6 Raised Garden Bed Ideas: Build Elevated Garden Beds, Planter Boxes

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | January 5, 2024

Man watering a raised garden bed after learning types of raised garden beds to build, and how to care for raised garden beds for vegetables and flowers.

From flowers to fresh produce, a raised garden bed can be the perfect way to grow a variety of plants at your home. But if you have little to no experience with this approach, the question of why use raised garden beds can spring up.

To put it briefly, a raised bed garden can bring about several advantages such as ideal soil composition, better drainage, and fewer weeds. With that, garden boxes also help you with organizing plant management such as garden watering system for better efficiency.

Plus, depending upon the type of garden or planter box that you choose, you can also move it around your garden without harming your plants.

Interested in learning more? To help you get familiarized with elevated garden beds, here is a lowdown on 6 raised garden bed ideas, planter box options, and how to build your very own garden beds.

What Is a Raised Garden Bed?

A raised garden bed is a specially designed, bottomless box that you install on top of existing ground or soil without any digging.

Your raised garden bed is bordered by solid materials such as wood, metal, or stone. You can also fill it with your choice of soil.

Building a raised bed garden makes it easier for you to grow your own vegetables or fruits in small spaces,1 while also helping you organize the growth of different plants in large areas.

You will be happy to learn that you can choose between a variety of raised garden bed options. This allows you to make your selection from a range of wooden garden beds, steel garden beds, as well as DIY garden beds and garden bed kits.

What Are Planter Boxes or Garden Boxes?

Planter boxes are specialized planting containers that comprise a border and base typically made from wood or metal. Similar to other plant containers, these boxes hold the soil in which you grow your plant without contacting the ground underneath.

You can think of planter boxes as large containers that you can place on top of the ground in your garden. This also means that when you grow anything in planter boxes, you usually have to fulfill typical plant container requirements.2

Due to their structure, you can find planter boxes in a large variety of designs such as an elevated planter box that is a few feet above the ground or a wheeled planter box that you can move around easily.

This makes planter boxes more flexible in terms of their mobility, while also making them ideal for your fresh produce and flowers alike.

6 Raised Garden Bed Ideas: Elevated Garden Beds and Planter Boxes For Every Need

To help you choose between elevated garden beds and planter boxes, here is a quick overview of some of the most popular options.

#1. For Beginners: Cedar Wood Makes One of the Best Raised Garden Beds for a Starter Garden

If you are building your very own raised garden bed for the first time, you can start simple and go for a wooden bed.

Wooden elevated garden bed filled with soil.

(Image: Shawn Campbell11)

You may find untreated cedar to be one of the best options for building the border due to its resistance against rot and insects.4 Going for a wooden option also makes it easier for you to modify the size of the planks and build your garden bed exactly how large or how small you want it to be.

You can easily source untreated cedar lumber from a hardware store. But if you want to be more sustainable, you can get reclaimed cedar wood from online vendors or retail stores.

At the same time, you need to remember that cedar wood is expensive and can cost you a pretty penny. The actual cost depends upon the size and amount of garden beds that you build.

Wooden raised planter boxes with yellow flowers.

(Image: mazaletel12)

#2. For Small Gardens: Explore Raised Planter Boxes Options

In case you have limited space, you might want to try raised planter boxes. These boxes are built as containers, but they are structured to “float” a few feet above the ground with tall wooden or metal legs on either side.

Sometimes, you can also build these raised planter boxes above your existing garden beds or planter boxes.

Besides giving your backyard vegetable garden, fruit plants, or flower cultivars a structured look, these raised planter boxes can also help you grow more plants within a small space. You can also find these raised planter boxes in a range of materials, colors, and designs to suit the overall theme of your garden.

If you are good with DIY projects, you can also build this elevated planter box on your own. This adds more flexibility to your gardening projects, while also making them more fun to take on.

#3. For Large Yards: Install a Bigger Raised Garden Bed Kit

If you have a large gardening space in your backyard, you can choose between bigger raised garden bed kit options.

You may also be happy to learn that you can find these kits in precut or prefabricated varieties, with much larger and taller sizes than traditional garden beds. In case you want to grow plants with bigger roots, you can find that the depth of these raised garden bed kits is more than enough for them.

But here’s the kicker: A raised garden bed kit can be more expensive than regular garden beds.

With that being said, they give you a wider range of options for materials. These include but are not limited to wood pallets, steel sheets, cinder blocks, and even composite lumber.

You can also enjoy a larger color palette to put together your ideal landscape gardening setup.

A raised bed vegetable garden with different plants on bathe in sunlight.

(Image: Acabashi13)

#4. For Fresh Produce: Turn to a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden Options

While learning how to do bucket gardening can help you take care of many plants,5 growing fresh produce in your backyard calls for more specific container gardening practices.

With specialized raised bed vegetable garden and fruit garden ideas, you can give these gifts of nature the ideal environment to thrive under your care. Similar to a raised garden bed kit, these garden beds are also deeper and wider than many other types of options.

