WoodBlocX Raised Bed – Review

I love to use herbs in cooking and in summer time I like to add Borage and Mint to cold drinks. In my garden I grow Thyme, Bay and Chives but my Rosemary and Sage both died a couple of years ago so I have been buying them from the supermarket, I also buy tender herbs to grow on the windowsill during the summer. The problem I find with the supermarket herbs is that they don’t last very long so I have to keep replacing them.

I have always wanted a proper herb bed near the kitchen door but haven’t got the room to spare so I decided to build a raised bed on the patio. After looking around for suitable containers I settled on an ‘L’ shaped one from WoodBlocX.

WoodBlocx are a bit like giant lego made from sustainably sourced timber in Scotland, they are easy to lift and move around and don’t require any drilling, screws or nails.

The components arrived on a pallet which the driver moved into the garage and unpacked for me. My bed is 750mm wide, 750mm deep and 350mm high and I received the following components:

  • 4 x 750mm blocX
  • 7 x 375mm blocX
  • 13 x 300mm blocX
  • Capping cut to order
  • 75 dowels and wedges
  • 6 angle plates
  • 2 ground spikes (not needed when placing on a patio)

As I ordered in January I left them in the garage until the weather improved which for me was April.

The pictures below show my progress which was quite slow as I found it quite hard work.

All the components checked and laid out ready for use
All the components checked and laid out ready for use
The area where I'm going to build the bed
The area where I’m going to build the bed
I placed out the bottom layer but decided to move it back a bit before adding the remaining layers
I laid out the lower level where I wanted it to be but later moved it! The leaflet recommends putting in the dowels before putting it in place but as I was laying it on the patio I felt it would be ok. I found hammering in the dowels quite difficult and not all of them fitted into the recess properly so I have a few slight gaps; make sure you use a really heavy hammer to help you or a good, strong man! I also found that the wedges in the bottom of the dowels fell out of the bottom layer so you may want to remove them just for that layer.
My kit came with six metal angle plates and I wasn’t really sure where they should go as each level had six corners, in the end I put three on the first and second level which seems to have given it enough stability. In order for the capping to fit properly the dowels need to be cut down, this proved to be quite a big job so I left finishing the final level until a few days later. I bought new hacksaw blades and hammered in the dowels before cutting them and I eventually got through them all.
The capping fitted on
The capping went on quite well and finished it off lovely.
Before I filled the bed I decided to move it (again), if you have to move yours make sure you do it before you fill it with compost. Because I am placing my raised bed on the patio not soil it is recommended that you line the base with weed suppressing fabric to help keep the soil in place. I used 100 litres of compost mixed with 30% vermiculite a little bone meal and some water retaining granules.
This is the finished job which I think looks lovely
This is the finished job which I think looks lovely finished off with some grit

I have planted six different herbs; Spear Mint (Garden Mint) Mentha spicata which I’ve preplanted in a terracota pot to stop it spreading too much, English Mace Achillea ageratum, Coriander Coriandrum sativum, Variegated Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis variegata, Borage Borago officinalis and Golden Oregano Origanum vulgare Aureum. 

I meant to buy some Basil and forgot so I will see if I can squeeze some in later. I have also sown some Chive seeds in a terracotta pot and sunk it into the space in the left corner. In the front I have Rosemary and Sage which I’m going to plant into pots so I can move them indoors for the winter.

My patio doesn’t get a lot of sun so I’m not expecting all of these herbs to survive the winter; I will probably have to buy fresh plants each year which means I can ring the changes and find out which grow best.

I am very pleased with my new raised bed and I’m sure I will use it all the time. I will take some photographs throughout the summer so I can show you how the bed develops.