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Starting a Lasagna Garden in a Raised Bed: Essential Tips (2023)

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tips to starting a lasagna garden in a raised bedFirst, choose an ideal location that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day and is far enough from open windows to avoid odors.

Next, gather all the necessary supplies:

  • Cardboard or newspaper for layering
  • Brown materials like straw and grass clippings
  • Green materials like kitchen scraps and other compostables
  • Topsoil for the top layer

Water the bed deeply when needed. Maintain weeds throughout the growth cycle. Add mulch periodically to help retain moisture.

The no-dig, organic lasagna gardening method saves labor and results in nutrient-rich soil full of beneficial microorganisms. With the right materials and location, creating this type of garden can be easy and enjoyable.

Follow these tips for lasagna gardening success with vegetables, herbs or flowers in your raised bed.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose a sunny location with 6 or more hours of sunlight.
  • Use untreated lumber for the raised bed frame.
  • Gather diverse organic materials for layering the lasagna garden, such as leaves, grass clippings, straw, newspaper, cardboard, manure, coffee grounds, egg shells, and plant debris.
  • Maintain weed control and avoid using diseased plants or meat scraps, which can attract pests.

Choose the Right Location

Choose the Right Location
When starting a lasagna garden in a raised bed, you’ll need to choose the right location. Carefully consider sunlight requirements and accessibility as you select your garden site. Lasagna gardens require at least 6 hours of full sunlight per day. Select a spot that gets sunlight for most of the day.

Make sure the area is easily accessible so you can tend to your garden regularly. Avoid shady, wet areas that do not drain well. Consider your plant’s light and water needs as you evaluate potential sites.

Sunlight Requirements

You’ll want to pick a spot that soaks up the sun’s rays like your skin during a summer picnic, as lasagna gardens need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight for the layers to properly decompose. Select an area that receives full sun exposure throughout the day. South-facing sites are ideal, while shady spots under trees or buildings limit vegetable yields.

When planning your lasagna garden bed, check sunlight patterns to ensure proper light. Morning sun promotes growth, while afternoon sunlight ripens fruit and vegetables.


Pick a spot that’s within reach and close enough to easily tend your garden daily. For maximum accessibility, opt for a raised bed installation with wide paths. This allows easy access for gardeners of all abilities, including those in wheelchairs or with limited mobility.

Position your lasagna garden bed along an existing path or patio, and consider adding a ramp if needed. An accessible garden promotes independence and makes growing your own produce possible for everyone.

Prepare the Raised Bed

Prepare the Raised Bed
Establishing the ideal raised bed is a crucial first step when starting your lasagna garden. Select quality, chemical-free lumber to build the frame and choose sustainable brown and green materials to begin layering according to their proper ratios.

Selecting the Right Materials

Raid your pantry before the garden center when sourcing materials. Those stale crackers and bruised apples aren’t trash – they’re the building blocks of your new lasagna garden. Get creative repurposing food scraps and other household items. Layer shredded paper, crushed eggshells, coffee grounds – anything organic.

Let your imagination run wild curating ingredients. Just steer clear of contaminants.

Building the Bed

Okay, let’s get constructin’ that raised bed framework with untreated lumber before layerin’ up the lasagna garden. When buildin’ your lasagna garden bed frame, use rot-resistant wood like cedar or redwood.

Assemble it to your desired height and dimensions where you’ll get full sun exposure. Make sure to level the soil beneath the frame. Use corner posts and stakes to anchor it if needed.

Consider linin’ the base with landscape fabric before addin’ that cardboard foundation and startin’ them compost layers. Plan to maintain the bed’s structural integrity as the layers decompose over seasons.

With that sturdy foundation set, you’ll be ready for compostin’ and plantin’!

Gather the Organic Materials

Gather the Organic Materials
Gathering the right organic materials is crucial when starting a lasagna garden in a raised bed. Focus on stockpiling brown materials like dried leaves or shredded newspaper and green materials like kitchen scraps or grass clippings for the alternating layers that will decompose over time into nutrient-rich soil.

