While there are plenty of materials to make your raised garden bed out of, they all come with their own benefits and use cases. Depending on what you’re planting in your raised garden bed, you may be looking for something that will optimize the bed for plant health, or to defend it from those pesky pests that sometimes enjoy taking a bite out of your hard work. In some cases you may not even be concerned about any of that, and you’re simply looking for a fitting material that looks great in your garden. In this article we will have a look at our picks for the best raised garden bed material.
Best material for plant health and growth
Let’s get this one out of the way first, since it’s likely the most common priority for raised garden bed enthusiasts.
When choosing a material for your raised garden bed with plant health and growth in mind, you want to pick a material that allows the soil to breathe, drain and pick up nutrients most effectively. This allows the plant to absorb the maximum amount of nutrients, while preventing the soil from becoming contaminated or stale.
While there are several materials that provide you with all of these benefits, the most commonly used and perhaps best tested material is some type of wood.
In addition to being a natural material that gives your plants plenty of opportunity to grow in a normal and organic fashion, wood also has the benefit of being incredibly versatile in the way you design your raised garden bed. It’s simple enough to craft a bed out of that most people can do this themselves without the need for any special tools, and depending on your choice of design or size, a good raised garden bed can be made in a matter of hours.
When it comes to what makes wood the best raised garden bed material, it’s important to also take a look at the different types of wood we have to choose from, as they do differ and a more expensive type of wood can sometimes be worth the investment.
As stated in our article “The best wood for raised garden beds”, we consider Redwood to be perhaps the best choice of wood due to its rot resistance as well as its long lifespan. If you are looking for something a bit cheaper, something like Douglas Fir is also a good choice even though its lifespan is somewhat shorter than that of the Redwood.
Best material for garden bed pest control
Since our precious flowers, vegetables and herbs are often a popular snack for all sorts of insects and pests, a lot of people choose to build raised garden beds as a method of prevention to deny these bothersome pests access to their plants. While a raised garden bed protects your plants significantly better than a normal bed by default, due to it being raised off the ground, there are extra measures you can take in order to minimize exposure to pests as much as possible.
The types of wood mentioned in the previous section are still very viable candidates and can be improved by closing off the bottom of the bed in order to prevent pests from the ground soil to make their way into your planter. You can also add a fine mesh that allows water to drain, while keeping pests out of the soil, below the soil itself.
Of course, you are here to see our top pick for best raised garden bed material, and in the context of pest and weed control, there is no better choice than metal. By using metal as the frame for your raised garden bed, you are able to create an impenetrable wall that will effectively keep all ground dwelling pests out of your bed as well as preventing weeds from contaminating the soil in your bed and taking over.
Creating an isolated environment for your plants can to a large extent also be done with materials such as wood and brick, but metal has the added benefit of being a more slippery surface for a lot of insects to climb on. This will prevent many insects that would otherwise make their way up the side of a wooden or brick container from ever getting into your planter and harming your valuable plants.