Why I’m Building Garden Boxes

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Garden boxes are a popular item. Do a quick Google search of “garden boxes” and you’ll see over 37 million results. Everything from where to buy them to how to build them to why you need them.

This post is none of those things. It’s simply my reason, or two reasons, actually, for wanting them in my garden.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: they look nice. It’s true. One reason that I want garden boxes is for the looks. They give structure (literally) to the look and design of the garden. And depending on how fancy you want to build them, they can not only provide a place for vegetables and flowers to grow, but also a nice place for you to sit, as well.

But the biggest reason I am building garden boxes?

a picture of a wagon full of rocks

Just one of the many, many wagon-loads of rocks we’ve been hauling out to our front park-strip.

The rocks. My soil – when I can get to it – is actually pretty great. It has a great texture (a loam), the pH is right around 7 (which some may consider too alkaline, but really, it’s a good, normal pH for this area), and the salinity is in the normal range. (If you’re wondering how I know all this, it’s because I believe in soil tests. Want to find out more about soil tests? Read here.) One common reason that many people give for wanting garden boxes is that you have more control over the growing media. Which is true…to some extent. If you really do have terrible soil (and everybody you talk to has “the worst” soil), having an elevated garden box does give you more control over drainage, pH, soil compaction (or preventing soil compaction), etc. But it must also be said that most soil problems can be alleviated, and maybe even reversed, with regular incorporations of organic matter.

However, regardless of of how nice my soil might be, it can’t be denied that it is FULL of rocks. Not just pebbles and cobbles, but boulders*, too. Digging in rocks is not fun. Growing root crops in rocks is sometimes an effort in futility. And I just don’t want to fight them. So I’m going with garden boxes.

a picture of three sizes of rocks (pebble, cobble, and boulder)

A variety of the sizes of rocks coming out of our soil.

*According to the Wentworth Size Class, a boulder is any grain larger than 256 mm (10 inches) in diameter.

And besides, I really do like how they look. (The garden boxes, not necessarily the rocks.)

Stay tuned for how I’ll build them, where they’ll be in my garden, and what I’m planting in them!


Do you grow in the ground or in a box? Tell me in the comments below your reasons for gardening where you do.


  1. I just enlarged my garden and now it’s about triple the original size. Unlike you, I seem to have very few rocks. I am growing directly on the ground and am looking forward to planting a variety of large spreading plants such as pumpkins, winter squash, cucumbers, watermelon and cantaloupe.

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