One of the many question that are asked during the construction of raised beds and those are, what is the best timber or lumber to use in the construction of these. In nearly 90% of the time, its timber that is used in the assembly of these and again, say for people who may be starting their raised bed gardening journey for the first time, this advise is regurarly sought after. Some timber or lumber lasts longer than other types, so its essential that we make an informed decision on what is the best type or make of wood for these purposes. If we look-up raised beds online, we will see that cedar raised beds appear on most searches and right there is the answer to this predicament. If it appears on our online search, then its fair to say that this material is the most sought after, going on just those metrics alone.
Cedar wood for raised beds;
I need to state here before we go any further that again, our choice of wood is all dependent on where we live. If its the States or North America, then cedar would be the preferred choice, if on the other hand its Europe or elsewhere, we may use pine or common fir, or perhaps a species that’s native to the country we reside in. While it may be a little more expensive than other wood types, it will last for much longer and will have been well worth the investment. By choosing this type, we can be satisfied in the knowledge that this material will last for years and we will not have the extra burden of repairing or fixing broken raised beds every second or third year, simply because we used poor grade lumber. Cedar wood has that distinctive smell and its very distinguishable from other types and its well known in carpentry circles as being strong, durable and also reliable.
The pressure treated cedar wood again, will be a lot more expensive that the normal grade, but if our budget allows, then that wood would be a better choice. As we know pressure treated is factory produced, with a professional finish, waterproofed with a water based formula, hence the higher cost.
Cedar wood for other building projects;
We may have seen some other usages for cedar wood on our travels like sidings of houses, facias, patios and deckings. So there is our proof if we ever needed it, when we see look at those examples. If the contractors and house builders of today consider that cedar is their preferred choice of wood for those kind of projects, then its save to assume that cedar would be a great choice for raised bed frames.
Pros of cedar raised beds;
- Briefly we will look at some of the advantages of cedar wood over other standard wood types and look at how cedar will always win the day in these types of garden constructions.
- Aesthetic appeal, If its appearance we are looking for then we need look no further, see image above for quality and a professional finish.
- Durable and long living; This wood will probably last in our raised beds for approx 12-15 yrs, so that is another great reason for opting for this type of wood.
- Rot resistant; Like we just mentioned, along with being a sturdy and hardy timber, its also rot resistant and waterproof, therefore the rain or frosts will not effect this material.
- Easy to manage; If by chance we buy the wood and decide to make our own raised beds, then this type of lumber is very easy to manage and handle, such is its verstility.
Cons of cedar raised beds;
- There’s only one that I can think of and that is the wood may turn a weathered silver colour, due to exposure to the elements. ( see image below )
Cost of cedar raised beds;
That is the next issue in this discussion and like we have already written above, there are considerable differences between the different materials for these projects. Take a standard raised bed made from pine and measuring 4ft x 8ft, this would set us back approx $60 approx, which is not overly expensive for the beginner gardener.
However a raised bed made from cedar wood would cost in excess of $250 upwards and that is the price that we will pay for say, a high-end raised bed garden frame. Not forgetting, these prices are the online cost of these items and perhaps a little consolation to consider is, that these also come with free shipping.
The other option would be if we ourselves were able to construct a raised bed from scratch, using only the raw materials, ie wood, nails or screws, then we would be looking at an outlay of about $100, which is considerably less expensive and its perhaps an idea that we could easily entertain. Afterall a raised bed frame is simply a four sided timber rectangle box, secured at the corners with timber posts and then fastened together with nails or screws. This option is very doable and if we wished to go that route, self explanatory videos on how-to, are available on YouTube in their thousands. If this is not possible and we decide to hire a trades person for this project ( paying for the labour ) we could add another $100 to this and we are now looking at approx $200 for this exercise.
The concept of cedar raised beds is not entirely out of the equation, barring the price, but the return on our investment will compensate no end. I guess this option is totally up to ourselves and if we could see our way to having this type of a raised garden bed, it will be well worth the journey.
I trust that this information is useful and beneficial, if you have any questions or queries, do drop us a line down below. Always remember we are a social bunch here at buildingraisedbeds.com and we will reply to any comments as soon as is possible.
Happy gardening to all who try and succeed.
Cheers Phil Browne.