The Best Raised Garden Beds for Backyard Plants
Ahead, see our guide to raised garden beds and the features that distinguish one from another—and don't miss our roundup of top-favorite picks!
Raised bed gardening is hugely popular, in part because this mode of gardening enables you to grow decorative and edible plants practically anywhere.
Raised beds offer several other advantages as well. They provide better drainage and are less prone to soil compaction. Because the garden soil you add to raised beds is high in organic matter, the bed will have a good balance of moisture retention and drainage. This rich, moisture-balanced growing environment helps your plants thrive and produce greater yields. Yet another reason to love raised beds: In the spring, the soil in the frame warms faster than the ground surrounding it, which gives you a head start to your growing season.
There is no “standard” when it comes to raised garden beds. The right choice for your garden will be one that accounts for your space limitations (if any), physical limitations (if any), personal design preference, and overall gardening goals. Ahead, see our top tips and recommendations for navigating the available options and get details on our top-favorite picks among the best raised gardening beds available.
- BEST ALL AROUND: Greenes Fence Cedar Raised Garden Kit
- BEST FOR SMALL SPACES: Patiomore 3 Tier Raised Garden Bed
- UPGRADE PICK: Vegepod Raised Garden Bed
- HONORABLE MENTION: CedarCraft Elevated Cedar Planter
Types of Raised Garden Beds
There are three types of raised garden beds: raised ground beds, supported raised beds, and containerized raised beds.
- A raised ground bed requires no additional materials other than soil. It’s a simple form of 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 soil in, 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.
Traditionally, raised garden beds are made from rot-resistant timber such as cedar. Nowadays, you can find raised beds made from stone, woven willow, plastic, and concrete. The material you choose will depend on your personal preference. However, for vegetable gardens, it’s recommended that you do not use pressure-treated lumber because it leaches heavy metals into the soil. Fortunately, most easy-to-assemble raised beds tend to be made of food-safe, rot-resistant wood or plastic.
When it comes to the length and width of a raised bed, you need to consider your space constraints. Length is limited by the size of your yard and by your building materials.
Width, on the other hand, is determined by how far you can reach. You’ll want to be able to reach the center of the bed from either side of the frame without having to step into the bed, which would compress the soil. For most people, the ideal width is 4 feet.
Most raised beds are between 6 to 12 inches tall. Bed height can go as high as 36 inches or more. Raised beds with taller sides will require more soil, but they are easier on your back because you don’t have to bend down as far to reach the plants.
Ease of Assembly
Assembly is where raised garden bed kits outshine DIY raised garden beds. If you do it yourself, you’ll have to shop for materials and cut them to size. Raised garden bed kits, however, come with everything you need to put them together, and some can be ready to go in just a few minutes. Depending on how much work you want to do, there’s a kit to match your skill level.
Raised garden beds can come with a myriad of features. Some have wheels for portability, others have built-in trellises, removable greenhouse covers, storage shelves, legs that elevate the bed, or built-in irrigation systems. Another special feature is stackability: Some raised garden beds can be stacked to offer more depth or a different configuration. No matter what your growing environment is like, there’s a raised garden bed that will work for you.
Our Top Picks
1. BEST ALL AROUND: Greenes Fence Cedar Raised Garden Kit
This raised garden bed is made from rot- and insect-resistant cedar. It’s a basic garden bed that will work for most garden applications. There are no special tools required to assemble the frames. The boards slide into the corner posts, and you’ll just need a screwdriver to attach the decorative tops. The kit is made with durable 11/16-inch thick boards and four-way routed corner posts, allowing you to customize the configuration for your outdoor space or expand as needed. Greenes Fence cedar raised garden kit is 4 feet x 8 feet x 14 inches—a manageable size for a vegetable or flower garden.
2. BEST FOR SMALL SPACES: Yaheetech 3 Tier Raised Garden Bed
The Patiomore 3 Tier Raised Garden Bed helps maximize your gardening space. Made from 100 percent chemical-free fir wood, this planter occupies only about 4 x 4 feet of space. Each tier is connected with wood plugs and can easily be transformed into three separate growing beds in different sizes, or stacked to create a stair-stepped planter. The simple dovetail design allows you to slide the boards into place without tools. The different depths of soil allow for planting variety and its streamlined design can make an attractive addition to the yard.
3. BEST UPGRADE: Vegepod Raised Garden Bed
The Vegepod is a self-watering raised bed with an attached cover that helps protect your plants from harsh sun, frost, strong winds, and pests. Made from polypropylene plastic, the Vegepod is rot-resistant and durable. It uses a wicking system to keep the soil moist so established plants can last weeks without watering. At the same time, its commercial-grade canopy provides protection while allowing air and water to penetrate. The canopy also has a built-in mist-spray watering system that operates via attachment to a standard hose. The Vegepod is also height adjustable and can be raised to waist height, if desired.
4. HONORABLE MENTION: CedarCraft Elevated Cedar Planter
If you have mobility or accessibility issues, the CedarCraft elevated cedar planter may be a great option for you. At 30 inches tall, this planter alleviates the need to bend or stoop, which reduces back and knee strain. The height also helps to keep rabbits and other garden pests from eating your produce. It’s made from rot-resistant cedar and no tools are required for assembly. At 18 x 34 x 30 inches, this planter is a great size for a deck or small patio.