Raised garden beds have become increasingly popular due to the numerous benefits they offer. They provide better drainage, self-watering features, storage for tools, and protection from pests. Moreover, they come in various heights, some of which eliminate the need to bend or kneel to work in the garden.
- 1 Things To Consider Before Buying Raised Garden Beds?
- 2 Types of Raised Garden Beds
- 3 Benefits of raised-bed gardening
- 4 The Best Vegetables to Plant in a Raised Garden Bed
- 5 How We Tested the Best Raised Garden Beds
- 6 What can you grow in a raised garden bed?
- 7 What type of soil is good for a raised garden bed?
- 8 Where can you place a raised garden bed?
- 9 What type of raised garden bed is best for flowers?
- 10 What do I put on the bottom of a raised garden bed?
- 11 What is the best depth for a raised garden bed?
- 12 Should I put rocks in the bottom of my raised garden bed?
- 13 What is the cheapest material to use for raised garden beds?
- 14 Which is better raised bed or in-ground garden?
- 15 What is the difference between garden soil and raised bed soil?
- 16 Are raised garden beds worth it?
- 17 Do I need to replace soil in raised bed?
- 18 How long will raised beds last?
Whether you are a novice or an experienced gardener, raised garden beds are perfect for growing plants. They eliminate the need to crouch or bend over while tending to plants, and they are also versatile enough to fit anywhere, including patios.Raised garden beds come in different designs, including tiered wooden structures, elevated carts on wheels, and vertical gardening structures. They can be made from a variety of materials, ensuring that you can still get the look and design you want for your garden.
Raised-bed gardening is perfect for backyards that cannot accommodate traditional ground-level gardens. They reduce the distance the gardener needs to bend to tend to the plants, making them an excellent back saver. However, without testing the beds personally, it is difficult to tell if they contain quality materials, are designed for optimal plant growth, or if they would be overly challenging to assemble.
The 7 Best Raised Garden Beds of 2023：Our Top Picks
The following models passed our stringent performance tests to earn a spot in this lineup of some of the best raised garden beds. They had to be durable enough to support the weight of the soil mix, and they had to be designed so that plants had both root space and adequate drainage. Each one also had to live up to the seller’s claims, for the most part.
While the following raised beds differ in size, material, and design, making some better suited for specific growing situations, each one was a standout in our tests and has earned its place among the best raised bed gardens available today.
|Best raised garden beds DIY||Best Choice Products 48x24x30in Raised Garden Bed|
|Tall raised garden beds||Giantex Raised Garden Bed|
|Raised planter boxes on legs||Yaheetech 3 Tier Raised Garden Bed|
|BEST OVERALL||Vegepod – Raised Garden Bed|
|BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK||kdgarden Raised Garden Bed Kit|
|BEST WITH COVER||4-Ft Raised Garden Bed|
|BEST FOR BEGINNERS||2 ft X 2 ft Victory 8 EZ-GRO|
So, we decided to test them. We assembled nearly a dozen raised garden beds (no, they don’t come assembled), and then we put them through a battery of gardening-specific tests.
What We Like
- Attractive, rustic design
- Ample gardening space
- Includes a bed liner
- Water-resistant and durable
What We Don’t Like
- Can be very heavy when filled
- Lacks wheels for portability
Our top pick for a raised garden bed is the Best Choice Products Raised Garden Bed, which provides 5 cubic feet of gardening space. It is sturdy and durable, offering ample room for plants and vegetables without taking up too much outdoor space. The stand has three holes along the bottom to keep the soil fresh and prevent waterlogging of plants. The stand is 39 inches tall, which is waist-height for an average adult, minimizing the need to bend down or kneel while tending to plants. Its elevated design also helps to deter pests and rodents from invading your garden.
Assembling this raised garden bed is a straightforward process that can be done with ease. You can easily connect the boards via dovetail slots, and a mallet may be required if you encounter any resistance. The company also provides eight screws and pre-drilled holes to fasten the pieces together for added stability. Moreover, the package includes a liner to separate the wood from the potting soil, increasing the longevity of the planter.
The cedar wood used for the garden bed is untreated but holds up well over time, with few reports of warping or sagging. The garden bed is also available in two other sizes: a smaller version measuring 34 x 18 x 30 inches and a larger bed measuring 72 x 24 x 30 inches. Keep in mind that while this sturdy garden bed can support up to 200 pounds, it lacks wheels and can be difficult to move once it’s filled with soil and plants. Therefore, placement should be considered before filling the bed.
