I have two raised beds. Both are made of engineered wood, 4' x 8 ' and 12" deep. Initially the beds were filled with some local topsoil that required a lot of screening to remove a surprising amount of gravel, but the soil has been improved with yearly additions of leaf mulch and old potting soil whenever I repot. The performance of my relocated perennials may be due to the liberal amounts of weathered cow poop I worked into the beds this spring. I think I'll add more cow poop next spring, even though I've had to pull some weeds that must have arrived after passing through the digestive tract of a cow. Most of my garden has been planted directly in the soil, which might be a nice rich patch of loam or a horrendous expanse of sticky red clay, depending on where you dig in our yard. There's more red clay than loam, so I would heartily recommend raised beds if I had to do it all over again. Currently I'm experimenting with planting directly into raised rows of somewhat decomposed compost from this past winter. The compost hasn't fully broken down yet, but the tomatoes don't seem to mind too much. By next spring these raised rows should be rich, crumbly mulch to go on my flower beds, and the current crop of compost from this summer can be planted with new tomato plants.
A clearwing sphinx moth, an odd daytime flyer often mistaken for a bumble bee or a hummingbird, is working over the purple butterfly bush, oblivious to the rain. The mosquitoes are also oblivious to the rain and the repellent I put on just 5 minutes ago, so it's time to move back inside again.