8 Materials for Raised Garden Beds

The allure of raised garden beds is not new, and although they are remarkable focal points, their roots are a lot more practical than aesthetic. Raised beds were originally created to take care of problems including poor or rocky soil, no soil, poor drainage, erosion issues and soil compaction. It was that raised beds were constructed primarily from timber — but no longer. Today there are many trendy and practical materials to use in addition to timber, like concrete, rock and even steel.

Alderwood Landscape Architecture and Construction


This is probably the most common substance for constructing raised beds, and possibly among the cheapest. Use obviously rot-resistant woods like cedar or redwood, and avoid woods preserved using toxins, such as creosote-soaked railroad ties. Pressure-treated timber is treated with alkaline copper quaternary, which the EPA considers safe for food plants, but you can still wish to line your beds using weed barrier fabric to avert the soil’s coming into contact with the timber.

Experts: Wood raised beds are simple to install, and the substance is easily available in many areas. They work nicely for traditional and more contemporary gardens, depending upon the design and building of the beds. Wooden raised beds are an ideal project for the enthusiastic DIYer. Wood is also among the most cost-effective options for constructing raised beds.

Disadvantages: Wood doesn’t last forever, so at any stage you’ll need to replace it. Still, untreated wood can persist for quite a few decades (up to 10) without really apparent rot, and treated timber will last much longer.

Cost: Depending on the size of your mattress, cedar or redwood could cost around $150 per mattress; pressure-treated wood prices $75 to $100.

Berger Partnership


The use of urban landscape elements like concrete has increased in recent decades. What used to look ordinary and humble can currently be chic and even trendy, making concrete an extremely flexible and desired addition to most kinds of gardens.

Experts: When correctly installed, concrete walls can last forever. They can also work well in traditional, contemporary or even international fashions (think Spanish courtyard or Mexican stucco), and can be tinted to blend, contrast or match with your home and other structures.

Disadvantages:Concrete can be expensive and is not a project for the DIYer in most cases.

Cost:The substances are rather inexpensive, but the labour is more intensive, therefore the total cost is not necessarily on the very low end of the choices. Expect to pay roughly $30 per square foot, but that cost may significantly increase if you have issues, like a sloping lawn, that will make the prep work more difficult.

Rick O’Donnell Architect


Masonry raised beds are the chameleons of the garden world. They can easily fit into almost any style of garden, depending on the sort of rock you utilize. If you are a handy DIYer, then you may have the ability to finish a project like this on your own, but many homeowners are going to want to hire a masonry crew to install the beds correctly.

Experts:Masonry can be a permanent addition, and the supplies can be found nearly anywhere. Masonry raised beds are extremely attractive and can be built to blend in with or perhaps fit your home’s exterior.

Disadvantages: Masonry can be rather costly, depending on the sort of rock.

Cost:Many masons charge by the linear or square foot; for raised beds expect to pay $5 to $10 per square foot, or more if you select a higher-priced rock.


bunk beds created from cinderblock could be constructed in several of different ways. Cinderblocks can just be stacked to the desired elevation of the mattress, or they can be mortared in place and then given a more elegant finish with a coating treatment and capped tops, as shown here. The former is much more rustic and inexpensive, while the latter is much more tasteful and pricier.

Experts:Cinderblock is quite inexpensive and widely accessible; you can purchase it at home improvement stores or building supply stores. It can fit a wide range of aesthetics, ranging from rustic to urban tasteful, depending upon the program. Additionally, it is rather durable and will remain in place for many decades.

Disadvantages:Individual pieces are rather heavy, which makes this project difficult to do solo.

Cost:There are a few distinct styles of cinderblock; substances alone cost approximately $9 to $15 per square foot. If you hire a professional and add a cap rock along with a surface treatment just like stucco, plan on triple that cost.

Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design


Constructing increased beds out of rock is a really simple DIY project for the average homeowner. Little boulders or massive cobbles can be used, and they should not be mortared in place, assuming that your wall is rather low (12 inches or less, still a decent height for raised beds). The beds could be straight or curved, like the ones shown here, and bigger rocks can just be pushed up against one another, while smaller ones could nestle together to make a boundary.

Experts:Rock could produce an extremely casual, cottage-y appearance, and it is a simple DIY project for most homeowners. This sort of construction requires no special equipment, and the substances are widely accessible.

Disadvantages: Stacked or nestled stones do not work with every sort of landscape style. This sort of construction is not permanent, but that can also be considered an asset should you choose to change the shape or area of your beds.

Cost:in the event that you presently have stones in your premises, they’re obviously free. If not, prepare to spend $85 a cubic yard as well as up. Rock is offered by the cubic yard, pound or ton, so ask how the cost is determined for the sort of rock you’d love to use before you get it.


Galvanized Culvert

Galvanized culverts are usually used for drainage under roadways, but if sliced into segments, they could make wonderfully stylish planters to get a contemporary garden. Many building supply shops carry culverts, however, you can also look online for “free for pickup” culverts that are being disposed of.

Experts:Culverts have a cool contemporary look, are quite easily available, are simple to install (no assembly required) and can be a permanent feature in your garden. In addition, you’ll have more control over the height and general size of your planter than you would if you used stock tanks.

Disadvantages: You may need to call around to find just what you need, and if you find a length of pipe at the desired width, you’ll need to pay to get it cut into segments to use as planters. To transport the segments home, you’ll need a truck or you’ll need to arrange for delivery, usually at an extra cost. Culverts are more expensive than galvanized stock tanks.

Cost:Culverts normally arrive in 20- to 30-foot spans and a huge array of widths. You could get 15 2-foot-tall, 36-inch-wide planters for approximately $900.

Banyon Tree Design Studio

Stock Tanks

This may be among the easiest choices for raised garden beds. Stock tanks, which are normally round or rectangular with rounded ends, are normally utilised to feed farm animals, but they have been gaining popularity in the last few decades as a great way to add urban chic to the garden. The only actual work you’ll need to do is add some drainage holes to the bottom of the tank, which is easily finished using a drill and a 1/4- or 1/2-inch drill bit.

Experts:Stock tanks are easily available at feed stores and are comparatively inexpensive. There is no assembly required, and they’ll last forever. They’re also movable, which is useful if you redesign your garden design. They are available in many different sizes.

Disadvantages:You’ll need to have a truck to transport stock tanks home or arrange for a delivery at an additional cost. The faces of the tanks can heat up throughout the summer, but it is usually not a scorching heat that will burn off skin.

Cost:Stock tanks typically run $30 to $150, depending on the size.

Huettl Landscape Architecture


Industrial elements like steel add a bit of rustic sophistication to any landscape. Steel, or more precisely Cor-Ten, is commonly used in landscape and construction jobs, also comes in sheets that are 3/16 or 1/4 inch thick. When it is installed, it starts out a natural steel color and then superbly weathers to a gorgeous rusty patina. There are chemical processes that could make the rusty patina instantly, but care must be used in its application to avert a rusty runoff into nearby plantings or patios.

Experts: Steel is a newer substance in the current gardens, therefore it generates it an up-to-date aesthetic. Additionally, it provides a slim profile in which you want the beds to be defined but using a bulky perimeter. It is obviously weather resistant, which makes it a long-term accession.

Disadvantages: This kind of raised bed is best left to the pros, as installation can be difficult and the substance is thick. It is much more costly and may not be available in all areas. It is also not recommended for areas that receive salt spray in the ocean, as that can quickly deteriorate the substance. Steel can increase the warmth of your soil, therefore it may not be the ideal option for heat-sensitive plants. The stuff itself can heat more quickly than other raised bed materials, therefore I have found it helpful to put it in a partly shaded area or use plants that don’t cascade within the hot borders.

Cost:A simple Cor-Ten rectangular planter box (2 by 6 ft) could run $1,200 or more, depending on your geographical area.

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