This raised garden bed is an extremely portable option with two wheels and a handle that enables it to be moved like a wheelbarrow. The bed comes with a shelf on the bottom and hooks on the side for storing gardening tools and other items. Additionally, the planter box has drainage holes. It is available in two sizes, both of which stand at a height of 31 inches.
The Yaheetech tiered garden bed is an exceptional choice that satisfies all requirements and much more. The wooden plugs that connect each piece make it easy to assemble, and the 100 percent fir wood frame is both robust and aesthetically pleasing, as noted by reviewers.
What sets this garden bed apart is the range it provides to gardeners. The open-bottom design ensures that each tier has its own soil depth, enabling a variety of plants, flowers, and vegetables to grow within the same structure. Additionally, the individual beds come in different sizes, adding to the variety. If you decide that the tiered design isn’t for you, you can remove the growing areas and create three distinct, single-level garden beds.
- With the top installed, it creates a microclimate
- Keeps plants protected on chilly nights
- The misting hose connects to a garden hose for spraying plants
- Does not drain quickly enough after it rains
The Vegepod is more than just a raised bed, resembling a miniature greenhouse. While it claims to be “self-watering,” this is not entirely accurate. The bed has a water reservoir at the bottom filled with perlite, which acts as a wick to transfer water to the soil above. We were apprehensive about the possibility of plants getting “wet feet” from the soggy soil at the bottom due to inadequate drainage, as we found only a few small drain holes.
Assembling the Vegepod is relatively complicated since it consists of over a dozen parts that must be aligned and connected. The instructions were insufficient, necessitating some trial and error to get it right. It’s essential to note that the legs that raise the bed to waist height must be purchased separately, as they were not included with the small model we tested. Nonetheless, it is a robust raised bed that can extend the growing season with the protective cover.
The Vegepod is a high-end raised bed that is ideal for growing late fall or early spring produce. We recommend placing it under a protected patio cover since the perforated cover allows a significant amount of rainwater in, resulting in sopping wet soil that takes hours to drain. To aid drainage, we had to drill a few drain holes along the side.One useful feature of this model is the misting hose that attaches to the inside top of the cover. When we connected it to the garden hose, the mister evenly sprayed the plants inside. The Vegepod is 20 inches long, 13 inches wide, and 40 inches high with the cover installed. It weighs 22 pounds, which is sufficient to prevent it from sliding across the patio during high wind storms.
- Easy to assemble
- Rot and insect resistant
- Top grid for separating small plants
- The bright white is quite noticeable (some may like this)
The Kdgarden Raised Garden Bed distinguishes itself from other beds we tested as it is constructed with heavy-duty white PVC and each piece is manufactured to fit perfectly. Assembling the raised bed was refreshingly easy.
With dimensions of 48 inches by 48 inches and a height of 13.3 inches, the Kdgarden provides ample space for flower and vegetable plant-root development. We placed it on a level surface, and the bottom side rails allowed excess water to drain out smoothly.
While this raised bed can be used to grow a substantial crop of lettuce or other vegetables, it is better suited for cultivating smaller plants, such as herbs. The bed comes with a grid that fits along the top edge, providing 16 smaller growing spaces. The PVC material is impervious to insect infestations and will not rot. Although the bright white color stands out in a yard, it would be a perfect addition to the yard of a white house or a house with white trim.
- Sturdy frame
- Attractive design
- Grow numerous plants in small, vertical space
- No drainage holes
Upon opening the box of the Outland Living Raised Garden Bed, we were greeted with steel legs, frame members, and four polyethylene containers. Assembling the raised bed took us over 30 minutes due to a minor error in attaching the braces, but it wasn’t a difficult task as long as the instructions were followed correctly. The steel legs and frame members were connected using the included stainless steel nuts, washers, and bolts.
Once assembled, the Outland Living raised bed stood at 50 inches tall, 25 inches from side to side, and 19 inches from front to back at the base. Despite initial concerns about its sturdiness, it was well-balanced, and even after a high-wind storm, it remained standing.
The four containers securely fit on the side braces of the frame, and they were spacious enough to accommodate compact flowers and herbs. The only downside was that the containers did not come with drainage holes, causing us to drill some at the bottom of each container after finding the plants floating in water following a rainstorm.Despite the minor drainage issue, the Outland Living Raised Garden Bed is an attractive and practical option for growing multiple small plants in a narrow space.
