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Updated May 10, 2023 11:55 AM

Whether or not you’ve already joined in on the grand tradition of gardening, there’s no time like the present to startand a raised garden bed can help. Buying produce at the grocery store is all well and good, but if you’ve had the chance to grow your own, you know there’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh, well-cared-for veggies. It doesn’t get much more farm-to-table than that. Now, with a little time, elbow grease, and some garden tools, here’s how to create the best raised garden beds for your own harvest.

How we chose the best raised garden beds

American food culture is very much devoted to its meat and dairy consumption, but for the past decade or so, the farm-to-table food movement, maybe even the rise of plant-based “meat,” has made major strides in putting vegetables back in the spotlight. While the majority of Americans don’t have the capacity or expertise to become fully self-sufficient, building raised garden beds is within reach for most. Thus, one of the most accessible and rewarding hobbies can enable people to grow their own food, nurture new life, and spend more time outside feeling productive and purposeful.

This is the true gift of gardening: Even if you only harvest a few carrots in your backyard garden, or your flowers don’t all bloom, you still get to witness and partake in the most literal—and rewarding—version of reaping what you sow. In making our recommendations for the best raised garden beds, we considered material quality, durability, customizability, variety of sizes, and price. So whether you’re a novice gardener or an old farm hand looking to learn some new tricks, we’ve compiled this elevated guide to raised planter boxes to help you grow your skillset—along with a tasty bounty. Get started with one of the best garden hoses.

The best raised garden beds: Reviews & Recommendations

It’s no secret that gardening has made a serious comeback. It presents the perfect, practical excuse to get outside—even if only to the backyard. You can grew veggies, nurture green thumbs, and experience the catharsis that comes with getting your hands dirty during planting season. So if you’re looking for raised bed garden ideas, here are our recommendations to get you growing.

Best overall: Greenes Fence Original Cedar Raised Garden Bed




  • Material: Cedar wood
  • Dimensions: 4 feet W x 8 feet L x 7 inches H or 10.5 inches H.
  • Colors: Unfinished


  • Made from long-lasting cedar
  • Easy to set up
  • Can stack or expand to customize size


  • Some users were disappointed with the quality of the wood
  • Doesn’t provide much protection from animals

Planting a garden is a way of getting back to nature, so it makes sense that you’d want one of the elevated garden beds free from chemicals and made from sustainable materials. Greenes Fence Original Cedar Raised Garden Bed fits the bill. Made from unsanded 11/16-inch boards of cedar, these raised beds are safe to grow vegetables and herbs in. You can stain them, or they will fade to gray over time.

The boards are also designed for easy, tool-free assembly, with joints that interlock—though you can top off the corners with decorative tops that do require a screwdriver to install. You can pick from options 4-feet wide by 8-feet long by either 7- or 10.5-inches high. And the interlocking design allows you to either stack or expand the open-bottomed frames to create a range of sizes and heights for your garden. You can get a head start on growing with one of the best seedling starter trays.

Best wood: Boldly Growing Cedar Raised Garden Bed Kit

Boldly Growing



  • Material: Cedar wood, metal
  • Dimensions: 4 feet L x 4 feet W x 1 foot H or 8 inches L x 4 inches W x 1 foot H
  • Colors: Unfinished, will fade to gray


  • Made from sustainable wood
  • Available in two sizes: square and rectangular sizes
  • Easy to assemble


  • Little protection against animals
  • Not customizable

This cedar raised garden bed kit has everything you need to kick start your vegetable garden—no tools required. The raw, premium cedar comes in 1.5-inch thick boards that are rot-resistant. You can pick from two sizes: square (4 feet by 4 feet) or rectangular (8 feet by 4 feet). The corner joints make assembly easy, but if you’re not happy with your purchase, the kit comes with a one-year guarantee of satisfaction. Then water your new garden with one of the best garden hoses.

Best plastic: The Lakeside Collection Raised Garden Bed Set

The Lakeside Collection



  • Material: Polypropylene (plastic)
  • Dimensions: 45.38 inches D x 45.38 inches W x 5.63 inches H
  • Colors: Brown


  • Durable
  • Customizable into four shapes
  • Easy to assemble


  • Not made from sustainable materials
  • Doesn’t provide protection from animals

Convenience is king with this garden bed from the Lakeside Collection. The kit comes with eight polypropylene (plastic) panels that you can assemble into one of four shapes: square, rectangular, octagon, or double height. It’s easy to assemble, and the material is durable enough to last through the seasons. It will work well for growing veggies and as a flower bed. The set is also collapsible and easy to store should you decide to take it down during the winter.

