View Full Version : Questions about bed orientation and tree roots

10-18-2008, 12:59 PM
I'm in the process of planning and constructing raised beds for next year and I'm going back and forth on bed orientation - East/West or North/South or does it really make any difference? East/West makes a little more sense in my yard, but I could do North/South if it really matters. I've seen both, but I'll occasionally read that they should be North/South for better use of the sunlight. Any opinions?

And, second, my lawn is inundated with cottonwood roots - they are everywhere and in the past when I haven't mowed for a while I ended up with little cottonwoods coming up everywhere. I was just going to put my raised beds on the ground, but then I started to worry about roots coming up into the beds. So my latest plan is to put down a couple of inches of gravel first and put the beds on top of that. I figure this will be good for drainage too. Does this sound like a good idea? Does anyone have any other suggestions or tips?


10-19-2008, 07:22 PM
Your sunlight will be coming from the south so if you orient your beds NS you will have the tallest plants to the north or your trellis. The advantage of staggered EW beds would be more trellis space which is typically at a premium. Of course if they're not stagered, then any tall plants would shade the adjacent bed, which could be problematic. Of course every configuration has its pros and cons.

As for your roots, you're just like me. I had bad weed problems. So I put down landscape fabric and then 3 inches of gravel on top of that. Nothing's getting through. Hehe.

Good luck and enjoy!

10-21-2008, 10:16 AM
Thanks Sinfonian! It sounds like I'm on the right track with the gravel - I guess I just needed some reassurance. As far as beds go, it sounds like EW might be the way to go - I've noticed the trellis issue when I've tried to plan where I'm going to plant. Of course, I hadn't thought about staggering beds - hmmm, another variable to consider. Gee, maybe I'm being a little too obsessive about this - okay, more work, less thinking!

10-21-2008, 11:58 AM
Hmm, in Wyoming, I'd say you have all winter to think because you're not planting now. I planned all winter last year and built late winter early spring, then planted.

I think you will be very happy EW if you stager the beds. Think of all the trellis real estate you could have! /drool

10-21-2008, 09:44 PM
Gravel for sure, but maybe some pvc under the gravel. The tree roots will be competing for water with your garden, so be prepared to keep it well hydrated.

10-22-2008, 12:53 PM
Hi Garden Girl!

I'm not sure what you mean by pvc under the gravel - pvc pipe? How would that work? I was planning on laying either landscape fabric or newspaper or cardboard under the gravel.