Since plants with deep roots typically need somewhere between 24-36 inches of soil,6 these purpose-built garden beds can easily fulfill these requirements for you. But if you are growing vegetable or fruit plants with comparatively smaller roots, you can also go for smaller sizes that start from 12 inches.

You can also complement these beds with some vertical gardening structures to grow plants on posts, walls, and fences.

#5. For Seasonal Flowers: Try Raised Flower Beds

When you are growing flowers, you often only need a basic set of gardening tools by your side. But for some plants such as roses that may need you to dig at least 18 inches at times,7 you may do well with a raised garden bed.

Depending upon your requirements, you can move forward with choosing between a variety of heights and width options. You can also select materials such as metal raised garden beds and galvanized raised beds for a more unique setup.

No matter if you use a steel garden bed or a wooden garden bed for your flowers, you can also combine them with several design and growth approaches such as vertical gardening. This gives your garden a more unique, structured, and aesthetically pleasing look that helps you set it apart from generic garden or landscaping choices.

#6. For Display Purposes: Bring Home Elevated Garden Beds On Legs

For many people, a raised garden bed is equivalent to a garden bed that stands tall on legs. This is because many planter boxes are now synonymous with garden beds for new gardeners.

But whatever you think about using the term for both bottomless and traditional planting containers, the fact remains that elevated garden beds on legs make up for a delightful picture for your garden.

Many of these elevated garden beds on legs also come with pre-built wheels at the bottom, which allows you to move them around your garden, greenhouse, or courtyard without harming the plants’ health. This is especially helpful if you want to show off your plants to your loved ones or your local community from time to time.

Additionally, this can also contribute to space management for small and cluttered gardens.

What Is the Difference Between a Raised Garden Bed and a Planter Box?

In order to understand the basic difference between raised garden beds and planter boxes, you can simply remember one thing: A raised garden bed has a border but remains open from the bottom to connect to the ground; whereas, a planter box is enclosed from the sides as well as the bottom and doesn’t connect to the ground.

With that being said, you may find that the lines between a raised garden bed and a planter box are often blurred.

Illustrations of a raised garden bed and a planter box with text and arrows pointing to which one it's indicated.

For many gardeners, both of these terms remain interchangeable, which is why you may see many elevated planter boxes on the web that are labeled as raised garden beds and vice versa. That is why, it is important that you understand this difference so you can shop according to your needs.

What Are the Benefits of a Raised Bed Garden?

There are many benefits of raised garden beds including the following perks.

No Digging Requirements

You don’t have to dig the ground or remove soil to set up a garden bed. This makes it easier to install these garden beds especially when you are starting out with gardening for beginners.

As a result, you can quickly sow a variety of plants around your garden without having to go through a demanding process.

Fewer Weeds Around Your Plants

When you cover the ground of your garden with a few inches of soil, it minimizes the growth of weeds around your plants that may otherwise spurt from the ground.

This way, you can keep unwanted weeds at bay and promote ideal growth conditions for your plants.

More Control Over the Soil

If you plant your produce or flowers directly in the ground, you sometimes have to manage issues such as soil that is too sandy or too loamy for the type of plants that you want to grow.

In contrast, setting up garden beds gives you more control over the soil that you put on top of the ground.

Better Drainage Options

If you are worried about the soil of your garden being too sandy or too moist, you can find better drainage options with a raised garden bed.

This ensures that you can provide your plants with the kind of drainage that they need in order to thrive to their full potential.

Improved Organization

No matter if you want to grow your own produce or take care of stunning flowers, setting up your home garden with a raised garden bed can help you establish enhanced structure for your plants. This holds true whether you are growing your plants in a small area or a large space.

Clearly, these merits far outweigh the disadvantages of raised garden beds such as higher construction costs, especially for those who have no natural soil or have rocky ones in their yards.

What Are the Advantages of Using a Planter Box?

In addition to offering almost the same benefits as a raised garden bed, planter boxes also bring along the following rewards.

Less Use of Space

With their elevated design and contained structure, planter boxes allow you to save a significant amount of space in your garden.

You can also invest in tiered planter boxes that are stacked next to each other to grow more plants in less space. This makes them ideal for small gardens.

Add More Variety to Your Garden

When you are able to add more plants to your garden with planter boxes, you can also ensure to take care of a variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers side-by-side.

This makes it easier for you to grow a range of different plants in the existing space of your garden.

Aesthetically Pleasing Options

A raised planter is not only great in its functionality but also holds appeal in its design.

No matter if you choose stacked, elevated, or layered planter boxes, you can rest assured to breathe new life into your garden’s aesthetic. This can make your garden more visually stunning, regardless of its overall size.

Great Value

Since you can use multiple planter boxes within a small area, it allows you to get the most out of your investment in these containers. This is especially helpful if you want to determine how much you are getting in return for your efforts of starting a vegetable garden or flower garden at home.3

Enhanced Mobility

With options such as planter boxes with wheels, you can also ensure that you can move your plants around your garden without harming or slowing down their growth.

