Want to make gardening easier and give your growing space a neat and unified look? Raised garden beds can help you with that.
They have numerous advantages over growing in the ground: they elevate the garden space so there’s less need for bending, help the soil warm up faster in spring so you can get an early start on the gardening season, and can help keep weeds and garden critters at bay. Plus, they allow you the opportunity to have decent soil, no matter where you place them or where you live.
“Since it’s not being compacted by foot traffic, raised bed soil stays fluffy and aerated, and it’s also much easier to amend the soil to meet your specific growing needs,” says Lindsay Miller, horticultural writer for Gardener’s Supply Company.
When you’re shopping for raised beds, be sure to consider how durable the material is and how it will affect the look of your overall garden.
The best raised garden beds combine both style and practical features. Also, consider what you’ll be planting and how long the plant roots will be, as not all beds are deep enough to accomodate all types of plants.
Why You Should Get It: You can put this raised garden bed together in nine different ways to fit your gardening space.
Keep in Mind: It’s not the cheapest option, especially if you purchase some of the optional accessories that can be used with the raised garden bed.
Our top overall pick for the best raised garden bed is the Vego Garden 9-in-1 Raised Garden Bed Kit because it can be configured nine different ways.
You can assemble all twelve pieces that come with the kit into a raised garden bed that is either 2 x 8 feet or 3.5 x 6.5 feet. You can also use some of the pieces to create smaller beds in a variety of shapes—simply choose the configuration that best suits your space.
This durable metal bed was designed by combining zinc, magnesium, and aluminum coated steel with a USDA-approved paint to ensure it will last season after season. The material is also highly resistant to corrosion and boasts a 20-plus year lifespan, and it’s recyclable and safe to use for growing food.
Rubber edging ensures there are no sharp edges that can cause injury. The raised bed is available in three colors: green, white, and gray.
With a generous depth of 17 inches, you can grow pretty much anything in this bed—even plants with deep roots. Plus, you don’t have to bend down as far when you are weeding or working in the garden.
We love all the accessories that are compatible with these raised garden bed kits, such as an arched trellis. Of course, keep in mind that all these accessories can substantially increase your total cost.
This raised garden bed does need to be put together, but it’s simply a matter of assembling the pieces and tightening the included fasteners.
Price at time of publish: $190
Product Details: Dimensions: 24 x 96 x 17 inches | Material: Metal
Apipi 2 Piece Raised Garden Planter Fabric Beds
Why You Should Get It: These raised beds have four compartments to make planting a garden simple, even for beginners.
Keep in Mind: These beds are too shallow for some deep-rooted plants, so they may not accommodate every plant you want to add to your garden.
If raised garden beds are an essential to you but you’re on a budget, you’ll love this affordable option. The Apipi 2 Piece Raised Garden Planter Fabric Beds are a two-piece set that have four compartments in each bag.
These raised garden bags are made of polypropylene and have a flexible bottom and sides. To use, simply unfold it and fill it with soil and plants—no assembly is required.
The compartments help you create an orderly look for your plantings and help ensure that one plant doesn’t overtake the others. Each compartment also has a hole in the bottom to help create healthy airflow and promote drainage.
At 9.8 inches deep, these square beds can be used for a variety of vegetables, flowers, and herbs, but they won’t provide deep-rooted plants the space they need. Plan to use them for plants with shallow roots.
These raised garden beds are not as stylish as some other options, but they are affordable and do their job well. If you’re not handy or just don’t want to take the time to assemble a raised bed, these can be a great option.
These beds can also be reused for multiple gardening seasons, which makes the low price even more of a bargain.
Price at time of publish: $20
Product Details: Dimensions: 23.6 x 23.6 x 9.8 inches | Material: Plastic/polypropylene
Outdoor Living Today Cedar Garden in a Box with Trellis/Lid
Why You Should Get It: This multifunctional raised garden bed features a deep growing area and fencing panels to keep critters out.
Keep in Mind: There are more parts to assemble than on other raised garden beds, and there is no bottom.
This raised garden bed may be pricey, but it has pretty much everything you could want in one package and will help you avoid some common gardening mistakes. The 6 x 3-foot bed features a trellis that can act either as a support for plants or as a lid to help keep pests away from your crops.