Best metal: Galvanized Raised Garden Beds




  • Material: Steel and metal 
  • Dimensions: 8 feet (96 inches) L x 4 feet (48 inches) W x 1 foot (12 inches) H
  • Colors: Gray


  • Made of weather-resistant, durable material
  • Comes in two sizes
  • Easy to assemble


  • Only comes in rectangular shape
  • Not customizable

When it comes to garden beds, use an eco-friendly material or risk damaging your plants. Galvanized raised beds provide a good solution, and this galvanized steel and metal garden bed fits the bill. Available in two rectangular sizes (8 feet by 4 feet or 6 feet by 3 feet), this rust-resistant, durable pick will protect your plants without poisoning your crop with chemicals.

Best small: Raised Metal Garden Planter Box




  • Material: Steel
  • Dimensions: 24 inches (2 feet) L x18 inches H x11 inches W or 40 inches L x 32 inches H x 11 inches W
  • Colors: Gray


  • Made of sleek steel
  • Ideal for small spaces
  • Lightweight and easy to assemble


  • Small capacity
  • Can’t grow plants with deep roots

If you’re in the market for metal raised garden beds, this galvanized, rust-resistant steel puts this planter box on par with our previous choice of raised metal garden bed, but with a twist: it’s tiny enough to fit in a limited space. With a built-in drainage system and weather-resistant steel, this bed is one of the planter boxes that could easily become home to a thriving bunch of herbs, veggies, or flowers.

Best large: Outdoor Living Today Raised 8×12 Foot Garden Bed

Outdoor Living Today



  • Material: Cedar wood
  • Dimensions: 141 inches L x 92 inches W x 67 inches H
  • Colors: Brown


  • Provides growing space for tall plants
  • Self-contained unit
  • Has fence to keep critters out


  • Involved assembly process
  • Expensive

If you’re looking to grow a bountiful harvest for a family, Outdoor Living Today’s Raised 8×12 Foot Garden Bed can help. At 141-inches long by 92-inches wide by 67-inches high, this wooden structure is a self-contained mini farm with large planter boxes, a walkway, and a door that latches. It’s made of rot-resistant cedar wood, and its height provides the space for you to grow large plants such as tomatoes and beans while also keeping dogs and other small animals out. This raised bed set also comes with a fence to keep critters out. That said, you should consider that assembly is estimated to take four to six hours.

Best tiered: YAHEETECH Three-tier Raised Garden Bed




  • Material: Fir
  • Dimensions: 47.2 inches L x 47.2 inches W x 22 inches H
  • Colors: Unfinished


  • Provides three levels of growing space
  • Saves space
  • Unit can also be assembled into three separate beds


  • Not weatherproof

Ready to launch your micro-farm? Connect each garden bed tier using the built-in plugs, and you’re ready. Added bonus: Each bed is made of 100-percent fir planks, ensuring its durability and quality. The tiered structure allows you to grow different types of plants that might not thrive next to each other. And while you can stack the beds for a tiered setup, you can also easily separate them and have three stand-alone beds instead. If you’re interested in hydroponics, you may want to also consider one of the best indoor herb gardens.

Best with self-watering system: Keter Urban Bloomer 12.7 Gallon Raised Garden Bed

Keter Urban Bloomer



  • Material: Resin
  • Dimensions: 32 inches L x 14 inches W x 30 inches H
  • Colors: Dark gray


  • Provides self-watering system
  • Sleek, display-worthy design
  • Good capacity for a unit this size


  • Not made of sustainable materials
  • Not designed for large yield

If you’re in the market for a sleeker look for your garden that you can maintain even when you’re out of town, consider the Keter Urban Bloomer. This raised garden bed looks modern and works both indoors and out on a balcony. 

The main selling point of this unit is its self-watering system. The unit comes equipped with seedling trays to get your seeds started. The watering system is smart, ensuring plants don’t get drenched (which encourages root rot). There’s also an easy-to-read water gauge that displays in red or green whether you should water or not and a manual drainage cap that lets you release excess water. 

While the resin material isn’t sustainable, the unit is ergonomically designed for easy planting. With a capacity of 12 cubic feet of soil, this raised bed won’t necessarily provide you with a big harvest, but the depth will allow you to grow some taller plants. This unit is also easy to assemble and great for small apartment dwellers getting started with gardening.

Best budget: Apipi Two-pack Raised Garden Planter Fabric Bed




  • Material: Polypropylene (plastic)
  • Dimensions: 11.8 inches L x 11.8 inches W x 9.8 inches H
  • Colors: Green


  • Affordable
  • Provides depth for taller plants
  • Lightweight


  • Doesn’t provide much shelter
  • Wide open for animals to partake

On the hunt for cheap raised garden beds? The award for most lightweight and most affordable garden bed clearly goes to this two-pack of beds from Apipi. All you need to do with this two-pack is unfold each foursome, fill each square with dirt, and start planting. It’s also got impressive depth that will allow you to grow root vegetables like carrots. Easy as pie. That said, this option is also made of plastic and isn’t sustainable. It also doesn’t provide any shelter to protect your plants and won’t ward off animals intent on nibbling your lettuce. But it’s a very affordable way to get you (or your kids) growing.

