An above ground gardening box, or raised garden, bed can bring many benefits to the plants you are growing. These types of garden beds offer good drainage, can prevent some pests from getting at your plants, and keep weeds away from your garden. They are a great option to consider if you're looking to plant a small flower or vegetable garden.
We have compiled a review of five of the best gardening above ground boxes. Take some time to read through our review, and you should learn the information you need to decide which option will best suit your needs.
Top 5: Raised Bed & Above Ground Boxes Review
Product Image & Rating (Out Of 10)
The VegTrug 1.8 Meter Raised Bed can help you create a beautiful garden wherever you want. This raised garden bed has a large capacity. It can hold up to seven 60-liter bags of compost and provides you with enough space to plant foods to make up to 30 salads.
The raised designed of this product will help keep animals away from your plants. The planter features a v-shaped design to ensure that roots will enjoy plenty of space to spread out and thrive.
Your purchase to this planter includes a fitted membrane liner. This feature is designed to prevent your compost or soil from leaking out and ensure water is able to drain properly. You will be able to purchase replacement liners when needed.
If you have a problem with frost or pests in your area, you can attach fleece or netting covers to provide protection for your plants.
The Outland Living 6-Foot Raised Garden Bed is the perfect solution if you are tight on space. This elevated option includes four tiers of planter boxes, proving you with plenty of space to grow a beautiful garden. Each of the four hanging boxes is 27 inches.
The plastic bins on this product are made from 100% new Polypropylene material that is food-grade. They are BPA-, lead-, and mercury-free. You can confidently and safely use this product to grow delicious fruits and vegetables.
You can configure the bins to use a cascading draining system. This can reduce the amount of water you need to use when watering your plants and can prevent stagnant water from hanging around in the planters.
You'll love the way the Best Choice Products Raised Garden Bed transforms the look of your space. This option is almost four feet long and is plenty deep to provide space to give your plants enough room to grow. This raised bed is 30 inches tall, which also will make it easier to water for people who have back pain or trouble bending or kneeling.
The base of the unit has drainage holes to prevent overwatering and make sure excess water doesn't collect and become stagnant. A garden bed liner is also included with your purchase to provide a layer of separation between the wood and soil. This will help prevent the wood from getting damaged and help it last for a long time.
Another great option for you to consider is the Outland Living 4-Foot Vertical Raised Garden Bed. This option is a stepped tower that includes five different planting boxes. It will make it possible for you to grow a variety of plants in tighter spaces.
Each of the five hanging bins are 24 inches. They are made using food-grade material that does not contain any BPA, mercury, or lead. This will allow you to feel safe using this product to grow fruits and vegetables.
The raised, tiered design of this option is not only attractive, it is also functional. Individuals who have trouble bending over because of hip or back pain will be able to access their plants much more easily.
The Mr. Stacky High-Grade Metal Raised Garden Bed Kit will provide you with the space you need to grow the garden you want. This product is three feet wide by four feet long. It has 12-inch walls to ensure the roots of your space have adequate space to spread out and breathe.
This option is made using a durable and high-grade metal that will not rust, chip or crack. It comes disassembled, but you'll be able to put it together in no time without the use of any tools.
When you purchase this product, you'll also receive weed fabric to stop weeds from intruding on your garden.
An above ground gardening box is a great alternative to planting a garden if you live in an apartment or do not have the right spot for a garden on your property. Before selecting a product to purchase, take some time to determine which features you'd like to see I the product you choose.
First, you should think about which raised planter design you would like. You can find options that sit on the ground, are elevated a few feet off the ground, or tiered towers that provide different planting boxes.
You should also be sure to pay attention to the dimensions of each of the options you are considering. Think about what you would like to plant, and be sure to select a product that will offer enough space to meet your needs.
Finally, look for well-made products that built using high-quality materials. Wood, plastic, or metal options can all be fine, but you just want to make sure that the option you select is built to last.
Best Raised Garden Bed
After compiling the reviews above, we have concluded that the VegTrug 1.8 Meter Raised Bed is our top pick. This above ground planter can help you easily transform smaller spaces, such as patios or rooftops, into a beautiful garden.
You'll enjoy plenty of space to plant the flowers, fruits, or vegetables you want with this option. It can hold up to seven bags of compost and offers enough room for you to plant enough food to make as many as 30 salads.
The planter features a v-shaped design to allow roots plenty of space to grow. You can also easily add fleece or netting to provide protection against frost or pests.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of a raised garden bed?
The main benefits of a raised garden bed are plant reach-ability, soil choice, heat, drainage, and weed protection.
