Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

frequently asked questions

What are the advantages of a Raised Garden Bed?

A Raised Garden Bed is simply a garden bed built above ground level, so that its soil level is higher than the surrounding ground. The bed is typically narrow enough that its center can be reached from both sides, eliminating the need to walk in the bed—this allows greater planting density, results in fewer weeds, and gives greater crop yields. Additional advantages of a raised garden bed include better heat retention (which extends the growing season), less reliance on potentially poor soil (consider the amount of low quality backfill placed around typical houses for drainage!), and less soil compaction (because no one walks in the planted area). Wind protection, hail protection, and rodent protection are also readily adaptable to raised garden beds - a significant plus in Cheyenne's high plains climate. Perhaps most importantly, they are more accessible for children and those who don't wish to bend over, and can be built with a seating area around the perimeter.

How do Elevated Raised Beds differ from "normal" raised garden beds?

A simple Elevated Garden Bed is like a raised garden bed, lifted up and placed on legs—this elevates the garden surface significantly more, making it much more accessible than one that rests on the ground. This is ideal for anyone who doesn't want to kneel or bend over to work in the garden, and it is conducive to wheelchair access because the chair's footrests will fit under the elevated bed, allowing it to be approached head-on and up close.

I know I forget to water sometimes, and I've heard that sprinkling can result in less fruit on plants like tomatoes—is there a better way to water a Raised Garden Bed or Elevated Bed?

In the dry windy climates we have in Wyoming and Colorado, a drip watering system is a simple and effective way to put the water right where you need it, with minimal waste; the system can be configured to also water container plants in the vicinity if you wish. And simple timers are available for drip systems, so you won't have to worry about forgetting to water! A drip system like this can be connected to a hose bib, and we're happy to install these systems for you and to help you configure them for the type of plants you would like to grow. If you don't have a raised bed but would like a drip system on your garden, we can do that too.

How do I keep gophers from tunneling up into a Raised Bed?

Our Gopher Wire option provides a framed-in wire mesh bottom that resolves this problem, while still allowing earthworm traffic!

Do your garden beds only come in cedar and redwood?

Cedar and redwood are our preferred materials for both Raised Garden Beds and Elevated Raised Beds, due to their strength, resistance to decay, and safety when growing edible plants (cedar and redwood don't require chemical treatment to have a long lifespan). In our opinion their durability makes them less expensive in the long run, compared to cheaper woods like the "SPF" (spruce-pine-fir) framing material available at most lumberyards. An equivalent garden bed made of SPF will need to be replaced several times over before a redwood/cedar bed reaches the end of it’s useful life - but it will still provide many years of gardening pleasure if constructed of 1.5" or thicker material. Please note: we will not warranty the life of materials such as pine due to their potential to break down relatively quickly in the presence of soil and moisture, and we will not build Elevated Raised Beds out of SPF, due to the increased risk of collapse and subsequent injury resulting from such wood biodegrading.

We ARE seeing more modern examples of lumber made of recycled plastic, some of which claim they are "guaranteed to not leach toxic chemicals." One particular product is made in the USA of UV-stabilized LDPE/HDPE plastic (the material plastic milk jugs are made of), and we are in the process of obtaining some of this material for testing in raised beds. We have not been able to find an independent study supporting the claims about this particular product.

Is there a wood preservative that is safe to use on a raised bed when growing vegetables?

Absolutely—we like to use 100% Tung Oil (made from the nut of the tung tree). Our primary raised bed materials, redwood and cedar, are naturally rot-resistant woods, so the use of tung oil is not absolutely necessary here - we use it because it also enhances the look of the wood. When used on other types of wood, it will will help reduce the rate at which the wood decays.  Make sure to get "100% Tung Oil," or you may wind up with a product that is cut with petroleum distillates....

How do your raised beds compare to those I can buy on-line or at the local home center?

As with any product, there are advantages and disadvantages to the raised beds available on-line and from other sources.
Compared to most of these products, our raised beds will:

  • arrive in good condition and NOT require ANY assembly
  • typically be more sturdy (the fasteners we use do not sacrifice strength for shipping convenience or ease of customer assembly)
  • have protection from underground garden pests such as gophers and voles as an option, and
  • in the case of our custom beds, be tailorable to a specific need or space—without sacrificing structural strength.

Keep in mind that wet soil can weigh 75 pounds per cubic foot or more, depending on soil composition, and this will apply an outward force on the sides of a raised bed as well as a downward force. We know people who have used raised beds made from parts bought on-line, and had good luck with them for many years. We also know people that said the raised bed they ordered was difficult to assemble and woefully inadequate for it’s intended purpose once filled with heavy soil. Note: Keep an eye out for products requiring use of “light weight potting mix” unless you are okay with having to also purchase and use this material instead of “dirt.” Raised beds with this constraint are not strong enough to hold “real” soil without risk of collapse.

Are your raised garden beds wheelchair-accessible?

