Raised Garden Bed Idea

Raised garden beds made from a repurposed steel beam.

The 48-foot steel beam that once supported the first floor of Architect Michael McKinley’s home was a sad relic from a house fire that destroyed his former residence. The beam sat accumulating a rust patina until McKinley had a “phoenix from the fire” idea. Rather than pay to have it removed, he decided to repurpose it into raised beds for his gardener wife.

Architect Michael McKinley constructing raised garden beds.jpg

The beam was cut into sections to create two metal raised beds suitable for square foot gardening. The width of the elevated beds is approximately 4-feet wide so you comfortably reach 2-feet into each side of the bed. The first step was placing a weed barrier mat and filling the garden site with a bed of crushed stone for drainage. The raised garden beds were then filled with Earth Care Farm Raised Bed Mix. The Charlestown, RI farm is locally known for its outstanding compost and raised bed mix.

Raised garden beds under construction.jpg

The metal raised beds are attractive, rot resistant and you can stand on the top of the beam to pick tall vegetables. It’s the second growing season, and so far, there haven’t been any issues with heat radiating from the steel.

Metal raised garden beds with peas.jpg

While it’s unlikely that many homeowners have an extra steel beam lying around, this design solution should inspire you to “think outside the box” and consider materials other than wood for your raised garden beds.