Gardening is fun, but it’s also hard work. All that digging, planting, and weeding takes its toll. Plus, it requires so much bending down, you might as well spend the day deadlifting at the gym. One of the best ways to ease the physical burden of your growing setup is to use a raised bed garden.
To the unfamiliar, a raised bed garden is just a garden setup where your actual planting bed is elevated from the ground. The bed is still arranged horizontally unlike a vertical planter, but it’s usually out of ground level, so you don’t have to reach as far down to tend to your vegetation. This eliminates the need to get down on the ground to work on your garden, as you can actually set up your planting bed at a more comfortable desk height. Other than allowing you to be nicer on your back, the best raised bed gardens also allow for better soil quality, as you can fill the bed with whatever mixture you actually prefer at any moment, with no limitations imposed by your natural surroundings. Soil also tends to stay fluffy and aerated in elevated beds, since they’re not constantly being compacted by foot traffic.
The best raised bed gardens also make weeding easier. Not only is it a rarer occurrence for weeds to infest your elevated planting bed, they’re also easier to spot, so you can get rid of them a lot sooner. Plus, the elevated nature of raised garden beds allows for better drainage, making it easier to maintain ideal moisture levels throughout the year, while their self-contained design makes it easier to protect them from pets and weather (you can literally just put a greenhouse kit around a raised bed garden, if needed).
Of course, it’s not going to be all roses and daisies, since raised bed gardens do have some downsides. For instance, they’re more expensive to set up, since you’re not taking advantage of the soil already on the ground. They also have limited room for root growth, which can be a problem depending on what plants you intend to put in them. They also tend to require more maintenance, since their confined placement doesn’t allow them to get nutrients naturally, requiring you to actively enhance the soil on a regular basis
Despite all that, the best raised bed gardens do make for a worthwhile investment for a good load of people. If you’re interested in them, this list covers some of the best kits you can get to set one up in your yard today.
ProGard Raised Garden Bed
This elevated garden bed offers an affordable way to bring a contained garden to your yard. It stands 18 inches tall and gives you a planter bed measuring 24 x 11 x 5.8 inches (length x depth x height), so you get a decent amount of space to fill with soil and grow your choice of vegetation. There’s a drain hole at the bottom, so it’s easy enough to manage the soil’s moisture levels, while the galvanized steel construction keeps it very sturdy and rust-resistant. We love that there are no sharp edges, so it’s perfectly safe to keep around even with young children, while the plastic foot caps ensure they don’t scuff the floor when you place it on balconies and patios. It does require assembly, though, but it does come together rather simply enough.
Want a non-elevated raised bed garden that’s just as affordable as the one above? This economical kit gives you a 12-inch tall fencing for your raised garden, offering ample room to grow your plants in their own space. It’s made from Q195 galvanized steel, which is a decent material for use in outdoor setups, with the edges slightly rolled in, so they’re not quite the hazard. We’d prefer covering the edges with some sort of rubber or silicone material if you could, just to be safe, especially if you have kids or pets at home. Does it make for the prettiest raised bed garden? Not really. It is not bad-looking, though, and it does feel sturdy enough to get the job done. You can get it in any of three sizes, depending on how much space you have for a raised planter in the yard.
Similar to the previous item, this raised garden bed offers an elevated platform to make gardening easier. Except, it’s taller, standing at 30 inches tall, allowing you to easily work on your plants, whether on your feet or on a chair. The listed model has a planter bed measuring 34 x 18 x 7.5 inches (length x depth x height), so there’s plenty of room for your plants to root underneath, with a 150-pound capacity, allowing you to fill it up with soil and even throw in some decorative items if you want. It comes with a liner that separates the soil from the wood, which should help preserve the material over time. This raised garden bed is available in bigger sizes, by the way, allowing you to get a larger option if you have bigger space in the yard to fill.
If you only want to fence in your garden instead of raising it to more comfortable heights, then this modular fencing might be all you need for your setup. It consists of 11 wooden boards that measure 24 inches each and 10 connecting joints to hold them all together. Because it comes as a loose kit, you can arrange it in any configuration of your liking, giving you the ability to build rectangular beds, L-shaped beds, or something else entirely. They don’t list what kind of wood it’s made from, so you might want to give it some weather-resistant coating if you want it to hold up. It’s also not very sturdy, with a few reports of the connecting pieces cracking at the corners when you apply a little too much pressure, so you might want to handle them gently during installation.