Our Elevated Raised Bed is! This is a relatively “stock” product, but we can easily tailor both height and depth during construction, to maximize access based on a given wheelchair’s height and the occupant’s size.  Note: Taller raised garden beds (which rest directly on the ground) can also be accessible from a wheelchair, though they typically cannot be approached head-on, may require a significant expenditure of soil depth to be high enough for easy access, and may still require that the user lean over in their chair. Our Elevated Raised Bed addresses all of these issues.

I want to have a pet door installed in a sash-type window, so my cats can access their outside catio “safe haven” on their own. Will this render the window, or the window screen, unusable?

Our standard pet-door-in-window design fits into your window’s screen track, provides a clear lower portion in which the pet door is installed, and retains a screened upper portion for airflow. This allows you to open the window partially (making the pet door accessible while keeping air from coming in the screen), open the window fully (allowing fresh air in through the screen also), or close and lock the window—all without removing the pet door insert. Your original screen will be removed and remains unaffected, so it can be re-installed at any time if desired.

I want to put a catio enclosure in our back yard, but I don't want it right next to the house. Is there a way for the cats to get from the house to the enclosure, without getting loose in the yard?

Absolutely - our Catwalk Tunnels can provide your cats with a safe and escape-proof path between a window- or wall-mounted pet door, and the catio enclosure. Our catwalks are made of galvanized wire panel material with wooden flooring, and are strong enough for an adult to sit or stand on if placed on the ground. They can also be elevated without requiring mid-span support, so you can easily walk (or mow) underneath them.

Can you do whole-yard pet enclosures?

While we fabricate, sell and install a variety of pet enclosure-related items, when it comes to escape-proofing a yard we prefer to partner with a Colorado-based company that specializes in the design and installation of such enclosed areas.

We’ve had bobcat and coyote sightings in the area, and have read stories about someone seeing a mountain lion on their deck. Will your enclosure materials protect my pets from these animals?

Our catwalk tunnels are fabricated from sheets of roughly 11 gauge (0.120") welded wire, but we can utilize 3 gauge (.025") wire panels for enclosures upon request. While there are no absolute guidelines that we aware of for fencing out such predators from private properties, one can get a hint of what it would take by referencing the dangerous animal containment guidance from states that allow such animals to be kept by private individuals. The State of Texas, for example, has required a minimum of 12 gauge fencing to contain predators such as lynxes, bobcats, and coyotes, and a minimum of 9 gauge fencing to contain predators such as cougars and bears. Note that as wire diameter increases, the associated wire gauge number decreases.  The smaller gauge/larger diameter wire in our panel materials should keep such predators from getting to a pet. The 11 gauge material is what we have used for the elevated cat tunnel and associated "catio" enclosure in our own back yard near Cheyenne, where we routinely hear coyotes.

I have a few "Honey Do" projects around the house, but most handymen and contractors won't even call me back. What's up with that??

Well...that's an awkward question. It would be nice if everyone had the professionalism to be conscientious, with regard to everything from simple communications to consistently showing the discipline and integrity to take the time to do things right. If someone won't call you back, or doesn't show up on time, etc., that doesn't bode well and we would guess you don't want them working on your project anyway. We recommend that you evaluate us by the same standards—please give us a call!

How much do you charge, and how long will it take?

Custom projects tend to vary in span and complexity. Each has the potential to be unique—like people and their individual perceptions—and this affects both time and cost. The only way to effectively answer this question is to meet with you and discuss what you would like to have done. We find that success is best achieved when we can meet someone, listen to their desires and concerns, and then propose one or more possible solutions. The initial site visit and estimate are free.

Do you have a published price list for your services and “standard” size (non-custom) items?

That is in the works. In the meantime, please give us a call at 307-631-9703.

I have seen products that are more expensive than yours—and products that are cheaper. Why should I buy from Nest & Sprout?

Our intent is that items from Nest & Sprout will be quality-of-life investments. They are things that will see active use while bringing their owners pleasure—and they will stand up to that use over time. They are not mass-produced, short-term disposables from a low-wage assembly line in another country. Our products are “Made in Wyoming,” and we are proud to stand behind their quality.

Is a written estimate really necessary? Don’t you work on a handshake?

A written estimate is a form of mutual respect and assurance that protects both you and us—in writing. Would you trust someone who refused to give you something in writing? Or who, when asked, replied “That’s not necessary, you can trust me!”

Do I ever need to worry about a building permit?

That depends on the nature of the work planned, but it is unlikely for the type of projects that Nest & Sprout does. If in doubt, it is best to check with your city or county building department, as appropriate. You may be able to find answers to  specific questions in the FAQs section of your building department's website, but you also shouldn't be afraid to just give them a call.

Are you at all selective in who your clients are?

Some of the best advice I’ve received from another small business person was that not everyone needed to my customer. And after spending 30 years in a highly-regulated industry filled with opinionated government inspectors, I know that there are personality types with whom I occasionally disagree. But at Nest & Sprout this is extremely rare—in this environment “like seems to attract like;” all of my customers to-date have been a real pleasure to work with!