A Raised Herb Bed From Reclaimed Brick

Herb Bed 2013

I can’t tell you how pleased I was today to finish the herb bed I’ve been working on for the past few days. Love it!

Since we’ve been building bigger raised veggie beds, I ended up having to move the little circle of herbs I had growing smack in the middle of the garden. It was mostly oregano anyways, so I didn’t mind uprooting the thing and transplanting it elsewhere.

And actually, I had had a stroke of genius the other day as I was loading up a trailer full of junk to take to the dump. I came across a commercial sized box fan from my husband’s old warehouse. All of the parts were stripped out, so it was just a large, metal circle. And when I saw it, I immediately thought- raised bed! I didn’t really know where I would put it, but I knew it must be saved.

Then the pieces all fell together as I decided where I’d move my herbs. I knew I wanted a circle bed. I found a place in my yard where I thought it would look nice. But I needed a way to keep my oregano separate from the other herbs I’ll be planting. You see, I didn’t realize this when I made my first herb bed, but oregano spreads like CRAZY, and it will absolutely choke out everything you try to grow alongside it. It needs boundaries.

And then I had my ah-ha! The metal fan box! I’ll surround it with some of the old bricks that have fallen off of the chimney in our woods, and it’ll make the perfect raised herb bed to keep my oregano separate from everything else.

Raised herb bed

Ta-da! Isn’t it perfect??

Okay, okay… a little more work needs to be done until it’s more presentable.

I wasn’t sure I’d have enough hand-made bricks to build it up the way I envisioned, but I took a shovel into the woods, and began digging up as many of the old bricks as I could find in one piece around the old homesite.

herb bed

Here’s how it looks about 120 bricks into the project. I made it 8 ft. across. The tricky part was finding bricks that weren’t broken in half.

Once I had my three layers of brick, I moved the metal thing out of the middle, covered the ground with cardboard to suppress the weeds, put the metal thing back in the center of the bed, and started filling it up with dirt.

When the outer ring was filled with dirt, I collected more bricks and stacked them around the center to cover the metal box. Then I filled in the middle, and stuck a planter in the very top.

brick herb raised bed

I had Jada sit in the picture so you can get an idea of the scale of the bed. It was a little tricky stacking the bricks evenly. Since they are hand-made bricks, they aren’t all perfectly uniform. I loved the moss growing on them, though. I think it gives the bed a nice rustic touch.

Toward the end of the project, I got desperate for whole bricks and started taking them from their places around some of our fruit trees (as you may have noticed from the tree in the background as the photos have progressed). Eventually I ended up having to incorporate broken bricks. There are right at about 200 (whole) bricks here. I carried almost all of them out of the woods five at a time.

reclaimed brick raised herb bed

I was able to get some good sized clumps of oregano transplanted before the sun went down on me today. I’m SO anxious to fill her up with lots more herbs and flowers!!

Yay for being done with the hard part! And all it cost me was time and a little work.

raised herb bed

So… what do you think I ought to plant in the pot? I’m thinking cascading flowers of some type. And maybe plant little purple flowers around the outside perimeter as well. What would you do?

raised bed herb garden

Update 4/27/13: Here’s how my bed’s looking as of today. I’ve planted some thyme, cilantro, chives, pot marigolds (calendula), cherry tomatoes, oregano, and a bay tree in the pot. Still lots of room for more!

If I can keep the dumb cat from using it as a litter box, we’ll be good.

Herb Bed 2013

Update 7/10/13: The herbs and flowers have really taken off! I’ve harvested a TON of oregano already. I’ve added St. John’s Wort, Basil, and Lavender to the herbs here. Guess I need to mow soon, huh?

Kendra
About Kendra 1123 Articles

A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

34 Comments

  1. I had a similar set up made this year, not with bricks but with the few big stones we have…with an intention of a herb garden. Yes, herbs are now growing but it didn’t filled up like yours…in fact, today, I worked on it for a better herb garden next year. The amazing thing is that I also happened to see your post today…so, I’m all very inspired again and will definitely pursue this project:)

  2. Oh, I just love it!! I have been trying to figure out a nice little herb bed design to put outside of the garden area. Thanks so very Much!!

  3. Great idea. This would keep my “runaway herbs” from spreading! Dill and cilantro could go in the top and my others around the outside. Thanks so much for the great step-by-step directions. 🙂

  4. Oh you are clever! It’s lovely and here are my suggestions, for which you will NOT thank me…’cause I don’t know all the names of the plants. sigh.
    I think a lovely cascading plant is called moneywort (I think) and is a terrific “pison” green that makes everything else beautiful. Also, a tall, spikey plant to add height (nope, don’t know the name)and some marigolds because they repel bugs and other pests.
    I’ve got a pile of slave made brick and think I’ll use your idea, thanks!