Similar to the Best Choice raised garden bed above, this one offers a wooden planter on elevated legs, so you can tend to your flowers and vegetables at a comfortable desk-level. It’s made from cedar wood, which is naturally water-resistant, ensuring this will hold up to outdoor conditions, while the 8.9-inch deep planter allows your plants to grow a decent amount of root. There’s a plastic liner to help preserve the wood, although you’d probably want to replace it with a gardening fabric instead, since it doesn’t seem all that great. Overall, the garden bed is very sturdy and reasonably easy to assemble.
Wooden raised bed gardens look extremely nice. However, wood is still prone to being damaged over time, no matter how much weatherized coating you put on it. As such, some people prefer the less-eyecatching but much more forgiving nature of resin planter beds like this one, which should allow you to focus on your plants, instead of having to worry about the wood bending, splintering, or rotting at some point. The bed is actually divided into six 12-inch deep sections, allowing you to grow each plant in its own spot, ensuring their roots don’t get tangled together, while a self-watering design requires you to simply fill up the water tray regularly, with the planter handling everything else on its own. If your soil looks a little too moist, you can also manually drain it using a drainage tap on one end, while the shelf space at the bottom gives you a place to set down planters and gardening tools.
As the name says, this raised bed garden comes with three levels of planters in a cascading waterfall design, so it’s a bit like a vertical planter. We like this design because it gives you room to grow different plants. Simple herbs that don’t require much root space can go at the bottom, while vegetables that need all the roots they can grow can go at the top. It’s made from galvanized steel, so they should hold up to the outdoors quite nicely, with the top side edges covered in a rubber strip to keep them safe even with smaller kids around. While the top has a rubber cover, some exposed sides don’t, although they tend to sit mostly flush against the material, so risk is minimal. Over time, though, those parts could loosen and might cause some scraping every now and then, so you’ll want to watch out for that. It’s pretty big, by the way, measuring 63 x 43 x 25.6 inches (depth x width x height).
While we prefer raised bed gardens elevated at around desk height, there are many folks who like those beds that are still a bit close to the ground, especially when they’re planting taller vegetation. As far as those are concerned, we really like this modular model, which can be assembled in different ways, allowing you to grow it into a bigger raised garden setup over time. It consists of metal panels that you assemble on top of the ground in various oval configurations, allowing you to lay out whatever works best for your available space. We love the metal panels they use here, which consist of steel coated in zinc, magnesium, and aluminum, creating a safe and sturdy fencing that, the outfit claims, can hold its own in outdoor conditions for over 20 years. We prefer the one with 17-inch tall panels, since it really offers enough space to let those roots loose, although you can opt for the smaller 11-inch height if you want something even closer to ground level.
Greenes makes some of the most popular raised bed gardens in the category, with sturdy pieces and real wood that actually holds up to outdoor conditions. However, that quality also factors in its price, which is why it’s one of those options you only consider when you actually have the budget to splurge on your garden setup. If you do, however, you can get various sizes of raised bed gardens made with either untreated cedar or pine that are solid enough you don’t have to worry about chipping or cracking them during installation, so you can swing that mallet freely (you’ll need it on occasion for boards that won’t quite slide in as easily). They even come with caps for the connectors, so everything looks professionally done. The sides stand at 14 inches high, which we find to be ideal for most gardens, while the 0.75-inch thickness provides a really sturdy base that should hold up to anything the garden can throw its way. The item pictured here is the 4 x 8-foot version, although they have it available in a ton of sizes.
Similar to Greenes, Outdoor Living makes some amazing raised bed garden products, with their price being the main hindrance. However, they do make for some of the worthiest investments for gardeners, especially if you want fixtures that can hold up in your garden for years, if not decades. Take, for instance, this garden in a box, which measures 6 x 3 x 2.7 feet and features weather-resistant cedar construction. It’s equipped with a lid that you can set down to keep the plants protected from rain and pests, although you can also raise it up to use as a 71-inch tall trellis for any crawling plants you decide to grow in it. The bed itself has 20 inches of rooting space for your vegetation, as well as a 13-inch fold-down window with mesh wire that can come in handy when you find dogs and other pets playing around with your produce.