The 10 Best Raised Garden Beds
This wiki has been updated 29 times since it was first published in August of 2015. A raised garden bed comes in handy for growing vegetables or flowers in confined spaces, and can help protect plants from weeds and provide good drainage. Their elevated design is useful in places with poor soil, and makes things easy on your back, too. The selections featured here are available in a range of prices to suit any budget, offered in designs to please all tastes. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
March 18, 2021:
It wasn’t an especially eventful round of updates for us, but we did wind up removing the VegTrug Limited and Arboria Cedar due to availability issues.
Our first new addition this time through was the King Bird Galvanized, which sports a three-tier design that might make it describable as a metal version of the Timberlane Gardens Kit. If you like the look, it can make a practical and ergonomic choice, and if it's taller than you like, then you always have the option of treating it as three separate planters. It comes with a bonus pair of garden gloves and a screwdriver for assembly.
Our second new pick, the Foyuee Portable, doesn’t offer a ton of space, but we still thought it was worth including for the benefit of users with small yards, or even apartment dwellers trying to crop out on their balconies. It won’t be for everybody, but we liked the convenient portability afforded by its two wheels and substantial handle, and the storage space offered by its lower shelf is a nice touch, too. Its galvanized aesthetic is likely to look modern and attractive when combined with some thriving foliage.
If these metal models just aren’t your style, then you might have better luck with our list of wooden planter boxes. And, if keeping up on plant maintenance has never been one of your strong suits, then you may be interested in our self-watering planters.
March 12, 2020:
Today we added the American-made Timberlane Gardens Kit, which is made from western red cedar, which is resistant to rot and insects, so it should last you quite a long time. It can be set up as a three-tiered compartment or as individual ones. It features mortise and tenon joints, which are known for being the strongest around. It doesn’t require any tools for assembly, and the required brackets are included. It replaces the Greenes Fence Tiered, which leaves our list amidst reports of its wood being rather thin and warping relatively quickly.
We kept the Lifetime 60065 in a top spot, since it’s highly resistant to corrosion, cracking, or peeling, thanks to its UV-protected high-density polyethylene construction. It boasts a neat and tidy appearance, thanks in part to its attractive faux wood style that looks great in any setting from a tree-lined one to an urban one. It’s also available in a multi-pack, and multiple ones can easily be stacked together for a deeper bed. The Keter Easy Grow remains in the top spot, and it serves as an attractive alternative to wood. It’s made instead of wicker and is available in either black or brown. It can hold a lot of soil – up to 31 gallons – which makes a good choice for deep-rooted plants. It’s suitable for indoor or outdoor use and comes with a water gauge as well as a draining basin and a tap.
If you’re also in the market for a wooden planter box to grow flowers, herbs, or vegetables, check out our list of best wooden planter boxes, which are available in a wide variety of creative designs.
Durable Greenbed This nontoxic raised garden bed is made to last for 25 years or more, and you can choose from among several heights and sizes, including attractive multi-tiered options. It’s designed and manufactured in the United States, and is built with a custom mix of woodchips and cement. It won’t crack, peel, rust, or splinter, and can be assembled in only about an hour. durablegreenbed.com
Custom Raised Garden Bed These beds are built from natural cedar or redwood for longevity, and in a height of your choice. You can also choose an open or closed bottom, a plastic or a pond liner, and the option to have wheels on the bottom. The panels are an inch thicker than those from many other manufacturers, and the structural integrity is in the outside rails that never touch the soil. The slatted sides allow for the soil to be aerated and for good drainage for your plants’ roots. customraisedgardens.com
Raised Without A Raised Option
It's a curse long left over from the evil in the soil where I grew up.
Not everybody grows up with the luxury of gardening at their fingertips. When my parents bought the house I grew up in a few years before I was born, the real estate people stipulated that they really shouldn't try to grow any food in that yard, and that if they did they shouldn't eat it.
Apparently, many years prior, the ground in my backyard was treated with some kind of chemical so noxious that it wouldn't be safe for gardening until around the time I turned 18. By then, we'd long given up on the prospect of growing anything in our yard.