Maintaining a garden is much easier when you can reach your plants. Many people prefer weeding at waist height rather than having to crawl all over the ground, kneeling and bending. The plants being up higher also means you are more likely to notice problem spots that tend to be hidden when low to the ground.
Raised garden beds are very useful if your local soil is not great at draining or not very fertile. You can pick the exact soil blend and fertilize deeply in a raised bed. This means you can customize the soil to meet your plants' exact needs.
Heat is essential for getting your plants started early in the season. Since raised beds are up out of the ground with lots of surface area to grab sunlight, they tend to warm up before the ground soil does in the spring. They can also be covered with plastic or put in a greenhouse much easier.
Raised garden beds also offer better drainage than in-ground gardens because you can both control the soil content and put draining material under the garden bed. In areas with clay soil this is a huge time and labor saver.
Most weeds either have seeds that blow or fall down, or they spread by sending out runners. A raised garden bed offers some protection from all types of weeds by being above where weeds usually are.
What are the drawbacks of a raised garden bed?
The drawbacks of a raised garden bed are cost and initial labor, heat, and drainage.
Setting up a raised garden bed is not very expensive, but it is a bit more costly than just putting seeds in the ground. You have to pay for pre-built beds or materials, then soil to fill it. There is also maintenance of the bed once it is built. The cost of a four by four feet raised garden bed ranges from 200 to 400 dollars.
If you’re trying to save money on your garden bed the best ways to cut costs involve a lot of labor. You could build the beds from raw materials and go through the process of hauling, measuring, mixing and placing the soil yourself. Depending on your skill this could save you a lot of money but cost you a lot of time and energy.
The last drawbacks are heat and drainage, which are also listed as benefits. This is because raised beds are great for both of these but can cause too much of a good thing. Beds that were pleasantly warm in spring can get excessively hot in summer, and if your drainage isn’t calibrated just right, you could end up needing to water every day.
What do you fill a raised garden bed with?
Usually raised beds are filled with a pre-made garden soil mix or a homemade blend of compost, loam, and peat moss. Some methods include a layer or core of organic material, like wood or straw.
Which wood is best for building raised beds?
Most gardeners recommend cedar for raised beds because it is naturally rot resistant so it won't need to be replaced often. Chemically treated woods are not recommended because the chemicals can leach into the soil and end up in your vegetables.
How deep should a raised bed be?
A raised bed should be eight to twelve inches deep for most flowers or shallow rooting plants. It should be twelve to eighteen inches deep for most vegetables. Keep in mind that a deeper bed can hold onto more water.
How many plants can I grow in a raised bed?
Since the raised bed is made to be reachable from all sides, plants can be planted closer than they can in an in-ground garden. A four-by-four raised bed can hold around 16 medium sized vegetable plants, like tomatoes or peppers. For smaller plants like onions or lettuces it could hold up to 64 individual plants.
How many bags of soil do I need for a raised bed?
Most soil bags are sold in cubic yards. To find out how many cubic yards your raised garden bed is, simply multiply the length times the width times the height of the inside of the bed in feet, then divide that number by twenty-seven.
For a four-by-four bed that is eighteen inches deep take 4 X 4 X 1.5 which gives you twenty-four cubic feet, then divide by twenty-seven to give you about .8 cubic yards. However, you should always plan on getting more soil than you think you need.
What kind of soil should I put in my raised garden bed?
Most experts recommend a mix of about 60% topsoil, 30% compost, 10% peat moss and drainage additives like vermiculite or perlite. You can add more compost but you will have to add to the soil sooner since the compost will decompose and shrink.
Do raised garden beds need drainage?
All kinds of gardening require some drainage. Raised garden beds make drainage easy because you can choose well draining soil and build drainage into your garden bed. The best way to do this is to add a layer of rocks in the bottom of the bed.
Should I use mulch in a raised garden bed?
Yes, absolutely. Raised beds tend to dry out pretty quickly, and any kind of mulch will help hold in moisture. Additionally, mulch protects the lower stem and leaves of your plants from dirt spray when irrigating. It also helps some with temperature regulation, which can be an issue in raised beds.
Can I install irrigation into my raised garden bed?
Sure, raised beds are easy to modify with irrigation tubes since you can lay them under the dirt when you fill it or lay the tubes on top of the dirt as you would in an in-ground garden. Since raised beds tend to dry out faster than a traditional garden, many people prioritize easy irrigation.
How can I make my raised garden bed prettier?
You can improve the look of a raised bed by having a second wall around it of more aesthetically appealing materials. Some people build stunning rock walls around their garden beds. Others put a second wood wall of quality treated or painted wood. You could also build your garden edges into a sitting area.
