In the backyard we currently have a small patio and a lot of lawn. We also have a toolshed, which seems to be sinking into the earth because there's no real foundation underneath it. We want to invest in some raised garden beds (bad knees and backs), something like this: https://eartheasy.com/deer-proof-cedar-complete-raised-garden-bed-kit-8-x-8-x-20/?sku=RB88-RB88DFO&gclid=CjwKCAiApNSABhAlEiwANuR9YHSoWLHjbkeiPow1wNVkBvU_oCism43bHMf0NSPmY8Rp3rDrWToCbxoCzTAQAvD_BwE

What should we put underneath it in order to prevent it from sinking into the earth or otherwise being damaged? Cement? Dig out some of the lawn and put in woodchips?

(Let me know if this belongs on gardening instead, I'm not sure)

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    The damage will come from rotting of the wood ,not sinking. I put plastic sheet ; film ( as thick as you can find) behind wood to reduce the moisture in the wood. – blacksmith37 Jan 31 at 0:56
  • Wood chips underneath will do nothing but rot, leaving a space for whatever is above it to settle into. – FreeMan Feb 1 at 13:17

Unless your soil is extremely sandy and wet you won't have to take precautions to prevent the garden beds from sinking. I would imagine the tool shed sinking due to the extra weight and foot traffic it endures regularly.

If you feel it necessary to take steps to keep the raised beds stable you can:

-level the beds by excavating under the high corners. This will keep the corner from moving.

-In addition with the excavating pound wooden stakes made from redwood or cedar at each corner. Leave 6-8 inches above ground and screw that section to the bed.

-This idea will help in 2 ways: attach 1/2 inch hardware cloth to the entire bottom of the bed. This will not only provide alot of surface area (drag/friction), but will prevent gophers and other burrowing critters from entering the bed.

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    My experience has been that pounding stakes into the soil is likely to backfire. Freeze-thaw cycles (or something, idk) can cause them to raise out of the soil, lifting the bed-wall with them until soil starts spilling out the bottom. Once the beds are full of dirt they'll be incredibly heavy; no anchoring is needed. – ShapeOfMatter Jan 31 at 15:15

Your shed is likely sinking because of the weight of the roof and poor soil compaction when it was put in. The don't normally sink, and don't require poured foundations.

A raised bed garden is relatively light, and as long as you compact any soil you disturb is very unlikely to sink into the ground.

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    Raised-bed gardens are extremely heavy (~1 ton/yard^3). That said, it's the soil that will sink; the walls will tend to stay put so you can just add more soil to the top as needed. – ShapeOfMatter Jan 31 at 15:19

Raised Garden Bed Kit

Unless the ground is really soft, the frame of the raised garden bed is not heavy enough to sink, but over time the soil will settle and compact which will make it look like the soil at least is sinking.

I suggest leaving the bottom open for drainage.

Good luck with the vegetables.

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