Fencing panels made with wire mesh around all sides also help keep critters at bay, bringing the height up from 20 inches to 33.5 inches. The front panels fold down so you can more easily access the garden when you need to plant, weed, or harvest crops.
The raised garden bed is made of cedar, which is sustainably sourced, and is resistant to decay, as well as insect and water damage. Marine grade hinges also ensure the raised garden bed will stand up well to the weather and last for many seasons.
We like the fact that this raised bed is so multifunctional. At the beginning of your gardening season, you can start with the lid closed to protect young plants. As your plants grow, you can open the lid up to serve as a trellis for support.
There is no bottom on this raised bed, but at 20 inches, it’s deep enough that you don’t need to worry if the soil underneath it is less than ideal. You’ll have to spend a little more time on assembly on this one, since you need to put together the bed, attach the side panels, and assemble the trellis/lid.
Price at time of publish: $929
Product Details: Dimensions: 72 x 36 x 33.5 inches | Material: Cedar
Best with Cover
Potey Raised Garden Bed with Greenhouse Galvanized Planter Box
Why You Should Get It: It comes with a cover to keep plants warm in the winter as well as a cover to protect plants from insects during the summer.
Keep in Mind: This raised garden bed is relatively shallow so it won’t accommodate plants with deep roots unless you have good, fertile soil underneath it.
This metal raised garden bed comes with not just one, but two greenhouse covers you can use during the gardening season. You’ll receive one PE cover to use in the winter to keep your plants warm and get a head start on the gardening season. You’ll also get a PE net to protect plants from insects during the summer.
The bed itself is made from galvanized steel which is durable and resistant to corrosion. Extra-thick panels (up to 6 millimeters thick) make this raised bed extra sturdy, as do two connecting rods in the middle of the bed that help provide support.
Four greenhouse hoops help keep the covers in place and multiple sets of vent holes on the side of the raised garden bed help provide soil aeration and improve drainage.
The best raised garden beds are both practical and stylish, and this model checks both boxes nicely. It does require assembly, but the process is quick and easy.
Keep in mind that at only 9.8 inches deep it won’t accommodate plants with deep roots well (unless you have good, healthy soil beneath it). At 19.7 inches wide, it’s relatively narrow which makes reaching plants easy, but will also limit how much you can fit in the bed.
Price at time of publish: $90
Product Details: Dimensions: 65 x 19.7 x 9.8 inches | Material: Metal
Best for Patios
Edostory 4.5-Foot Vertical Garden Planter
Why You Should Get It: This raised garden bed has five beds stacked on top of each other—plus, it has wheels for easy maneuverability.
Keep in Mind: The planter boxes are shallow, so they’re only suitable for plants with shallow roots, such as flowers and herbs.
If you have a small yard or patio, you may want to utilize vertical space instead of horizontal space. This raised garden bed is actually five raised beds stacked on top of each other, which allows you to make optimum use of vertical space on your patio or deck.
The shelf that holds the raised bed planters is sturdy and made of high-quality steel to prevent rusting. Drainage holes on the planting boxes help ensure your plants’ roots won’t get waterlogged, and four wheels make it easy to move the setup as needed. All wheels can then be locked into place to make sure it doesn’t move once you’ve found your favorite spot.
This raised garden bed will likely work well for shorter annual flowers and many herbs, but because the planter boxes are only 7 inches deep, they won’t work as well for plants with long roots. Plus, the five planter boxes are close together, which may cause problems for taller plants.
This raised bed system does require assembly, but it comes together fairly easily and the tools you need are included in the package. As a nice bonus, the raised garden bed comes with gardening tools to help you dig into your new hobby: digging claw gloves, a trowel, and pruning shears.
Although this system may not work for every plant, it offers a great way to squeeze a lot into a small footprint. The 4.5-foot vertical bed is available in brick red or green to match your outdoor style.
Price at time of publish: $100
Product Details: Dimensions: 26 x 28 x 54 inches | Material: Alloy steel
Best for Herbs
VegTrug 8-Pocket Herb Garden
Why You Should Get It: This raised garden bed features separate planting pockets for up to eight herb plants.
Keep in Mind: You’ll have to replace the liners every couple of years, and it’s recommended to reapply a food-safe preservative to the wood every year.