Brown and Green Layers

Head for an autumn collection of dried leaves. Alternate brown and green layers, each with a purpose. Let the browns absorb rain and feed earthworms. Allow the greens to compost, warming your soil. Balance thick, absorbent leaves with thinner grasses. Wet each layer to prevent drying out.

Composting Materials

Gather grass clippings while weaving magic with worms working wonders beneath. Leverage composting materials like fallen leaves, aged manure, coffee grounds, and vegetable scraps.

  1. Alternate brown and green materials.
  2. Shred or chop large pieces.
  3. Maintain moisture and air flow.
  4. Turn regularly.
  5. Allow 6-12 months for finished compost.

Carefully select diverse organic materials to enrich your lasagna garden’s decomposition process. The proper moisture management and layering techniques catalyze rich humus for nourishing your vegetables.

Layering the Garden Bed

Layering the Garden Bed
Starting with cardboard or newspaper, make the first sheet cover the entire bed to suppress weeds and retain moisture. Next, follow your materials list by adding thin layers of compost materials, alternating brown layers like leaves and green layers such as kitchen scraps.

Starting With Cardboard or Newspaper

Spread a layer of cardboard or newspaper on the bare ground to suppress weeds and retain moisture. The cardboard acts as a biodegradable weed barrier, blocking light to kill underlying weeds while slowly breaking down to enrich the soil.

Newspaper, especially the black and white pages, serves a similar function. Both provide organic matter as they decompose. Opt for plain cardboard and newspaper to avoid contaminants in printed inks. This base layer is an excellent mulch alternative when starting your lasagna garden in a new raised bed.

Adding Organic Materials

Keep alternating your organic matter as you build it up.

As you layer, incorporate the following materials:

  1. Dry leaves, straw, or shredded paper for brown layers.
  2. Grass clippings, coffee grounds, and fruit/veggie scraps for green layers.
  3. Well-aged herbivore manure or compost for nutrient layers.
  4. Optional layers of peat, coconut coir, or composted pine can be added for moisture.

Occasionally misting the layers will aid decomposition. Once the materials resemble soil, you can dig in and plant your garden.

Watering and Maintaining the Garden

Watering and Maintaining the Garden
Watering and maintaining your lasagna garden is crucial for its success. Monitor moisture levels, give the garden a light watering during droughts, replenish layers annually, and weed and apply mulch as needed to keep your lasagna garden thriving.

Watering Guidelines

Ensure you keep the layers moist while they decompose. Balance hydration throughout all lasagna garden layers for the best results. During hot, dry spells, provide temporary shade or mist the bed lightly to prevent excessive drying.

Monitor moisture weekly by digging down a few inches – add water slowly if the layers are dry. Be careful not to saturate the bed. Your watchful watering encourages rich microbial activity for vibrant, living soil.

Mulching and Weed Control

You’ll love seeing fewer weeds pop up when you keep your lasagna garden covered in mulch.

  • Use organic mulches like wood chips, leaves, straw, or grass clippings to suppress weeds.
  • Mulch also helps retain moisture and regulate soil temperatures.
  • Replenish the mulch 2-3 inches deep whenever it starts to thin out.
  • Hand pull any weeds that do emerge to keep them from going to seed.

Mulch provides many benefits for lasagna gardening. It helps conserve water by reducing evaporation from the soil surface. The mulch layer also prevents weed seeds from germinating by blocking light. As the mulch decomposes, it improves soil structure and adds organic matter.

Using mulch can reduce the need for fertilizers by providing nutrients to plants slowly over time. Overall, mulching is an easy and effective way to boost the health of a lasagna garden.


Dreaming of a thriving lasagna garden in a raised bed? With the right tools and knowledge, it can be done!

First, select the ideal location for your garden, ensuring it’ll receive ample sunlight and be easy to access.

Next, prepare the raised bed using untreated lumber and other materials to build a sturdy frame.

Then, gather your organic materials, alternating layers of brown and green items like leaves, straw, manure, and compost.

Be sure to keep your lasagna garden watered and well-maintained.

With these tips, you’ll be on your way to a bountiful raised bed garden. So go ahead, let your gardening dreams take root and watch your lasagna garden blossom!

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.