  5. Hi Kendra!

    Thanks for the Craigslist suggestion, I did find bricks for sale. The lowest price was .50 cents a brick (albeit beautiful bricks), anyone know if that’s a deal or not? Might be a little more than I have to spend 🙂 I’ll keep checking the free section!

    • Diana,

      I’d keep looking. It may take a while of checking Craigslist daily, but I think you’ll find what you want if you’re patient. I looked for a waterstove for 12 months before I found one we could afford (which ended up being free after I sold the solar panels that came with it). It’s just a matter of how long you’re willing to wait 😉 You might put it out there among family and friends that you’re looking as well. You never know who knows someone who knows someone. We got free windows from a friend’s dad’s house remodel just for putting the word out. 🙂

  6. I REALLY like this idea!! My husband and I have been trying to figure out how to do a separate herb garden to free up some space in the vegetable garden. There’s a salvage supply just down the road from me that I will hit up for the bricks (ohhh I hope I can find them) I love the idea of getting them free out of the woods though ;-)!! I would definitely like to see some more pictures when you fill in the remaining space with herbs and the stepping stones. Thanks for sharing Kendra, you are so creative and inspiring.

    • Diana,

      I see bricks on Craigslist quite often as well, you might see if you can get a good deal there, maybe even free 🙂 I’ll update with photos when it’s all filled out. So far I’ve added thyme, marigolds (calendula), chives, and cilantro. But there’s still a LOT of room for more!

  7. I just have to say: AMAZING! I have many old bricks from a new piece of property we purchased a few miles away and I had no idea what to do with all of them. I’d LOVE to do a raised bed with them now. Thanks for the inspiration!

    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~
    Wolfe City, Texas

  8. Very nice! I think it would look just a bit better if you added one more layer of bricks to hide the metal.

    I just made ten raised beds and they are so much easier to work with and I dont have to worry about the nutritionally defficient soil!

    Good gardening to you!

  9. Atta Girl, it’s beautiful. I’d fill it with medicinal herbs, calendula, arnica, myrrh etc. It couldn’t be nicer!!!

  10. LOVE IT! Not only is it useful, but also beautiful. I planted basil last year and it went very well. I think the flowers in the pot would be pretty. Maybe some type of flower that can also be used as a medicinal plant. : )

  11. How about a prostrate form of Rosemary? It likes it sandy and on the dry side, and the pot would be a good place for it.

  12. You could put mint in the pot as it is fast growing and chokes out other plants; so is best in a pot. The bed is gorgeous!

  13. This is just lovely! What a great idea for scrap materials! A job well done. I have most of my herbs planted in an old canoe, which keeps things contained as well. It forms the eastern boundary of my garden, and I have it sectioned off so one invasive plant doesn’t mingle with the others. It’s mostly mint, and you know how that goes…

  14. Looks great and everyone has good ideas on plants. I would probably put in a few stepping stones so you could get to the middle to harvest. Looks too big to reach across. And the stones would lend some rustica also.

  15. That looks beautiful! I always have rosemary, chives and sage growing. And for annuals basil and parsley and dill (which self seeds for me here). I keep trying to grow cilantro but it just bolts too fast. I hope you do a followup picture when you have it planted out more.

  16. AWESOME!! I wish I had some bricks laying around:) Personally, I would put some more herbs in the pot, but I’m a bit herb crazy. Maybe put something in the pot that also needs to be contained, chives or peppermint as someone else suggested.

  17. I love this and have the same bricks leftover from our edging, in my garage! I am even thinking raising up inside of my landscaping and adding some herbs, thanks for the idea 🙂

  18. I love it! I wish I had a source of free bricks, I have been wanting to do the same thing in my yard forever!

    If it were my bed I would put some cascading flowers in the top like a wave petunia. It will attract butterflies, bees and humming birds to your garden. You could also do something that will stand tall in the center of the pot like Blood Flower:

    http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary/annual/blood-flower/

    Celosia would look nice with the petunias:

    http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary/annual/celosia/

  19. Gorgeous! Can’t wait to see pics of it all filled with lovely herbs and flowers. 🙂

    I would have some thyme, summer savory, sage…perennial and self sowing herbs, and maybe some calendula. Have fun filling it up!

  20. I love it!! It is rustic and I love the use of reclaimed materials. How about sweet potato vines in the pot? They would cascade over the sides and the lighter green would add a pop of bright color.

  21. It looks gorgeous!!! What a great idea. I think peppermint would look nice in the pot. It also spreads like wildfire, but it does cascade down. Might have to watch the searching tendrils a bit, because if they find dirt, they’ll make roots.

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