This elevated raised bed provides an easy way to set up an herb garden anywhere you want it. Although you could grow flowers in this raised bed, too, it’s designed for herbs and features eight compartments for growing up to eight different herbs in one spot.
Separate pockets for each plant create an orderly look and help ensure more vigorous plants don’t take over the whole planting area. This raised bed can be a great addition to a balcony or patio—you can place it right outside your home’s back door so you have easy access to herbs whenever you’re cooking or grilling.
The 31.5-inch height elevates the gardening surface and reduces the amount of bending required on a regular basis. The raised bed is made from cedar, so it’ll stand up well to the elements, and it’s been treated with a food safe preservative so you can feel confident about safely growing edible crops in it.
It also includes a lower shelf for stowing watering cans, seed packets, or gardening tools within reach. The raised bed also comes with replaceable and biodegradable liners for each growing pocket.
You do need to assemble the product and may need to replace the liners every year or two. The manufacturer also recommends reapplying a food safe preservative every year.
Price at time of publish: $120
Product Details: Dimensions: 31 x 31 x 23 inches | Material: Cedar
Best for Beginners
Keter Urban Bloomer Raised Garden Bed
Why You Should Get It: The tall height, self-watering feature, and water gauge make it easy for any gardener to successfully grow plants.
Keep in Mind: It’s made of resin, rather than wood, so it’s not as sturdy as some raised garden beds.
If you’re just getting into gardening, this raised garden bed offers several features to make things easier for you.
It comes with a detachable tray that you can use for starting seeds if you want to try your hand at that. This raised garden bed also includes a water reservoir to help you provide just the right amount of water for your plants.
There’s a water gauge to let you know how much water is in the reservoir. If it’s red, you know you need to drain water, and there’s an easy drainage tap at the bottom that you pull out to drain it.
Made of heavy-duty resin, this raised garden bed won’t rot or rust if left outside, and its wood look will fit right in with most patio furniture. At 32.3 inches long and 14.7 inches wide, it’s big enough to provide an ample amount of planting space, but small enough to easily fit on a patio, deck, or even a balcony.
Since it’s 30.7 inches tall, it’s easy for gardeners of varying ages and abilities to use it since it eliminates the need for bending or kneeling on the ground. The depth of the raised bed is about 12 inches, however the water reservoir takes up some space so the actual planting area is shallower.
It’s best to use this for plants with relatively shallow roots. This raised garden bed is also sold in a set with garden tools, which might be handy if you’re just starting out.
Because it’s made of resin rather than wood, the raised bed is not as sturdy as some other models, but it works well and offers a great way to dabble in gardening.
Price at time of publish: $150
Product Details: Dimensions: 32.3 x 14.7 x 30.7 inches | Material: Resin
Yaheetech Wooden Raised Garden Bed with Wheels
Why You Should Get It: This raised garden bed can be easily moved, and it has a shelf for storage and holes for drainage.
Keep in Mind: It’s made of fir instead of the typical cedar that many other raised garden beds are made out of.
The Yaheetech Wooden Raised Garden Bed with Wheels is a stylish addition to your garden. And thanks to its wheels, it’s super easy to move around on your patio, deck, or yard. Two of the four wheels have brakes, so you can lock them into place once you have the bed where you want it.
Made of natural fir wood, the raised bed features two levels: a top level for planting and a shelf below for storage or display. A non-woven liner is included for the planting compartment, and drainage holes help prevent the soil from becoming too wet and causing root rot.
Wooden slats help reinforce the bottom of the planting compartment, to help ensure it will hold up well to prolonged use. We like the fact that at 33 inches tall, this planter offers a garden space that doesn’t require a lot of bending. Plus, it’s high enough to keep your vegetables and herbs safe from hungry rabbits, squirrels, and other garden pests.
Since it’s made of fir rather than cedar, it may not hold up as well in all kinds of weather as some other raised garden beds—but it’s also less expensive than many cedar models so it can be a great bargain, especially if you use it on a covered patio.
Price at time of publish: $83
Product Details: Dimensions: 22.5 x 41.5 x 33 inches | Material: Fir
Birdies Self-Watering Metal Raised Bed
Why You Should Get It: This raised garden bed makes watering your plants much easier, and the metal frame will last for years.
Keep in Mind: It’s more expensive than many other raised garden beds, so it’s not the best choice if you’re on a tight budget.