Keeping the ground around the bed clean of weeds and debris will also improve the look of raised beds. A weed barrier underneath and around the bed topped with paving stones would give it a pretty finish. Placing some smaller plant pots or garden decorations on the ground would also smooth the transition from ground to garden.
Beginner's Guide To Raised Beds & Above Ground Boxes For Gardening
11 Tips and Inspiring Quotes For Raised Gardening
Raised garden beds provide an endless array of benefits. They look cleaner and are easier to maintain, they help improve yield for vegetable gardens, and they reduce the amount of time you have to spend weeding. However, with any variation of gardening, there is a right and wrong way to do things. Here's everything you need to know about raised bed gardening.
Tips For Starting Your Raised Garden
1. Use Proper Width and Depth
Avoiding soil compaction is one of the most difficult aspects of using a raised bed for gardening, and using a garden bed that is the proper width can help you avoid this common mistake. If your bed is too wide, you may end up having to crawl or step into the bed to reach the middle, which will lead to soil compaction and poor growth from your garden.
The width of your raised garden bed largely depends on the individual who is tending to the bed. As a general rule of thumb, it's best to keep your garden beds at a width of no more than 3-4 feet per garden box. This will allow you to easily reach into the soil and be able to easily access all areas of the garden.
The depth of your garden bed is largely dependent on what you will be growing, but many gardeners like to stick with an average depth of 12 inches.
“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”
― May Sarton
2. Choose the Right Material
The right material for your raised garden is critical to avoiding contamination of your flowers, vegetables, or produce. If you are building your own raised garden bed, be sure that the wood you use wasn't produced before 2003 if you choose to use pressure-treated wood.
Choosing the right material for your raised garden is largely personal preference. However, if your garden is being used to cultivate vegetables, it's common to use wood that is rot-resistant or chemical-free (usually cedar and redwood). Some also use steel wall beds. Overall, if you want a more "organic" crop you will want to choose a more "organic" material.
“The master of the garden is the one who waters it, trims the branches, plants the seeds, and pulls the weeds. If you merely stroll through the garden, you are but an acolyte.”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
Inexperienced gardeners will often neglect to mulch their raised garden beds, unaware that it's just as important as mulching a "normal" garden bed. Mulching helps to maintain your plants temperature, and provide it with nutrients that it needs to grow and thrive. It also helps to filter out the water in your soil, which assists in preventing root rot.
There are plenty of different materials you can choose to mulch your garden. Depending on what you're growing, as well as your geographical climate, some materials may be more beneficial than others. Common options include leaves, pine needles, cocoa bean shells, coffee grounds, bark chips, and wood chips- virtually all of these are acceptable but will depend on your personal preference and which crops you decide to grow.
“It was such a pleasure to sink one's hands into the warm earth, to feel at one's fingertips the possibilities of the new season.”
― Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden
4. Proper Placement
Placing your garden in the right location and with proper spacing can help improve your gardening experience and produce great a great crop. Many new raised bed gardeners make the mistake of putting their raised garden in an area with inadequate light for what they are growing, or by placing them too close together.
Ideally, you want your raised gardens to be at least 2-3 feet apart to allow you to move easily between them. You also want to decide what you are growing the beds, and make sure that the amount of sunlight the beds get each day is going to be enough. Watch your yard throughout the day to find the best place to start your raised garden beds.
“You can spend your whole life traveling around the world searching for the Garden of Eden, or you can create it in your backyard.”
― Khang Kijarro Nguyen
Depending on where you are putting your raised garden bed, you will need to be selective with the type of soil. Traditional potting soil will allow water to fall through it, taking key minerals and nutrients with it. No matter what you use, make sure it is compatible both with your crop and the irrigation system you are using.
Many experienced gardeners will use the soil from the surrounding earth in order to fill their beds. It can be especially helpful as well to add in organic compost, such as egg shells and coffee grounds. The soil you choose can be unique to your personal needs, but remember to avoid potting soil.
“The laws of nature remind us that no matter how long, seeds do grow. Push through long enough to see your seeds grow.”
― Andrena Sawyer
Irrigation can be difficult with raised garden beds. Between having to choose the right soil and the right irrigation system, it's important to preplan no matter what system you choose to use. Many gardeners like to use soaker hoses and drip irrigation system for their raised beds, but the choice is largely one of personal preference.
Soaker hoses are easy to install and are highly efficient in soaking water into your bed over time. They are generally made of a rubber material, and are porous to allow the water to soak into the bed. The other common option, a drip irrigation system, is beneficial due to its constant watering of plants but it can be more complex to set up for a beginner.