This fabric raised garden bed is the most economical option on our list, with prices starting at only $25 for a 2×2 ft planter. It is offered in six different sizes, all of which are deep enough to accommodate a considerable amount of soil, and consumers appreciate this feature. Additionally, there is no assembly required – you just have to unfold it and fill it with soil.
What We Like
- Extremely durable construction
- Highly resists rust and corrosion
- Can withstand harsh weather
- Generously sized growing space
What We Don’t Like
- Assembly is a bit time-consuming
- Need to bend or kneel to use
- Water may drain out the sides
The Sunnydaze Raised Metal Garden Bed is a long-lasting planter built to endure harsh weather conditions. Its galvanized steel construction makes it sturdier than wooden or plastic planters. Although the assembly is uncomplicated, it may take longer because of the numerous fasteners.
With a width of 40 inches and a depth of 16 inches, the Sunnydaze is perfect for growing various vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. It’s deep enough to cultivate vining plants like pumpkins, watermelons, and squash. Since the bed is open at the bottom, excess water drains effortlessly into the ground. However, some water may seep out from the sides where the metal pieces connect to the supports. To prevent this, you can repack the soil in those areas. If you’re not entirely satisfied, you can take advantage of the 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.
What We Like
- Has wheels for portability
- Sits at around waist height
- Features a lower shelf for storage
- Durable steel construction
What We Don’t Like
- Water drains onto lower storage shelf
The FOYUEE Raised Planter Box provides ample space for growing various plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetables. At a height of just over 31 inches, you won’t have to bend down to tend to your plants. The planter box is easily portable, thanks to wheels on one side and a broad, comfortable handle on the other. It also has a lower storage shelf, which can hold gardening tools and other necessary supplies.
This unit is made of galvanized steel with a rust-resistant coating, making it less susceptible to decay than wooden planters. Additionally, the dark steel frame gives it a sleek, modern appearance. To prevent overwatering, there’s a drainage hole and line located in the middle of the cart that allows excess water to escape. However, the only downside is that water drains directly onto the lower storage shelf, so it’s best not to store any items that you don’t want to get wet.
Although the manufacturer claims assembly can be done in five minutes, it may take longer. Hardware is included, but you’ll need your pliers and screwdriver.
What We Like
- Self-watering technology
- Built-in water gauge
- Leakproof drainage system
- Can be used indoors or outdoors
What We Don’t Like
- Reports of damaged products upon delivery
The Keter Easy Grow Raised Garden Bed comes with a watering system and reservoir that automatically provides the right amount of water to your plants. A built-in water gauge helps you know when to water and when not to. If the gauge turns red, it allows excess water to drain out. If it’s green, you can go ahead and water your plants. Made from durable polypropylene resin, this planter can be used both indoors and outdoors.
The planter has a height of about 30 inches, which means you won’t have to bend or crouch while gardening. With a 31.7-gallon capacity, it provides enough space to grow a variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. The Keter Raised Garden Bed is very easy to assemble and requires only a screwdriver to attach the legs. It comes in two classic colors, dark brown and dark gray, that complement most outdoor patio furniture. However, some customers have reported receiving damaged products, so make sure to inspect yours thoroughly upon delivery.
Things To Consider Before Buying Raised Garden Beds?
Before splashing the cash on a newly raised garden bed, certain factors must be carefully considered to get the best one. These factors will ensure you get good value for the money spent and the bed surpasses your expectations.
The material used to make the garden bed is an essential factor to consider when buying one. To a large extent, the material used determines the bed’s durability. Wood, metal, and plastic are the three most common materials used to make garden beds. The durability of wooden garden beds is dependent on the type of wood used. They are usually firm and stable. Garden beds made of metal are not quite as common as wooden beds; however, they have a lightweight build. A significant downside of metallic beds is their propensity to become rusted. Garden beds made of plastic materials are the most lightweight of the three. Their lightweight build makes them easy to carry and relocate.
Since the soil used in elevated planters is contained in a box, excess water needs to find its way out of the unit. Thus, the need for drainage holes. Drainage holes are holes through which excess water leaves the plant box. Letting out excess water ensures that the bed does not become waterlogged and the plants do not experience root rot. Some elevated planters come with pre-drilled holes, while others have no provision for this. To save yourself the stress of drilling the holes, you should look for a bed that comes with pre-drilled drainage holes before buying one.