A self-watering feature combined with a durable metal bed creates a practical raised bed that will add a modern, industrial style look to your growing space.
The self-watering system is simple to set up and install, and it’s easy to add water later via two fill tubes. The reservoir can hold 20 gallons of water in total, thanks to two pairs of connected 5-gallon reservoirs.
To ensure the water moves evenly throughout the bed, it’s important to install this bed on level ground. These raised garden beds would be a great choice if you don’t have a good water source nearby.
Made of powder-coated 24-gauge metal, this raised garden bed is strong and durable, so you won’t need to worry about replacing it anytime soon. This self-watering raised garden bed is available in several different sizes: 2 x 4 feet, 2 x 8 feet, and 4 x 4 feet.
You can fill this bed with the potting mix of your choice, but you can purchase a Self-Watering Potting Mix that’s specifically designed for self-watering beds.
If you don’t mind paying a bit more to make watering easier and for the extra durability that a metal bed offers, this self-watering raised garden bed is a good way to successfully grow a wide variety of plants.
Price at time of publish: $400
Product Details: Dimensions: 51 x 51 x 15 inches | Material: Metal
Olle 32-Inch Metal Raised Garden Bed
Why You Should Get It: You’ll be able to enjoy this raised garden bed for years thanks to its strong and durable metal frame. Plus, it’s deep enough to successfully grow any type of plant.
Keep in Mind: It has an open bottom.
Why not throw a curve into your garden with a round garden bed? This metal raised garden bed is available in several different colors so you can add a little more color, too. In addition to gray, it’s also available in ivory, sage green, and cobalt blue.
Like other metal beds, these raised garden beds are durable and will last a long time. This model is made of corrugated steel with a zinc-aluminum coating, which will resist rust and stand up well to the elements.
Metal garden beds can get quite hot on sunny, summer days and edges can be sharp, so we love the fact that this bed is lined with a commercial grade rubber at the top. This detail makes them safer for kids and more comfortable for anyone, since you can rest your arms and hands on them comfortably.
This raised garden bed is deeper than a lot of other metal beds, making it extremely versatile. At 32 inches tall, you can grow pretty much anything you want in it, even deep-rooted plants like pumpkins, watermelons, and potatoes.
If you usually move your raised garden beds around, note that this one has an open bottom so it will have to remain stationary. But with all of its advantages, this is the best metal raised garden bed.
Price at time of publish: $185
Product Details: Dimensions: 42 x 42 x 32 inches | Material: Metal
Best Choice Products Raised Garden Bed
Why You Should Get It: This elevated garden bed is designed to be waist height, and it’s available in three different finishes.
Keep in Mind: Assembly is required.
Elevating your planting space is a good idea, as it can substantially reduce the need for bending and kneeling. This raised garden bed is 30 inches tall, so it’s a comfortable, waist-high height for most adults. Another plus is that a taller garden bed can help prevent rabbits and other garden critters from eating your vegetables.
At 48 inches long and 24 inches wide, this model is small enough to easily fit on a patio or deck, but it provides a large enough planting space to fit in a good number of plants.
The depth of the planting space is 9.5 inches so it can accommodate a wide variety of plants, but it is too shallow for some plants with deep roots. A liner is included with the bed and separates the soil from the wood frame, to help keep the wood in good condition for longer.
This tall garden bed also features drainage holes to ensure that the plants don’t get waterlogged. Although it may look like cedar, this raised garden bed is made of Chinese fir, which is also resistant to rot and pests. This model does require assembly, so make sure to set aside some time to put it together.
Price at time of publish: $90
Product Details: Dimensions: 24 x 48 x 30 inches | Material: Chinese fir
The Bottom Line
The best raised garden beds should be durable, stylish, and fit your garden space. We chose the Vego Garden 9-in-1 Raised Garden Bed Kit because it can be set up in nine different configurations to fit any garden space and its metal frame is durable enough to last for years.
If you prefer to purchase a wood raised garden bed, the Outdoor Living Today Cedar Garden in a Box with Lid/Trellis offers a classic look with practical features, such as side panels to keep out garden pests and a lid that doubles as a trellis.
