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The so-called permaculture is becoming more and more popular. Sustainability and the efficient use of resources are her priorities. A raised bed can be a useful tool in your own garden, because it is ideal for high yields of fruit and vegetables but is still easy to care for - and also an eye-catcher. But how does the creation and planting work? Our guide will show you step by step.

mound bed

A hill bed can best be compared to a raised bed. In contrast to a raised bed, mound beds do not have a fixed border, but at first glance look like heaped earth with sloping sides.
However, the beds are not made of pure earth. Instead, they are built in layers. The various materials of the layers decompose over time, releasing both heat and nutrients. This creates various advantages for the cultivation of vegetables, fruit or ornamental plants.


The term permaculture originally comes from English and is made up of the words "permanent" and "agriculture". To put it simply, the concept behind this designation stands for sustainability, the careful use of nature and resources.

But what does that have to do with the hill bed?

The raised beds are increasingly being associated with permaculture and are popular because they are crucial benefits exhibit. Only little effort and few materials are required for the creation, but the yield on the beds can be significantly higher than on normal beds. They act as a kind of raised bed because they also protect the roots of the plants and the substrate inside them is warmer. Among other things, this means that crops can be planted and harvested more quickly, earlier and more frequently.

It is precisely these qualities that make raised beds a useful tool for anyone wanting to try their hand at permaculture. In addition to the efficiency of cultivation, another advantage is the ease of care. Due to the height, working on the bed is easier on the back and therefore more comfortable.

Plan hill bed

In order for the bed to fulfill its purpose, it should be planned accordingly. The following points must be observed:


Mound beds are usually about 80 centimeters wide and about 180 centimeters long. Of course, the dimensions can be adapted to your own needs and the available space. It should be noted that every part of the bed should still be easy to reach. With a width of more than one meter, this can already be difficult.


Another important point is the right place for the bed. Not only must there be enough space available, the conditions are also important. It is ideal if the bed faces north to south, receives sufficient sunlight and is not in the immediate vicinity of trees and other larger plants. This creates good conditions for the growth of the plants and avoids the need to remove falling leaves or damage caused by falling branches and twigs.


There should be enough space around the bed so that the plants can still be easily reached. Therefore, planning also includes planning enough space around the bed and, if necessary, being able to create a small path.

Extra tip: A scale sketch of the garden can help to find the right place and size for the raised bed.


When the planning is complete and the right location has been found, the area should first be marked out in the form of the hill bed. All you need is a few sticks and some thread.

This measure makes it easier, on the one hand, to maintain the desired shape and size when putting it on. On the other hand, by staking out, it can be directly checked again whether each area of the bed can be reached without any problems.
Once this preparatory work is done, the following required tools and utensils should be ready:

  • close-meshed wire mesh, such as rabbit wire or mouse wire
  • Compost and/or fresh, humus-rich soil
  • leaves
  • lawn clippings
  • Twigs, twigs or chopped branches
  • spade
  • straw

Create hill bed

Creating mound beds is comparatively easy if a few points are taken into account. The step-by-step guide shows how it works:

  1. First, earth is excavated in the staked out area. The resulting hole should be at least 30 centimeters deep.
  2. The mouse wire is laid out in the excavated area. It serves as a barrier against voles and moles. It is ideal if the wire mesh is also laid out along the edges and bent upwards so that the animals cannot enter the bed from the side.
  3. Brushwood and smaller twigs or chopped wood are then placed on the wire. This rots slowly, releasing nutrients over the long term. This layer also serves as drainage. The layer should be about four inches thick.
  4. The second layer is straw and/or grass clippings. This layer should also be applied about ten centimeters high.
  5. The third layer consists of earth. The excavated earth can be used for this, which is applied about a hand's breadth.
  6. A thick layer of moistened foliage is applied to the earth.
  7. Finally, soil mixed with compost is applied, which is the last layer with a thickness of at least 20 centimeters.

Larger stones can be used as a finish around the bed, some of which can also prevent the earth from slipping.

nutrients and heat

The numerous different layers can seem unusual and overdone, especially for beginners in garden maintenance. But the meaning behind it is very simple and extremely practical:

  • the decomposition processes generate heat, similar to a compost heap
  • the different layers provide large amounts of nutrients
  • the water can drain off well, which avoids waterlogging
  • the plants are better protected from ground frost in winter


The best time to create the hill bed is in autumn. This allows the nutrients in the substrate to be distributed more evenly and the soil sinks a little. After the winter, the bed is then optimally prepared for planting.


The hill bed can be used for vegetables and fruit as well as ornamental plants. In any case, you should consider a few factors:

large plants on the north side

Whether high-growing corn or a large ornamental shrub - you should always plant tall and bushy plants on the north side. This allows them to protect the other plants, but does not cast too much shade.

deep roots outwards

Plants that develop deep roots are a good choice for the border. They fix the soil and can thus prevent the substrate from being washed away in heavy rain.

Beware of nitrate

If you want to plant certain plants for consumption, you should not choose plants that can store a lot of nitrate. Because this substance is harmful to human health in large quantities and accumulates in lettuce, spinach and cress, among other things. Due to the different layers and the decomposition processes, a lot of nitrate is initially released in the substrate. You should therefore not plant these plants on the hill bed for the first year or two.

It is better to plant heavy feeders at the beginning

Heavy feeders such as peppers, potatoes, broccoli, radishes or tomatoes require large amounts of nutrients and are therefore the best choice for initial planting. Mixed cultures with different plants that harmonize well with each other are also optimal.

heavy-duty nightshade plants

place the plants in spirals

It is good for a hill bed to arrange the plants in a spiral. As a result, the soil is better consolidated and the plants can be planted at a greater distance from each other.

If you want to provide the hill bed with ornamental plants, you don't have to pay as much attention to the nitrate content. Nevertheless, the other points mentioned for planting also apply in this case.


Because of the nutrient-giving layers, such as leaves, twigs, grass clippings, and compost, you don't need to fertilize the hill bed for the first few years. Only when the plants show weaker growth should you apply or incorporate fertilizer again. Among other things, the following are suitable:

  • Pond water without chemical additives
  • well rotted compost
  • leaves and green waste

Depending on the plants used, you can of course also use appropriate fertilizer from the trade.


When laying out the hill bed, it is advisable to form water channels. All you have to do is press the earth into lines. This creates two advantages. On the one hand, it is avoided that the irrigation water or rainwater washes the earth off the hill. On the other hand, the water collects in the grooves and reaches the substrate and the roots in a more targeted manner. This means you can water more sparingly.


Although heat builds up as a result of rotting in the mound bed, the bed's height also makes it more exposed - that is, more exposed to the wind and cold. Depending on the plants being planted, you should therefore apply protection in winter. This can consist of straw, brushwood, mulch or special garden fleece.

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