This also helps you grow plants that may need adjusted exposure to sunlight throughout the day.

After learning this information about the advantages of raised garden bed and planter boxes, you can easily compare the differences between the two and explore different ideas for setting them up in your garden.

How To Build Elevated Garden Beds: How To Build a Raised Garden Bed and Elevated Planter Box

If you want to build elevated garden beds and planter boxes all on your own, you need to possess a certain level of handiness skill. In case you are proficient with handling different materials or have sufficient experience with managing DIY projects, you would be all set on this front.

The actual process of building a raised garden bed depends upon the material and design that you are working with.

This means that you need to create a custom plan for the type of garden bed that you want to create. But when you have a general idea of the process, it does make the rest of the journey easier for you.

Typically, you need the following items for building elevated garden beds and planter boxes.


When you make this choice, you need to remember that it can range from wood to cement and everything in between.

For example, if you want to practice more sustainable gardening, you can build your elevated garden beds with repurposed wood. This is similar to using organic materials for straw bale gardening.


You need to consider exactly how much space you have to work with to build your garden bed. This lets you put together the width of your raised garden bed, while also helping you decide if you need to have elevated garden beds on legs to save some space in your garden.8

Plant Type

Similar to choosing your plants according to the gardening zones suitable for them, you also need to plant them in the type and size of soil that would be favorable for their growth. This particular factor also lets you determine the depth or height of your raised garden bed.

Inspired by Raised Garden Bed Ideas? Build Your Own Garden Bed Today!

If you want to enhance the looks and functionality of your garden, a raised garden bed can help you with that without jumping through hoops.

With different raised garden bed ideas, you can easily find design inspirations to get started with this gardening practice.

Frequently Asked Questions About Raised Garden Bed

How To Fill a Raised Garden Bed?

You can fill a raised garden bed with any type of soil that suits the type of plant you want to grow. This is similar to choosing soil for other garden planters.

How Do You Set Up Elevated Raised Garden Beds?

You can set up elevated raised garden beds by building them through kits or purchasing separate materials from a store. The size and depth of your raised garden bed depend upon factors such as your available space and plant type.

What To Put On Bottom of Raised Garden Bed?

To curb weed growth or prevent the grass underneath from affecting your plants, you can put newspaper or cardboard at the bottom of your garden bed.9

What Are the Benefits of Raised Garden Beds?

Some of the most popular benefits of raised garden beds include better space management, more control over your plant’s soil, as well as improved garden maintenance and design.

Is a Raised Garden Bed Expensive?

Your raised garden bed can add some costs to your gardening with its use of materials, but the price of a raised garden bed depends on factors such as the type of materials that you use. If you are on a tight budget and want to reduce costs, you can explore different building materials such as straw for organic gardening practices.

What Are the Disadvantages of Raised Garden Beds?

You can find common disadvantages of raised garden beds to be their higher costs, additional setup time, and careful management of deep-rooted plants.10 But when you compare them to the benefits of raised garden beds, the pros may often outweigh the cons for you.


1U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2023). Vegetable Gardening. USDA National Agricultural Library. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.nal.usda.gov/plant-production-gardening/vegetable-gardening>

2Illinois.gov. (2023). Container and Planter Requirements and Plant List. Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://dnr.illinois.gov/education/plantlists/plantlistcontainer.html>

3Leonhardt, K. (2021). Starting a Home Vegetable Garden. West Virginia Department of Agriculture. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://agriculture.wv.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Starting-a-Home-Vegetable-Garden.pdf>

4Berle, D. & Westerfield, B. (2022, December 14). Raised Bed Materials. UGA Cooperative Extension. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=C1027-5&title=raised-bed-materials>

5Lott, D. (2016). Bucket Gardening Kits! University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/lincolnmcpherson/21%20Bucket%20Garden%20Flier.pdf>

6Beaulieu, D. & Gillette, B. (2023, March 15). How Deep Should a Raised Garden Bed Be? The Spruce. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://www.thespruce.com/raised-garden-bed-depth-6834571>

7Barnard, J. (2023). Rose Care. Washington State University. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/2061/2014/01/BareRootBloom.pdf>

8Weisenhorn, J. (2023, May 25). Save space in the garden by growing up. UMN Extension. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-news/save-space-garden-growing>

9Faust, A. & Finlay, E. (2023, July 5). How to Construct a Raised Bed in the Garden. PennSate Extension. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://extension.psu.edu/how-to-construct-a-raised-bed-in-the-garden>

10Scott, D. (2015). Vegetable Garden Basics: Part 2 – Raised Beds Pros & Cons. Redeem Your Ground. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from <https://redeemyourground.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-raised-beds/a>

11Raised Garden Bed Photo by Shawn Campbell / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <https://www.flickr.com/photos/thecampbells/8860194880>

12Vegetable Garden Photo by mazaletel / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <https://www.flickr.com/photos/meg-z/4656323899>

13Raised vegetable bed at Boreham, Essex, England Photo by Acabashi / Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Raised_vegetable_bed_at_Boreham,_Essex,_England.jpg>