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Raised Garden Beds Ideas & Designs

Gardens are an ever-evolving work in progress. As gardeners, we are regularly taking inventory of our successes and setbacks while making adjustments to try new garden bed ideas along the way.  It can be fun to try new gardening techniques and carve out new garden spaces, and an excellent place to start is with some raised garden bed ideas & designs. There are no set parameters when it comes to raised bed gardening, but planning out a thoughtfully designed raised bed can benefit gardeners in many ways. To help, we’ve pulled together some of our best-raised garden bed ideas. As you keep reading, you’ll learn:

Also, don’t forget to download our Raised Bed Gardening Guide for more raised garden bed ideas and tips to help you build your best raised bed garden.

A wooden raised bed flower garden.

6 Benefits of Raised Garden Beds

Raised garden beds are excellent long-term investments that provide gardeners with a multitude of benefits. They not only provide the ideal warm, fertile environment for root systems to thrive for better growth but they can also lessen the need for bending, weeding, and even more!

#1: Space Efficiency

Raised beds are fantastic for gardeners with limited garden space. Their ability to be built on top of undesirable growing areas with minimal effort is one of the main benefits of raised garden beds that draws people to them!

#2: Enhanced Soil

It’s easier to control the soil quality in your raised garden beds as opposed to working with your ground soil which can be more difficult to amend, which makes for an overall better environment for growing vegetables.

 #3: Maximized Harvest

One of the more popular benefits of raised garden beds that excites gardeners is their ability to grow more plants with less space. Companion planting in raised beds allows you to grow plants in the shade of other plants or even up climbing structures and spilling over the sides for a bountiful harvest.

#4: Weed Control

Every gardener knows that weeds are one of the biggest enemies to a successful yield, so it’s extremely important to keep them out of your garden to protect plants. Although raised beds are not immune to weeds, there are some simple methods to help keep them out of your raised garden bed.  One of our favorite ways starts by taking cardboard or old newspaper that you might have around the house and laying it on top of your soil in the raised bed, which works to stop weeds before they have the chance to germinate.  Next, you’ll want to add a layer of mulch to hold down the cardboard/newspaper layer and that’s it! Once you’re ready to start planting, you’ll just re-arrange the mulch to make a few holes for your seeds.

#5: Counteracts Pests

Another one of the great benefits of raised garden beds is their ability to control pests that plague garden beds. Raised garden beds are built above ground, which can ward off pests that thrive in the ground that could potentially ruin your crops. For security above, you can cover your raised beds to prevent tunneling garden critters like ground hogs from devastating your crops.

#6: Less Work

It may not come as a surprise, but gardening in raised beds typically requires less arduous work for the gardener. Especially for those elevated off the ground, raised garden beds require less bending, weeding, watering, and harvesting.

Different Materials To Incorporate In Your Raised Garden Bed Designs

Raised beds can be made from a variety of materials that can be sourced in many ways. You can use just about anything to build a raised bed, but it is paramount to use materials that have not been chemically treated if you are growing edibles. This ensures that all your crops are safe to eat! So, if you’re looking for a way to test out different raised garden bed ideas, then try building your next garden bed using one of these materials:

  • Rocks
  • Metal
  • Brick
  • Untreated Pallets
  • Wood
  • Cinderblocks

Raised Garden Bed Designs & Ideas To Bring New Lift To Your Garden!

Now you know why you love raised garden beds and what materials you want to use, so let’s get started and take it to the next level by incorporating one of these raised bed ideas into your garden! There are so many great raised garden bed ideas & designs to choose from, so we’ve pulled together a list of some of our favorite raised garden bed designs to help inspire you! Feel free to take any of the 9 raised bed ideas and select one or combine them during your planning process to make it your own.

Square Foot Garden Grids

Using one-square foot grids to section off the growing space is a great garden bed idea to try, especially if you have limited space. This is one of the more popular raised garden bed designs among seasoned gardeners since it combines raised bed gardening with the benefits of square foot gardening. Its efficient design provides you with the ability to plant vegetables, herbs, and companion plants intensively for maximum productivity.

Hoop House Raised Bed

Expand your growing season and protect your plants by incorporating a protective hoop-house into your raised garden bed structure. A hoop house is a great raised garden bed idea to try that not only helps protect plants from frost, and heat, but from destructive garden pests and critters as well.

Circular metal garden beds on wheels.

Metal Troughs

If you don’t have the time or are unsure about how to build your own raised beds, then try investing in some metal animal troughs and re-purposing them into raised garden beds. To do so, you’ll start by filling them with raised bed soil and finish by adding some drainage holes. This is one of the simpler, yet very popular and enjoy the industrial look of warm soil and instant raised garden beds.

Trellised Garden Beds

Another great raised garden bed idea to try is to incorporate vertical gardening into your raised garden beds by adding arches or trellises to your planting spaces. To take this garden bed idea to the next level, try using cattle fencing to create an archway that connects two beds together. This technique allows you the chance to grow climbing veggies and gourds to create your own magical, secret garden.

Spiral Garden

Try your hand at permaculture gardening by creating a spiral garden. When it comes to staying on trend, using spiral herb gardens as your preferred raised garden design is all the rage right now. They offer an eye-catching appeal that’s also a great space saver and allows you the ability to plant almost anything.