Width and depth
The width of the plant bed is another factor to consider before purchase as it influences the number of plants the bed can accommodate at a time. The wider the bed, the more plants you can place there. Wider beds typically cost more than narrow ones. In addition to the width, the depth of the bed should also be considered. The depth requirements of plants vary; thus, ensure you buy a bed that has sufficient depth for the plants you want to grow.
The distinguishing feature of a raised planter is height. You must consider how tall the bed is before buying one. This factor is even more important for users who are getting the bed because of a medical condition that does not allow them to bend down to tend to the plants. Elevated planters are available in different heights. Therefore, you should buy a raised bed that sits at a height where you can easily tend to your plants without straining your back or aggravating your condition.
Ease of assembly
Due to their size, it is unlikely that your elevated planter will come fully assembled; you will likely have to assemble it. Therefore, to ensure a seamless assembling process, you should get a bed that can be easily assembled. Correctly assembling the unit goes a long way in ensuring it serves you optimally, providing you with a stable bed that you can confidently use to grow plants.
Traditionally, elevated planters are made with a rectangular box sitting on four elevated legs. However, new raised garden bed designs offer a variety of styles and functions. One of the most common new designs is that of vertical beds. They are made up of planting bins that sit vertically in tiers. They allow you to compartmentalize your plants and are aesthetically pleasing.
Another factor to consider is the ease of moving the garden bed around. If it is lightweight, moving it around will not be a problem. If it comes with wheels, then that is perfect. Plant beds that have wheels attached to the base are easier to move around. However, they may cost slightly more than the ones that come without wheels.
Extra features on an elevated garden bed are likely to make them costlier. However, features like liners, bottom reinforcement and storage space will make gardening even more enjoyable. Liners help to insulate the soil against temperature changes. Storage space allows you to keep the gardening tools nearby for easy access. Depending on the size of the storage space, you can also place a mini-bed in it. However, elevated planters with extra features may cost more than those without them.
Types of Raised Garden Beds
While some of the designations can overlap, there are four basic types of raised garden beds: raised ground beds, supported raised beds, containerized raised beds, and elevated raised beds.
- A raised ground bed requires no additional materials other than soil. It’s a simple form of a raised bed with flat-topped mounds, usually 6 to 8 inches high. Raised ground beds are great for gardeners who have large areas to plant but do not want the added expense of building support frames.
- A supported raised bed has an edge or frame surrounding the bed that keeps the soii and is typically made of wood, stone, plastic, or metal. Supported raised garden beds are well suited for sloped or uneven yards, and they give gardens an attractive, finished appearance.
- A containerized raised bed has taller sides (10 inches or more). Containerized raised beds can be placed just about anywhere, including lawns, walkways, or decks. They take more soil to fill, but their versatility and ease of use make them ideal for high-traffic areas or for people with accessibility issues.
- An elevated raised bed is similar to a containerized raised bed, but it sits even higher, supported on legs that bring the growing area to a comfortable standing height. These beds are extra handy for those with mobility challenges.
Benefits of raised-bed gardening
Dimitrov said raised garden beds are popular because they allow gardeners to control the soil quality they’re planting in. When you’re planting in the ground, it’s hard to know the exact composure of the soil or if it has the proper nutrients your plants need to thrive. But you fill raised garden beds with the soil of your choosing, and you can be sure it’s not contaminated or stripped of essential vitamins and minerals. Dimitrov added that in a raised garden bed, the soil is able to thaw and warm up faster than it is on the ground.
Additionally, DeVito said raised garden beds are beneficial if your property is filled with tree roots, large shrubs or aggressive plants that make it challenging to dig in certain areas. Planting in raised garden beds is essentially a blank slate — you can start from scratch and avoid some of the challenges that come with in-ground gardening. DeVito also noted that raised garden beds make gardening easier for people with physical challenges or disabilities that make it difficult to bend over, work on their knees or squat down close to the ground.
The Best Vegetables to Plant in a Raised Garden Bed
Raised garden beds provide a nutrient-rich environment for plants to grow, making it a great place for growing vegetables for experts or first-time planters alike. Raised beds are effective in growing just about any vegetable, but some take particular advantage of the garden space and environment during growing season. Here are some of the best veggies you can cultivate using a raised garden bed.
