components are numbered and it is virtually impossible to assemble incorrectly. Heights of 250, 500 or 750 mm (10, 20 or 30”) are possible. Consider the height of the crops you want to grow. e.g. you may want to consider planting your runner beans in a lower bed. As they will be difficult to harvest if they end up 10’ 6 above ground level!
Which raised beds are best suited for disabled gardening?
A standard width, 30” (750 mm) high bed is suitable for wheelchair gardening.
Rectangular beds are ideal as beds with an internal corner (L shape etc) compromise access for a wheelchair gardener. As our untreated timbers can be cut to suit and an individuals build varies, our system can be used to construct taylor made “non standard” beds for our customers
Can I change the height of a raised bed?
As our beds are modular, you can extend the height of your raised bed later. Just lift off the top steelwork add new intermediate steelwork, another layer of timber and replace the top steelwork
Can I change the layout of a raised bed or move it?
Our Beds can either be permanent or temporary structures. The system allows disassembly and the re use of beds in another location should a garden redesign be required. It is therefore possible to take your raised bed components with you if you move house.
Can I install a raised bed on a hard surface?
Yes, although a single layer bed 10” high raised bed will provided limited planting depth. We would recommend a bed at least 20” high and preferably 30” on a hard surface.
Can a bed be secured against dismantling and theft in a public area?
Yes, security fixings can be supplied. Our system can be used for landscaping, building beds that can be planted with shrubs as well as vegetables or flowers. It can be used to provide height and structure to car parks and entrance areas. It can be used as a substitute for street furniture and even as natural crash barriers or defence against ram raids. Used on an architectural scale the system is both speedy and economical.
What works are required on site before installation?
The site needs to be level and existing vegetation dealt with.
How do I place an order?
Contact us to discuss your requirements. If you provide dimensions for your plot we can produce a scale drawing and price for any layout you may have in mind. We are friendly and like to talk to our customers.You are important to us. The best recommendation we can obtain is you telling your friends how happy you were dealing with us.
How is delivery priced?
Once we have the quantity of materials required to build your raised bed garden and a post code we are able to price for delivery. Costs are calculated on a per order basis but we always do our best to keep them as low as possible (keeping in mind the bulky nature of the product).
What if I want my bed installed and or filled and ready to plant?
We can provide a cost for the supply of timber and steelwork components only. We can also supply fill material in bulk which is delivered with your bed. We can provide a cost for building your bed and filling it.
How long do I have to wait for delivery?
We aim to keep stock of timber, both galvanised and COR_TEN steelwork and fill. Delivery is always subject to the availability of stock at the time of placing an order. If we are out of stock we are able to supply within 6 weeks.
Is a deposit required when placing an order?
We require a 50% non refundable deposit to place your order into our production system. The balance of the account is paid on delivery or, if appropriate, completion of installation.