U- Shaped Raised Beds

Arranging your raised beds in a u-shape is excellent for accessibility and efficient use of growing space. Incorporating this raised bed idea not only creates a center pathway but provides with lots of space for growing.

Pallet Raised Beds

Short on materials? Use untreated wood pallets to build your garden beds. Since it’s common practice for pallets to be treated with heat, pesticides, or antifungal treatments for preservation and pest control reasons, you’ll want to know how your pallets were treated before constructing this raised garden bed design. If you’re wanting to build an edible garden, then we’d recommend looking for pallets that have been heat-treated to ensure that your crops are safe to eat.

Tiered Raised Beds

Challenge yourself by creating raised garden bed designs with more than one level. Tiered garden beds feature a graduated planting system where the top planting areas have deeper soil for deeper rooting vegetables. This allows the subsequent lower tiers the ability to grow lettuces and annuals with shallower root systems. This is another one of the great raised garden bed ideas to try if you have limited space since it mimics the appearance of stairs making it conveniently corner-shaped, pagoda-shaped, or in graduated boxes.

Keyhole Raised Bed

Keyhole gardens are traditionally built to be waist-high, so there is no bending required. This raised garden bed design focuses on sustainability for both plant health and easy maintenance. It features an aperture that creates added accessibility to the garden bed, with a composting trough at the center of a keyhole garden design that adds moisture and nutrients to the surrounding garden.

Kellogg Garden Organics

All Natural Potting Mix

**Product not available in AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT. For a comparable product in these states click here.

Raised beds vegetable garden.

Raised Bed Garden Tips To Keep in Mind

Now that we’ve filled your head with new and exciting raised garden bed ideas & designs, there are few key points to keep in mind before you get started. Therefore, our experts have put together this list of tips to help ensure successfully raised bed gardening!

  • Tip #1: Look for the sun
    To get started, select an area of the yard to construct your raised bed that has full sun conditions.
  • Tip #2: Check for easy access
    During your planning phase, make sure that your layout for whatever raised garden bed ideas you want to use allow easy access to your garden beds for harvesting, weeding, and pruning. As a rule of thumb, raised beds should have at least 2 feet of walking space between them and be no wider than 4 feet across. This format allows you the ability to easily reach the middle of your beds with no problem.
  • Tip #3: Prep Your Design
    Use landscaper’s paint to ‘sketch’ out the layout of your raised garden bed designs before you start building.
  • Tip #4: Go Green with your raised bed materials!
    Use upcycled materials or reclaimed wood to build your planting beds. Always make sure that you check the source of your wood to ensure that it hasn’t been chemically treated since chemicals can leach into your soil and contaminate your crops.
  • Tip #5: Avoid pressure-treated wood
    Avoid this type of wood to ensure your fruits and vegetables are not contaminated with any harmful chemicals
  • Tip #6: Make your raised beds nice and deep.
    Raised garden beds should be a minimum of 6 – 12 inches deep. This is one of the most important raised garden bed ideas to remember, since extra soil depth equals freely extending roots as your plants grow with more moisture retention to keep plants adequately hydrated.
  • Tip #7: Use Hardware for added protection
    We mentioned earlier how raised garden bed designs essentially come with built in pest control, but you can bolster your garden beds by adding a hardware cloth at the bottom of the structure for added protection against burrowing critters.
  • Tip #8: Attract pollinators
    Gardens grow best when there are plenty of pollinators around—plant with the intention to entice pollinators to and draw beneficial insects to your garden. Pollinators and predatory insects can help keep your plants producing and growing strong.

Share The Garden Love


Wooden raised bed garden.
Close up of wooden raised bed vegetable garden.

Still stuck in the planning process? Whether your garden is big or small, learn how to make the most of your space with help from one of our favorite backyard gardeners, Bridget Ayers! Check out her video, Raised Bed Garden Mistakes To Avoid, as she discusses important items to keep in mind as you’re designing and building your raised garden beds.

8 Comments

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  1. I’m confused about using any type of Metal with edibles. I would think the metal could leach bad stuff into the soil?

    • Hi Rose, when constructing or purchasing metal raised beds, we recommend using beds made out of galvanized steel from a reputable supplier. Over time, the zinc used in the galvanized steel can begin to break down due to extremely acidic soil or water. However, this process can take decades and zinc is a normal component in most soils. We completely understand your concerns and encourage you to research this material further as well as reach out to your local county extension office for more information.

    • Hi Jewels, corten steel raised beds have not been found to be harmful for vegetable gardening. It is a weathering steel so it oxides or rusts to a certain point. Rust is not harmful and since the beds oxidize to a point and then stop there shouldn’t be an issue. There shouldn’t be a lot of rust runoff but there can be some so staining could be an issue depending on where you place them. Also if you are in a humid area there have been reports that the rusting process that is supposed to stop does not, again just something to consider.

    • Hi Kimberly, A nontoxic water-based, mineral, or milk paint should be okay to use on your beds. There are also a lot of natural oils and waxes out there for sealing wood, you can also look up food-grade wood sealants to find products that are used on wooden bowls and utensils that will be okay to use in your garden.

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