If you have decided to buy your raised garden beds rather than making your
own, then the choice of suppliers is bewildering as are the different
types available and the huge difference in prices. This easy to use
guide to raised beds will help you select the correct one at the
best price. If you want to go straight to our raised bed features
and price comparison then
click here now.
Before selecting a raised bed for your
yourself a few questions. What material is best for your
gardening needs, will you want to expand the raised bed at a
later date, what price do you want to pay, what size is
required and what company is it best to buy from.
Answer those questions with our help below and you will end
up with the correct raised bed.
Comparison of prices between the different raised beds available is
meaningless without considering other factors such as delivery
costs, materials used, guarantees and similar factors. To help you
compare prices we have compiled a list of online retailers and the
various raised beds they sell.
The list is based on a raised bed which is approximately 1.8m
by 1.8m and 30cm high, the prices and other information are as at
2011. It includes all the relevant factors we thing are important
for raised beds - name of the retailer, their website address,
material used, thickness of timber, guarantee, expandable etc.
To confuse matters as far as price is concerned, different retailers
offer their beds in a variety of different sizes avoiding easy price
comparison. This is the reason that we quote an approximate raised
bed area of 3.15 sq m above to get round this problem.
Beware of cheap headline prices because they inevitably refer to
raised garden beds which are tiny and are not high enough to grow anything
other than dwarf plants and vegetables. A minimum height for growing
many vegetables is 30cm, if you restrict yourself to a 15cm high
raised bed then you will be limiting the range of vegetables which
will grow well.
Click here to see
our one page feature and price comparison table and then come
back here for more information about raised beds.
MATERIALS AVAILABLE FOR RAISED BEDS
Price, durability, ease of construction and good looks are the key
decision making factors when selecting the material for a raised
bed. Wood, plastic and galvanised metal are the available materials
to the amateur gardener and each has it own pros and cons.
Wood is the best looking without a doubt, there are some
beautiful examples for sale if you look for them. If the wood has
been sourced from a sustainable source it is also the most
environmentally friendly. As far as durability is concerned, you get
what you pay for with wood. The more expensive wooden raised beds
will last for decades, especially if treated every couple of years.
The cheaper ones will not stand the test of time so well.
Look for timber which is 3cm+ thick, pressure treated and guaranteed
for a few years. If you treat this type of product every two or
three years it may well outlive you!
One wood option which stands out on its own is to use railway
sleeper kits to construct your raised bed. We have included one
company that supplies kits of this type in our
For obvious reasons this is a more expensive option but they may
well be an option that is correct for you.
Plastic raised beds are likely to last in excess of 20 years and
require no maintenance. Clearly they don't look as good as wood
versions but some look better than others.
Double skinned plastic raised beds are the standard to look for, the
trapped air rapidly heats up and this transfers to the soil enabling
earlier crops in the spring and later crops in the autumn.
We only found one example of a metal raised bed, sold by Everedge.
To be truthful, we no experience of metal raised beds so cannot
comment on their advantages or disadvantages. If you have any
knowledge of metal raised beds then we encourage you to leave a
comment in the comments box at the bottom of this page.
DURABILITY OF RAISED GARDEN BEDS
The durability is first dependant on the material the raised bed is
Fist you need to make sure that the wood has been pressure treated
with a preservative (sometimes called tanalised) which won't damage
your plants. Most retailers do this nowadays but just check their
Next is the thickness if the wood. In general, a thickness of 3cm or
more will ensure that your raised garden bed lasts for a decade or
more. There shouldn't be a need to maintain them but if you do they
are likely have a longer life. A thickness of 2.5cm or less is
likely to reduce the durability of the raised bed.
it is very difficult to judge how long a plastic raised garden bed
will last just by looking at it. The only problem you are likely to
encounter is that some plastic reacts to being outside and
eventually becomes brittle and cracks. Price is the main criteria
here but is not 100% reliable. The more you pay for the same sized
raised bed, the longer it is likely to last.
Galvanised metal should last a decade or more although we have no
specific experience of metal raised garden beds.
If you haven't already seen it,
click here for our one
page comparison table for raised garden beds. It compares a range of
products for prices, size and many other features. It includes a
link to each of the major online raised bed retailers.
LINING THE BASE OF RAISED BEDS
You need to consider also if the base of your raised bed needs a
lining, this is often suggested as necessary by raised bed retailers
and offered as an accessory.
If your raised bed is placed a solid surface you may want to place a
membrane at the base of the raised bed to protect solid surface from
marking. However we have no experience of this but we do doubt that
a permeable (one which allows water to pass through) membrane would
offer much protection.
If you are placing your raised bed on grass or open soil we suggest
that a membrane is not necessary unless the raised bed is very
shallow or there are some extremely lively weeds in the soil. Even
then, a lining of newspaper, five sheets deep, would do the same job
at no cost. All our raised beds are lined in this way and to date we
have never had any weeds grow through the newspaper and then through
30cm of compost.
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