Good choice on the tufa mix. Ive tried it for planting pots and it is convenient but doesnt look attractive when youre trying to get something more finished. It has its place making "forest nooks where youd want to control a ground cover .
My cypress beds are set just at the ground surface. I screened an area and leveled it with a front end loader and a spinning laser level that I had in the company stores.
I laid down a single layer of brick for drainage and the laid the cypress beds on top (4'X8') . As you know, cypress is nice n heavy. cause its loaded with silica like bamboo. My raised beds take a fresh bucket of compot each year or so and give us the best tomatoes, chile peppers (Im a fan of hotter is better), and this yar, Im planting strawberries.
I used to garden on a half acre ground plot and I get just as much from the raised beds on a much smaller area and they look lmost Williamsburgish what with th cut flower bed within.