Best Materials for Raised Bed Gardens

Best Materials for Raised Bed Gardens

Given the great attraction that raised beds have today, its no surprise that gardeners and non-gardeners alike are constructing these raised beds from any type of material thats practical to use for this purpose. With the great conversation that’s around raised beds today, people are tripping over themselves in the race to get these systems in place, because they have good reason to do so from listening to those that have them and what they are reading about them online and in other media.  The whole concept of raised beds was to make gardening more pleasurable and more enjoyable, but the main purpose was to improve the quality of the soil by adding some enriching compost and other organic materials that would give us a greater advantage over the old method that we used up to recently.

For those gardening people who think outside the box and every now and again have pushed the boundaries when it comes to generating great and innovative ideas for raised beds, we have now some great plans, designs and templates for these structures as a result of their inventiveness. The materials that which are used to construct these bed frames and systems vary a lot, but the most commonly used is timber or lumber. We will look at some of the best materials which go to make up these structures and discuss their pros and cons.

 

 

 

Timber/Lumber;

 

I would go so far as to say that at least 80% of raised beds in the world are made from lumber or timber as its otherwise known as, in other countries. Why timber I hear you ask… well the prime reason that we use this material is probably its flexibility and the ease with which it is to work with. Lets take stock for a moment and see why this is so. Given that we have four lengths of lumber cut to specific measurements, all we now need to do is nail or screw these lengths together and there we have our raised bed frame, assembled in a matter of minutes. Granted we must source the wood from a hardware store, but the end result will outweigh the cost in terms of value for money. Provided its wood of a good standard, it should last for approx 10 yrs. all going well. The other benefit of this system as a raised bed is, if we are not happy with its location,we can always move it to a better area.

Cost approx…..$100

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Concrete or cinder blocks;

 

If we are looking for a solid structure for our raised beds, one option is to use builders concrete blocks or cinder blocks to make the walls. This will obviously be a permanent fixture and the advise here first and foremost, is to select a desireable, sunny location, close to a water source if possible. We will need to lay down a foundation initially and then build the walls of our raised bed on top of this. This structure should last for years and will hopefully return our investment many times over in terms of value for money. The other added feature of a structure like this is, we can use the walls to kneel on or maybe sit on from time to time and admire our handywork. But the unseen benefit that we won’t notice is tat concrete in general retains heat and this is themn transferred to the soil when the sun goes down, giving an oven type effect to our bed, which will improve our growing conditions exponentially.

Cost approx………$200 – $350

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Galvanise ;

 

Another type of material that we can use is galvanise sheets which are readily available at all hardware stores and are generally inexpensive to buy. We may not get the lengths that we may be looking for as these sheets come in fairly lengthy sizes, so we may have to cut these to suit our dimensions. However that is easily achieved by asking the assistant at the hardware store to cut them to our desired measurements and they would gladly do so, perhaps for a small extra fee. By using this material all we need are four corner posts that would be well driven into the ground, in order to support the galvanise sheets. We may need an extra post centreways to give added support if the sheets are say eight ft. or longer. This would prevent the sheets from buckling or bending from the weight and pressure of the soil in the bed.

Cost approx………..$ 150

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Solid stone or rock;

 

This is by far the most labor intensive project and is also the most expensive form of a raised bed that we may wish to use. However if we are looking for an extravagent design and professional finished appearance to our  raised bed garden, these are the materials to use. The stone option will again require a foundation, but this exercise will probably need a stonemason or builder to complete this project, unless we are somewhat skilful as a DIYer. The size, depth and length of this exercise is all contingent on our  budget, but the finished appearance will have been worth every penny. It can be completed to a high quality standard and again will last for years and years. The advantages of a raised bed of this quality are similar to the concrete block project and will return as good if not better yield for our vegetables and crops.

Cost approx…………$750 – $1000.

