Whether you’re a hardcore DIYer or prefer a little help from a kit, we have got some stellar raised bed ideas for you!
Raised bed gardening is a great option for those living without a yard, for those with a yard with potentially contaminated soil, or if you’re not able to dig in your yard (if you have a rental, for example). Raised beds offer lots of benefits to the home gardener, especially newbie green thumbs. The soil can be amended quickly for optimum nutrition, plants are less likely to be bothered by pests, and will often be healthier in raised beds.
How to Start with Raised Bed Gardening
Ok, you’ve decided to grow your harvest with raised beds, but where to start? You really have two options: you can build a raised bed from scratch or choose one of the many raised bed ideas for those without construction skills.
DIY Raised Bed Ideas
The following options are easy, DIY garden bed solutions, made from products you might already have lying around your house, like rebar, planks, cinder blocks and excess logs. Some of the other designs are a bit more complicated but add an extra level of beauty to your garden.
1. Planks & Rebar
Get your raised bed garden up fast with this simple solution. You may even have these items hiding in the garage or shed anyway! Since this one is not sealed on the sides or bottom, you may have still had pest issues, so keep a mindful eye on your garden with this option. Be sure to choose chemical-free wood, like naturally pest resistant cedar. If you’re buying new, try to find wood that’s FSC certified. Get Rodale’s step-by-step guide for this project here.
2. Nature’s Fence: LOGS!
You can’t get more natural than this log garden bed, from Rodale! If you did some tree trimming around the yard last season, use some of the excess logs to make a raised garden bed. The same concern about pests apply here, so be mindful of the critters.
3. Cinder Blocks
Perhaps not the most natural option, cinder blocks still get the job done quickly and cheaply. You can stack the cinder blocks to make a higher sidewall to discourage critters like bunnies from eating your sprouts. Check out how to create this raised bed from Rodale, as well.
Not the most beautiful option, but sandbags are certainly practical, especially if you live near a beach or lake with free sand. A jute or natural fiber bag might be a better choice than plastic, but choose the option that fits your budget best.
5. Make it Fancy with Wattle
Wattle is woven sticks and twigs that make a lovely edging for a raised bed garden. Buy it premade or made it your new hobby this winter. Find the tutorial for a wattle-edged raised bed garden from Rodale.
6. Raised Spiral
This gorgeous idea is a great way to make your garden grow. If you have a lot of bricks on hand, this is a great way to use them up to create a dramatic raised bed that’s virtually free.
7. Wine Box Gardening
If you spent your winter staying warm by drinking wine, you surely have some boxes leftover, right? Make the most of them this Spring with these wine box planters. Not technically a raised bed, but basically the same concept. And it keeps your plants off the ground, reducing exposure to pests.
8. Hay Bale Edging
Keeping it rustic with bales of hay. This is a great option, because as the hay wears down over the seasons, it can be used to enrich your compost. It does make accessing the beds a big more challenging than the other options, so grow stuff that takes awhile to grow for less-frequent harvesting (like cauliflower or broccoli) instead of quick harvest like herbs or lettuce.
9. Make it Shiny with Leftover Roofing
Project Alicia made these cool (high) raised beds with some 2×4 planks and metal roofing materials. Find the tutorial for this project here at Project Alicia.
10. Keyhole Gardening
And if you want to make the most of your raised bed, Rodale has a great solution known as a keyhole garden. As you can see in the picture below, a keyhole garden allows you to access the entire bed, and it’s a beautiful shape. Learn more about keyhole gardening (and get measurements and tutorials) here. Here’s another great keyhole gardening tutorial from Sustainablog.
Raised Bed Garden Kits
You can find ready-made raised bed garden kits across the web, and we’ve poked around and found the most sustainable raised bed kit options for you and your (new) green gardens.
11. Farmer D Raised Beds and Garden Accessories
Farmer D makes gorgeous, US-made FSC certified wood planting boxes that are good for all spaces and places. The wood is all 2”-thick FSC-certified sustainable untreated western red cedar that is naturally rot- and insect-resistant. You can find Farmer D products at Williams-Sonoma, Houzz, Amazon, and elsewhere online. Also, this Farmer D guy seems pretty dang cool!
12. Urban Farmer
Urban Farmer is a great go-to garden website for seeds, tools and raised bed kits. They have two main types of options– one for ground-level raised beds, and another for a standing planter. These standing planters are great for those with mobility issues. At 34″ high and with an optional bottom shelf, it works for lots of range or for houses without a lot of yard space. Find standing planters here and all the sizes for the raised bed kits here.
Both planter options are made from durable cedar protected by a non-toxic waterproof sealant that is safe for vegetable gardening, and include a 15 year warranty.
13. Greenes Fence
Greenes Fence is another brand making a range of raised garden bed kits, all made in the US. While they use chemical free cedar, they are not FSC certified. They offer an affordable cedar beds and a line of premium cedar beds. Home Depot carries the Greenes Fence line of products, and you can also find them at their online store.
Another option for raised beds of all shapes and sizes is Veg-Trug, makers of all things for the garden. They have dozens of options for raised bed garden kits. Some of the kits are made from 100% FSC Plantation Cedar Wood, other from sustainable plantation grown fir, and other items do not list the construction materials. Country of origin is listed as China on outside sites, but not listed in the product specs on their own site. You can find Veg-Trug products at Williams-Sonoma and elsewhere online.
Gronomics is another good brand that makes a range of cool raised bed garden products in a huge range of sizes. Their garden beds are made from 100% Western Red Cedar and handcrafted in the USA, and are available unfinished or food contact safe finish. You can find Gronomics products at Williams-Sonoma, Target, Amazon, Home Depot, and on their online shop.
16. Home Depot
Home Depot is a great option for finding raised bed garden kits. Their lumber is all chemical-free and naturally rot- and insect-resistant cedar. They have a huge selection of sizes and options, and they offer other materials for garden beds too, including bricks,ledgestone, concrete and more. They also offer plastic and vinyl options that are not recommended, as the plastics are made from petrochemicals, are likely to degrade, and can be difficult to recycle.
Lowes offers a good variety of raised bed options, but all of their choices seem be made of composite material consisting of 38% post-consumer recycled plastic and 62% sustainable wood fibers. They claim this product is low maintenance and will not rot, warp, splinter or fade. While this sounds like a great composite, it actually means that this product is landfill bound– products made from both wood and plastic cannot be recycled OR composted. If you choose not to do wood and have to choose plastic, at least choose a fully plastic option that could be recycled at the end of its life.