Everything You Need to Know about Raised Bed Gardening

Everything You Need to Know about Raised Bed Gardening

Feb 29th 2024

Are you planning to start a raised bed garden or revamping the existing garden setup to include raised beds? We have got you covered!

Raised beds are a game-changer in gardening, enabling gardeners to practice organic gardening. Raised beds are useful and convenient because they enhance the beauty of your garden, increase the garden space, and require less mobility to tend them compared to in-ground gardens. Additionally, this gardening technique increases yields and allows you to grow more food in your backyard. Nothing is more exciting than using home-grown fresh vegetables or your favorite cut flowers.

Whether you want to get a custom raised bed or DIY on your own, it's important to understand all the basics about raised beds and this gardening approach. Read on and learn all you need to know about raised bed gardening.

What is a Raised Bed?

A raised bed is a freestanding garden bed built higher than the ground level.

Raised garden beds are constructed as a frame or enclosure made of wood, stones, steel, landscape timbers, or other repurposed materials. Raised beds are becoming popular among gardeners because they offer many plant growth benefits. Also, they are ideal for growing your favorite vegetables and flowers in small spaces.

Advantages of Raised Bed Gardening

Besides being convenient and aesthetically pleasing, raised bed gardening has many benefits. This is why more and more gardeners are starting to use it. Here are a few advantages of raised bed gardening:

Higher Yields: Raised bed vegetables will produce yields 2x higher than traditional ground-grown vegetables. Due to improved soil conditions, you can plant vegetables at higher densities and closely together.

Water Conservation: You can irrigate raised beds using efficient and low-volume drip tubing, which distributes water precisely throughout the bed and saves water. Also, you only need to water the area where vegetables are growing.

Better and Healthier Soil: A raised bed improves soil structure by preventing soil compaction. You can add organic matter and healthy garden soil to your raised bed.

Better Drainage: The raised bed has good drainage due to the high-quality planter mix, which keeps diseases and rot conditions at bay.

Helps Deter Pests: A well-designed raised bed also thwarts pests. You can fence the bed to prevent animals from reaching it. Also, it is easier to line the bed with wire mesh to control gophers and other pests.

Longer Growing Season: Raised bed soil stays warm and drains more quickly than the soil in the ground, which allows gardeners to extend the growing time for a few extra weeks in spring and fall.

Less Maintenance: One of the great benefits of having a raised bed is that it requires less work, bending, and maintenance. You can keep the bed mulched all year, reducing weed growth, meaning you'll need to spend much less time weeding your garden. Also, the soil is always loose and workable.

Looks Attractive: Raised beds can add beauty to your garden every season as they look like a stunning permanent element. They make your garden organized and structured.

Containers vs. Raised Beds - Which is Better and Why?


Containers are an excellent choice for creating a garden where there is no soil, such as a deck, pathway, patio, or balcony. They add a special touch to your home décor. Containers are great if you lack ample outdoor space to connect with nature.


  • Portable
  • Can fit any space
  • Easy to transplant to another container
  • Available in multiple materials, including ceramic and wood
  • Accessible for people with mobility issues


  • Soil dries out faster
  • Requires more watering
  • Requires more fertilizer
  • Offers less space for root growth

Raised Beds

Raised garden beds are an attractive addition to any garden. Unlike containers, raised beds don't have a bottom. They provide more space for roots to grow, which promotes plant growth. In addition, you can quickly amend the soil in a raised bed and continuously reuse it.

Raised beds have very few disadvantages, including a bit higher cost. Besides, preventing certain pests (root aphids or root-knot nematodes) in raised beds can be challenging but not impossible.

Containers or Raised Beds: What Should You Use?

Raised beds provide the best solution to grow any plant in better soil. You can adjust the soil according to plants' needs, extend the growing season, and enjoy higher yields. If your yard has enough space, add raised beds to enhance its beauty and grow your favorite plants.

Moreover, raised bed gardening is an excellent choice for elders or people with disabilities because these beds are easily accessible, which allows them to enjoy gardening without compromising their health.

However, containers are a good option if you have a limited space and want to add greenery to your home. Lastly, it is optional to choose one out of two. You can combine both to give your garden a unique and stunning look.

What Can You Grow in a Raised Bed?