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The only limitations on a project like this is of course, our budget, but that should not stop us from creating and constructing a garden system that will suitably satisfy our desire to have a top of the range raised bed garden. There are numerous and countless examples of designs for us to ponder on, in our quest to have the ideal showpiece garden, mainly for our growing needs. Once again we are sociable and as ever do get in contact via the comments box down under.

Wishing you all many happy hours in the garden,

Cheers…………Phil Browne.

 

“We are exploring together.

We are cultivating a garden together, backs to the sun.

The question is a hoe in our hands and we are digging,

beneath the hard and crusty surface,

To the rich humus of our lives.”

― Parker J. Palmer,

 

 

8 thoughts on “Best Materials for Raised Bed Gardens

  1. Thanks for the informative article on best materials for a raised bed garden. I have recently purchased an old victorian home and the wife and I have been trying to figure out what to do as far as gardening. We had come to the conclusion that raised beds would work really well in our back yard, so this article was timely and helpful. Thank you again.

    1. Hi there Chris,

      Many thanks for dropping by, very much appreciated. I agree with your assessment 100%, that raised beds would make a great addition to your recent house purchase. They will make a great enhancement to your property when fully constructed and when they are planted and growing. Raised beds do add to the appearance of a garden, especially when constructed to good high spec.

      Thanks again for stopping by

      Happy gardening to you both,

      Best wishes again,

      Cheers……….Phil Browne

  2. Awesome post, lots of great ideas here!
    I have been contemplating making a garden bed for a little while now. Seeing all these options just gave me the idea to make each side different!
    I’m still playing around with the idea, but I figure I can get all the materials for free off of craigslist and make something pretty cool!

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi there Sam,

      Many thanks for stopping by. I’m glad that you have gotten inspiration from reading this post and that’s the beauty of raised beds. We can build these from practically any material as long as we will make the frames strong and robust. As you suggest, if you can get the materials for free, then that’s even better. We can always be inventive and innovative when it comes to planning and designing our own raised bed frames, we can make them to our own taste, style and dimensions and the best part of this is, we can always change them around if we are not happy with our first efforts.

      Thanks again for stopping by, happy gardening

      Cheers……Phil Browne

  3. When using galvanized beds, is it necessary to put drainage holes in the bottom and prop them up off the ground or put on top of something like wood chips (as shown in the photo) in order to insure proper drainage? I live in a place where we get a considerable amount of rain and I am concerned about the plants being too wet or the soil becoming waterlogged, but aesthetically I like the look of the galvanized beds on the ground.

    1. Hi there AHeg,

      Many thanks for dropping by and offering comments feedback, these are very much appreciated. If you think that you would need to put holes in the sides of the galvanise beds, by all means, do so. That would alleviate the waterlogging issue for you and would give adequate drainage, if you say that there could be frequent rainfall. The idea of propping up these raised beds is also another great idea, this would allow further drainage and would also prevent a build-up of water in these beds. Some people also put down a layer 3-4″ of gravel before adding the soil….this will also assist with the drainage and is probably an easier solution for your rainfall problems.

      I trust that this info. is helpful and informative .

      Thanks again for stopping by, happy gardening

      Cheers……Phil Browne.

  4. Hey Phil, Thanks for letting me know the different of ideas and structure for bed gardens.

    Now I have better ideas on the cost and work it out on my gardens. On the list, you mentioned above the most suitable for me is Galvanise as the structure is base on my desire. Depending on the length I wanted. Most importantly cost effective.

    Good Job, Phil and I look forward your more ideas. Definitely, will share to my network

    1. Hi there Maxx,

      Many thanks for dropping by, very much appreciated. I agree with you 100%, that’s the beauty of raised beds. We can build these from practically any material and provided we make the structure strong, sturdy and robust, we can have a great bed frame. The other and more important issue is, how cost effective these bed frames can be. They neede’nt cost the earth and we can use whatever materials we have to hand.

      Thanks again for your commnets, happy gardening

      Cheers….Phil Browne

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