“One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a package of garden seeds.”
― Dan Bennett
7. Best Vegetable and Fruits for Raised Gardens
If you're growing vegetables or fruits in your raised beds, it's important to select the right ones in order to maximize your yield and be able to grow a healthy crop. Lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers are some of the more common vegetables grown in a raised garden.
Fruits are also commonly found in a raised garden. Some of the most successful crops usually come from strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, and various melon species. It's important to put "companion plants" together in the same garden bed. For example, tomatoes and basil grow well together whereas tomatoes and kale do not- just make sure you do your research before planting!
“By bringing a soulful consciousness to gardening sacred space can be created outdoors.”
― S. Kelley Harrell, Nature's Gifts Anthology
8. Best Flowers for Raised Gardens
You can grow virtually any type of flower in your raised garden, as long as you tend to it properly and it gets the right amount of sunlight and water. Perennials are a common flower amongst raised garden enthusiast, as they come back year after year without having to replant. In a deep enough bed, lavender is a highly fragmented and versatile flowering herb that you can grow successfully as well.
The most important tip to remember when planting anything in your raised garden is to pay attention to the companion plants- plants that grow well together. Equally as important is the placement, mentioned above. Make sure you plan carefully where you are going to place your raised beds and what you will put in them as this will be the deciding factor on the success of your garden.
“To dream a garden and then to plant it is an act of independence and even defiance to the greater world.”
― Stanley Crawford, A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm
9. Weed Barriers for Raised Gardens
Using a weed barrier becomes even more important if your raised garden is behaving more like a container garden and sitting directly on soil. Even low lying raised gardens should have some type of weed barrier to prevent weeds from growing up from the ground and into your bed.
Traditional raised gardeners will use items such as newspaper or cardboard to help prevent weeds from making their way up through their gardens. There are weed barriers that can be purchased as well, and what you choose is solely personal preference. Store bought weed barriers hold up better than newspaper or cardboard over time, but don't give the same "homestead" feel that many raised gardeners gravitate towards.
“A weed is but an unloved flower.”
― Ella Wheeler Wilcox
10. Cover Crops and Top-Dresssing
Toward the end of the season, it's common to utilize cover crops and to top-dress your soil periodically with compost. This will help protect your soil during the off season, and keep it nourished and ready for the spring. Top-dressing with compost involved utilizing compost on the top few inches of soil in order to help boost nutrient levels during the winter.
Cover crops are commonly rygrass or crimson clover. These crops help to introduce nutrients into he soil and keep the nitrogen levels in balance as well. Mulch is also a great way to keep your soil covered and protected from the elements during harsh winters.
“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.”
― Ruth Stout
11. Keeping Critters Out
No matter where you put your garden, dealing with critters that invade it will always be an issue. However, there are various tips and tricks you can utilize to keep critters out of your raised garden beds. A few common garden pests (depending on your location) are caterpillars, beetles, and cutworms.
* Marigolds: Marigolds are great for keeping a variety of pests away, including rabbits. They are also beautiful and will add a nice pop of color to your garden.
* Garlic: Garlic is a great herb to plant that has many uses both medicinally and for culinary purposes. It helps repel many different garden-invading beetles as well as moths and flies.
* Rosemary: This herb is both useful medicinally and can be used in some culinary dishes, plus it smells amazing. Rosemary is effective in keeping away many different types of bugs.
* Citronella Grass: Even experienced gardeners sometimes do not realize citronella is a grass. It is commonly used as an extract in candles and oils in order to provide organic pest repellant, but growing it near your garden can help keep many pests out of your raised beds.
These are organic and commonly used plants for helping keep garden pests out, but there are chemical options you can purchase from any gardening store to help protect your plants. For those who are not invested in natural gardening, check out chemical pest control options or even opt for some dishsoap and water in a spray bottle to help keep bugs out.
“Squirrels are blamed for many crimes they are not responsible for, but in this case honesty compels me to say it was the squirrels done it. I saw them.”
― Henry Mitchell, Henry Mitchell on Gardening
From choosing box materials, to irrigation systems, to where to place your garden and what to plant, gardening has an endless array of variables. Finding the right combination for your personal preferences and needs can be a daunting task, but we hope you have found some ideas in these 11 tips for your raised gardens. No matter what you decide to use, just make sure you have your placement right and your irrigation system ready and you should be good to go!
We think the VegTrug 1.8 Meter Raised Bed is an excellent option for you to consider. Don't delay planting the garden of your dreams any longer; place your order today!