You can grow almost anything in a raised bed that can be grown in the ground, including leafy greens, veggies, herbs, fruit, and root crops. Tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, beans, peppers, root crops, and beets are common vegetables that grow well in raised beds. Moreover, raised beds are ideal for growing spinach, lettuce, and other cold-season vegetables because the soil bed warms faster in early spring. Cover the soil with hardwood mulch, grass clippings, and chopped leaves to conserve water and retain moisture in the soil.

Related Read: How to Grow Vegetables in Raised Beds

How to Choose the Right Raised Bed

To choose the right raised bed, you must consider some crucial factors, such as the ideal dimensions of the raised bed, which include height, length, and width. Here are the general parameters to choose the right bed.

Ideal Height

A raised bed should be high enough to hold the entire root ball of your plants. The minimum height we recommend is 6 inches. 12-18 inches in height is ideal for a raised bed. It would be best to consider the plants you want to grow to choose the right height. Root vegetables require more space, and herbs require less. You will need a minimum of 6" depth for herbs and lettuce greens, 12" for root crops, and 18" for tomatoes, zucchini, squash, and kale.

Remember, gardening should be an enjoyable part of your routine, not an exhausting chore that hurts your back. So, choose height carefully. You can choose the 32" tall raised bed to avoid bending and prevent strain on your back.

Ideal Length

Four feet is the ideal width, but 3 feet will also work. Eighteen inches is the minimum width recommended for a raised bed. Anything less will not give you the full benefits of raised bed gardening as there will not be space to grow more than 1-2 plants across your bed.

Four feet gives you greater flexibility to space rows. It is crucial to avoid stepping into the raised bed to weed or plant because this will compact the soil and affect soil drainage. Anything beyond 4-5 feet will make reaching the middle of the bed too tricky unless you have long arms. Unlike height, the width of your raised bed depends on the space you have.

Ideal Width

The length of the raised bed will be determined by the available space, budget, and materials you want to use to build the bed. You can build 4'x4' squares or build 4'x20' rows. The ideal length for a raised bed is approximately 10-12 feet long. You need to stay within a maximum of four-foot width.

Related Read: How to Build a Raised Garden Bed for Beginners

The Best Raised Bed Materials

After determining the right size for your bed, you have to choose the material. You should choose a durable, beautiful, affordable, and sustainable material for your raised bed. Making wise decisions when you start building the raised bed is essential, as it will save you money and time in the long run. Here are materials to build a raised bed to suit your garden style and needs.

Metal Raised Beds

Metal raised beds are becoming popular and trendy for their durability and chic look. They are made of high-quality steel that gives a stylish and modern feel. You cannot get a more durable material than metal that will last a lifetime. DripWorks carries a high-quality collection of metal raised beds made of heavy-duty ZAM-coated steel.

Here are the benefits of using a metal raised bed.

  • Metal beds have thin sides, which allows you to maximize growing area.
  • The soil in a metal raised bed warms up faster than a wooden bed.
  • They are made of sustainable resources.
  • It is a food-safe material.
  • These beds are designed to withstand outdoor conditions such as snow, rain, and high temperatures.
  • They can withstand corrosion and do not chip, peel, or crack.
  • They are available in multiple colors, allowing you to choose the one that coordinates with the existing materials in your space.

Wood Raised Beds

Cedar is an affordable and durable wood for building a wooden raised bed. Untreated timber can last five or more years. Pressure-treated wood lasts twice as long, but research suggests the chemicals are not safe for vegetables. Wood-raised beds are not the least expensive but are simple to assemble.

Whichever wood you use, do not use chemical-treated boards, as they can leach into the soil. You can stain and paint the exterior of your bed with high-quality, weather-resistant, and eco-friendly stains. Also, buy the thickest wooden boards for your raised bed, preferably two inches thick.

The Bottom Line

A raised garden bed is a beautiful hardscaping piece on its own. They can make growing your favorite vegetables and flowers easier. Raised bed gardening is enjoyable and beneficial as it allows you to maximize your growing space, improve soil conditions, boost productivity, enjoy a bountiful harvest, and tend your plants easily. All these benefits and potential savings outweigh the small work and costs required to set up a raised garden bed.

DripWorks stocks durable and affordable metal raised beds ideal for planting anything from herbs to vegetables! Explore our raised bed collection here. For any raised bed queries, contact our gardening experts at 1-800-522-3747 Mon-Fri.