What to Know About Raised Garden Beds Before Shopping
Building a bed that is too big is a common raised garden bed mistake. It might be surprising, but the best raised garden beds are relatively narrow so you can easily reach all plants from the sides of the bed.
“To avoid soil compaction, choose a width that allows you to reach all plants without stepping into the bed. If you can reach plants from both sides, a width of 3-4 feet is fine,” says Miller.
The length of the bed can be determined by your personal preference and the size of your space. You’ll commonly find raised garden beds that are between 4 feet and 10 feet long.
Wood and metal are the most popular options for raised beds. You can easily customize the size of your bed if you build one from wood and this material offers a timeless look. Metal will give you a more modern look and it will stand up well for many years to come.
Some beds are also made from vinyl or resin, which are strong plastic materials. Fabric beds are also rising in popularity since they offer a very easy way to get started: just unfold the bag and you’re ready to go.
You can also make a raised garden bed with brick or stones. If you want to create a vegetable garden in your raised bed, look for a material that is food safe.
Drainage Holes and Liners
Many raised beds that are designed to sit directly on the ground don’t have a bottom or liner; the plants will just grow into the soil below the raised bed if they need more growing space.
Some taller raised beds that stand on legs come with a liner. If you’re using a liner, it’s important that you allow water to drain out the bottom. “Add small drainage holes to prevent water from pooling in the bottom of the bed, or use a liner material that is permeable to water,” says Carrie Spoonemore, co-creator of Park Seed’s From Seed to Spoon app.
Ease of Assembly
Building your own raised beds or even assembling one can sometimes be a bit tricky and take some time. To ensure that set-up will be easy, look for a kit that doesn’t require tools to put together.
Spoonemore also recommends looking for pre-cut/pre-drilled pieces, interlocking designs, and lightweight materials. If you really want to make assembly easy, you can also opt for fabric grow beds, like the Apipi 2 Piece Raised Garden Planter Fabric Beds, that you just unfold and fill with soil.
Your Questions, Answered
What is the best depth for a raised garden bed?
The best depth for your raised garden bed depends on what types of plants you want to grow and what’s underneath the bed.
“A soil depth of 6-8 inches is fine for shallow-rooted plants like radishes and leafy greens,” Miller says. “Tomatoes, squash, peppers, and other deep-root crops require at least 18 inches of soil.” We love the Vego Garden 9-in-1 Raised Garden Bed Kit because it has a depth of 17 inches.
It’s always best to err on the side of deeper beds if you’re not sure what plants you’ll be growing. Plus, tall beds offer additional benefits. “Tall raised beds allow you to garden in them without having to bend over, which can be a great back saver,” says Justin Hancock, a horticulturalist with Costa Farms.
It’s also important to consider what’s underneath the raised garden bed because many don’t have a bottom. “Raised bed depth doesn’t matter much if you have tons of nutrient-rich, fluffy soil underneath. But if the surface under your raised bed is compacted clay or an impermeable patio, you’ll need to be more conscious of height,” Miller says.
What are the benefits of raised garden beds?
There are numerous benefits of raised garden beds. The best raised garden beds allow you to start the growing season a bit earlier since the soil warms up faster. They also make it easier to amend the soil to suit specific plants or just improve it.
“Raised beds wind up saving you money by keeping more water and fertilizer on your plants, instead of dispersed throughout the garden,” Spoonemore says. “Raised beds also protect against weeds and pests.”
What is the safest material for a raised garden bed?
Many materials can be used successfully to make raised garden beds, but you’ll need to be more careful about which material you use if you want to grow food crops in the raised bed, especially if you are interested in organic gardening.
“I would avoid old treated lumber,” Hancock says. “Current treated lumber is fine, as problematic chemicals are no longer used.” Untreated wood such as pine, cedar, and cypress are a good choice for any bed. If you like the more modern metal look, opt for a galvanized or powder-coated steel, Miller suggests.
Who We Are
Renee Freemon Mulvihill is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in home and garden topics. To research this article, she researched a variety of raised garden beds online, comparing features, price, and user reviews. She also checked in with several gardening experts: Lindsay Miller, a horticultural writer for Gardener’s Supply Company, Carrie Spoonemore, co-creator of Park Seed’s From Seed to Spoon app, and Justin Hancock, a horticulturalist with Costa Farms, to get their advice about choosing the best raised garden beds for any space.