- Brussel sprouts
How We Tested the Best Raised Garden Beds
Our goal in testing the raised garden beds was to cut through the hype and determine each bed’s real pros and cons so readers could take advantage of our results before buying.
We used a rubric and awarded points for each feature we tested on the garden beds. The individual tests included noting the ease of assembly, judging the overall stability and quality of the materials of each raised bed, filling the beds with potting soil, and then testing to see how well they drained.
Filling them with soil and then watering them was essential because wet soil is heavy and creates a substantial amount of lateral pressure. As noted above in “Also Tested,” a flimsy raised bed is a waste of our readers’ money no matter how attractive it is. We added a few plants here and there, mainly for photos, but we tested the beds in late winter when nighttime temps were still too cold to permanently plant the beds.
After the testing was complete, we added the scores and used the results to assign relative awards for each product. We detailed both the pros and the cons, so our readers would have a heads-up on what to expect if they purchase one of these top-performing raised garden beds.
What can you grow in a raised garden bed?
The ideal growing conditions depend upon the depth of your raised garden bed. For compact herbs, plants, and flowers, the depth can be as little as six to eight inches. Deep-rooted plants, such as eggplant or watermelons, fare better in soil at least 12 to 18 inches deep.
What type of soil is good for a raised garden bed?
The type of soil you choose depends on the plants you intend to grow. Some soils are for an assortment of plants, while others are specially formulated for specific types of plants. A potting mix that gets its nutrients from a variety of sources, including peat, manure, compost, and fertilizer, provides the ideal nutrients for an assortment of plants. To cut down on the cost of soil, Winkler recommends layering big sticks in the bottom of the bed to fill up space.
Where can you place a raised garden bed?
Since a raised bed doesn’t require any tilling, you can place one almost anywhere in your yard. That said, make sure your plants are getting the right amount of sunlight. “It’s always preferred to arrange your beds facing a north-south direction,” Winkler says.
What type of raised garden bed is best for flowers?
One that offers at least 9 inches of soil depth to allow the flower roots to develop fully is best, and it’s important to get one that drains well.
Placing potting soil at least 8 inches deep will keep weeds in ground-level beds from coming up to compete with the desirable plants, so nothing is needed for those. However, shallower raised beds will benefit from a layer of cardboard or old newspapers that will act as a biodegradable weed barrier.
What is the best depth for a raised garden bed?
They should have at least 8 inches of soil depth to accommodate the root systems of plants, because the majority of plant roots require 6 – 8 inches of soil for healthy root growth. A depth of 8 – 12 inches will suffice for most gardening situations.
There is no need to put rocks at the bottom of a raised garden bed. It is actually a myth that has been around for several years. The belief for many years was that it would improve the drainage and also prevent any soil from spilling outside the beds.
What is the cheapest material to use for raised garden beds?
Cinder blocks and concrete blocks are very inexpensive (typically $2 to $3 a piece at home improvement centers), and they make it really easy to build the outline of a raised garden bed.
Which is better raised bed or in-ground garden?
Weed populations decrease over time in a raised bed that is well cared for and mulched. Better drainage: A well-prepared raised bed allows the soil to drain better than in an in-ground garden. In some areas of Georgia, the soil drains so poorly that raised beds enable gardening of crops that would not otherwise grow.
What is the difference between garden soil and raised bed soil?
Raised bed soil is nutrient rich and contains a higher percentage of organic material than garden soil. However, you should also add additional organic fertilizer throughout the growing season to ensure a productive harvest. Organic and natural fertilizers include compost, algae and worms.
Are raised garden beds worth it?
Similar to blocking out pests, raised beds have the advantage of allowing less weed intrusion than in-ground gardens. First and foremost, if you fill your raised garden beds with fresh weed-free soil, they’re far less likely to grow weeds inside them at all.
Do I need to replace soil in raised bed?
The soil in your raised beds will break down over time; however, you don’t need to replace all of the soil in your raised bed garden to have beautiful, vibrant, or bountiful plants. Before planting the following growing season, add Miracle-Gro® Refresh™ Soil Revitalizer to your old soil, following package directions.
How long will raised beds last?
It really depends on the material of the raised bed; most gardeners choose cedar or redwood because of their natural resistance to rotting and infestations. In optimal conditions, they’ll last up to 10 to 20 years. However, longer-lasting materials are available as well.