Imagine you have spent all afternoon in the hot sun, bent over weeding your garden. Your back is protesting and your sunburned body pleads to stay inside.

Although I love gardening, I’m not fond of the maintenance and backaches. In the past I have made raised garden beds from wood, which looked unsightly after a season or two and were expensive to construct. I wanted an inexpensive and attractive alternative to build my raised beds.

Photo By - Mary Beth SligarOne day, as I sat on my front step thinking about this project, I noticed the raised panels on my neighbor’s garage door. Suddenly I realized I could make raised beds from garage door panels. My husband and I received free, slightly-used garage door panels and struts from our local garage door company. We purchased resin reinforced vinyl fence posts and finials at a home improvement store. Hardware was found in the vinyl fencing section to attach the panels to the posts. My husband cut the door panels with a jigsaw to the length and width needed for each bed. Two struts were attached, one at the upper section and one on the lower section of each panel for strength. He cut each fence post to a length just above the panel height and added the finials.  After attaching the panels to the posts with the fencing hardware, we added pond liner to direct the drainage to the center of the bed. This also keeps water from seeping out under the sides of the beds. The liner leaves about a 5-inch wide by 3/4 the length opening in the center of the bed floor area. We then placed the beds on a layer of rock and filled the beds with garden soil. We used a station of our sprinkling system to add automatic watering for the beds. A valve is located on each bed so the water can be turned off each bed separately. I cover the top of the beds with plastic for some crops such as tomatoes, cutting a hole to plant each tomato start. This eliminates weeds and keeps animals from digging in the beds. Each season fertilizer is added to the soil and crops are rotated from the previous season. The materials used in our garden bed project should last for many years and the beds are an attractive addition to our garden.