Things to consider before purchasing a raised garden bed

People have been growing food for thousands of years, so it might seem easy. But in practice, ensuring you have the right setup—including good soil, healthy seedlings, and a protective structure that gives your plants room to grow—is essential to reaping a harvest of herbs or plum tomatoes. Keeping these factors in mind will help you select the best raised bed option for your space and gardening aspirations.


Wooden garden beds are probably the most classic style you can buy, and they’ve stood the test of time for good reason: They look great, blend in with the natural environment, and you can trust that they won’t poison or otherwise damage your crops. It’s important, however, to choose the right kind of wood when building a garden bed because wood is, obviously, vulnerable to rot. While pine is one of the cheapest options available, depending on where you live, it may not last you more than a handful of years before starting to crumble. A cedar raised garden bed, then, is the best, albeit most expensive, option for a wood garden bed.

If wood is the most permanent option for raised garden beds, plastic is the most temporary. For folks renting, moving soon, or just generally indecisive about where to plant their gardens, plastic wins: It’s lightweight, easy to move around, and super affordable, especially compared to wood.

Plastic has its downsides, of course. It won’t keep its shape as well as wood and might bend or snap under pressure. But it’s cheap to replace broken boxes, and if you have hesitations about where or when to move your garden beds, plastic may be the right material for your elevated garden bed.

Metal garden boxes are by far the most durable: Galvanized raised beds are nearly unbreakable, unlike plastic, and they won’t rot, unlike wood. It’s not a flawless material, though; metal can obviously rust, and it’s both heavy and fairly expensive. That said, if you live in a place that requires extra protection from the elements or prefer an extra-sturdy material, metal is a great option for your raised garden bed.

Fabric might not be the first thing that comes to mind when hunting for a durable, long-lasting garden box. But, contrary to popular belief, certain types of fabric are plenty sturdy to protect your plants and thus serve as adequate garden beds. Obviously, you’re not going to get the years-long guarantee that you might get from some other materials, but what this option lacks in longevity, it certainly makes up for in price.

Shape and size

If you don’t have much in the way of outdoor space, building a raised garden bed is a great alternative. Garden boxes come in all shapes and sizes, and there’s no harm in keeping things small. Maybe you don’t have a backyard, per se, but do you have a balcony, fire escape, front porch, windowsill, or rooftop? Take a look around and search for a creative substitute space. Then, simply find a garden bed that works with what you’ve got. A little ingenuity can go a long way.

Your space

This one’s for the folks who can’t resist doing things just a little bit differently. If you have the space—and a love of smart design—consider veering off course and opting for a tiered garden bed. Unlike the classic one-level beds, these babies can house two or three times the amount of vegetables without expanding their footprint. Also, they are often easy to separate in case you want individual beds. It should come as no surprise that they cost more, but it might be worth the investment if you’re an ambitious gardener with a long veggie wish list.


While some raised garden beds can be unfolded and let you start planting within minutes, others may involve hours of assembly. Check what assembly will require, and if it’s not a task you or someone you know can take on, be prepared to figure in the extra cost of hiring a pro to help you put your raised beds together.


Q: How much does a raised garden bed cost?

The cost of a raised garden bed ranges from just over $20 for a plastic model that you can just unfold and start filling with soil up to thousands of dollars for a self-contained mini-farm with a door and walkway. Fortunately, there are many options for beginning and experienced gardeners at various price points.

Q: How deep should an elevated garden bed be?

When asking this question, the ground underneath your garden bed is the most important factor to consider. Is it soil or grass, where roots can take hold? Or is it less hospitable to growth? The former doesn’t require much more than tilling and fresh soil, but the latter likely needs around three feet of depth to give your plants enough room to grow fully. 

Q: How to choose a raised garden bed?

Choosing the right raised garden bed for you means considering several factors: for example, the environment in which you live, the money you’re willing to spend, and how many seasons you expect to use the garden box once it’s built. You might find it helpful to start by deciding which material you prefer and go from there.

Q: What is the best size for a raised vegetable bed?

There’s a simple correlation between size and harvest here: The bigger the vegetable garden, the more vegetables you can grow. Before you build your garden bed, start with your wishlist of veggies. Then, research how much space each type needs, and size your beds accordingly so that everything has plenty of room to grow. 

Final thoughts on the best raised garden beds

Nurturing new life in a vegetable garden or flower box is a true delight. Reconnect with the great outdoors, discover a newfound appreciation for food and flowers, and get your hands dirty with the best raised garden beds. You might surprise yourself—and your tastebuds, too.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.