As a result of my underexposure to gardening, I've long battled with a set of black thumbs. I've killed bonsai trees, cacti, bamboo, and pretty much every other species of plant that seems indestructible to most people. It's a curse long left over from the evil in the soil where I grew up.
It took a lot of studious effort and a few of the raised gardening beds like the ones on this list for me to break my streak, and a few years ago I finally harvested a nice crop of tomatoes, herbs, eggplant, cucumber, cherry peppers, and squash.
Not only can raised garden beds like the ones on this list give you an opportunity to grow food or flowers where the soil is inferior, they also allow you to grow items where there is no soil, like a small patio attached to an apartment, a brick-laid backyard like the ones you see in major cities on the American east coast, or even on a rooftop.
In addition to giving you the ability to grow food almost anywhere, raised garden beds take a tremendous amount of strain off of your back and legs. I remember seeing my grandmother struggling on a little gardening pad to stay comfortable as she worked over her garden on her hands and knees. She's still with us today, probably thanks in part to the tremendous amount of homegrown veggies she would eat, but her back is curved like a question mark.
Instead of bending over the dirt, you can tend to a raised garden from the comfort of a simple chair, making for a much less stressful gardening environment and ensuring that you can keep at it for years to come.
Give Me a Little Space
If you'd asked me back in my black thumb days what the most important thing was for the long term health a plant, I'd have said water. I would have been close, but plants can hold onto the water they drink up from the soil for a little bit of time, and mother nature has a pretty reliable way of watering them when you forget, unless you live in southern California.
After that, you can figure out which of the options would be the most eye-catching and make your purchase from there.
I might have said the soil or sunlight, and I would have been close again, but not quite on the mark. For the long term health of a plant, the most important thing a plant can have is space. When you take a look at the seed packets that provide you with the building blocks for your garden, each one has a recommended spacing to it that I'd always tried my hardest to ignore.
Like a good American capitalist, I wanted to maximize my yield, so I'd put as many seeds in the ground as I could reasonable fit and tend. The results were usually pretty bad. It's not that the plants didn't sprout, or grow, or produce food; it's that they didn't flourish. Given more space, my yields actually would have been higher, as the plants could have spent less time vying for sun and root positions and more time bearing fruit.
You want to get your hands on as big a raised garden as your space will allow. That way, you can give your plants the room they actually need to breath and expand. If you have enough space to go a little smaller with each bed, but to get more than one, that's even better. Whatever you can do to increase your gardening area is a good thing.
Once you've measured out the space and figured out what you can fit, you'll still have a few options to choose from on our list, and among these you can hold working height and the general aesthetics of each at a premium. If you want to work comfortably from a chair, go sit in the chair you intend to use and measure a comfortable working height, then compare it to the beds on this list. After that, you can figure out which of the options would be the most eye-catching and make your purchase from there.
Onward To Victory
Prehistoric evidence suggests that humans have been gardening for the better part of their existence. The gardening of those days was something called forest gardening, which took place along wet river banks and served to propagate advantageous species of trees, shrubs, and vines that bore edible fruits.
Roughly 12,000 years ago humans created the first garden enclosures, cordoning off outdoor spaces from invasive animals and unwanted fellow humans.
Roughly 12,000 years ago humans created the first garden enclosures, cordoning off outdoor spaces from invasive animals and unwanted fellow humans. Ancient Egyptian tomb paintings give us early glimpses into more ornamental gardening methods that reach back into the 16th century BCE.
For sustenance, individual gardens didn't have much of a place in the average person's home until the victory gardens of WWI and WWII. During those war years, the governments of the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and others all encouraged their citizens to grow their own food so that they might feed themselves in the event that a shortage caused the military to redirect the citizens' food supply to its troops.
Even after WWII, having endured the Great Depression that took place between wars, most suburban households in America maintained small gardens as a ward against another potential economic collapse, and the way our current economy is functioning, it might not be a bad idea to bring the practice back.