When planning to build a raised garden bed, there are always several decisions you need to make about everything from its placement to the material you are going to use. In this article, we will have a look at the latter. More specifically, we will look at the best material to use for a wood garden bed, as opposed to a stone garden bed.
The importance of choosing the right material
If you’re a beginner gardener, you may be asking yourself if the choice of wood even matters in any meaningful way. The fact of the matter is that there are several factors that come into play when choosing the building material for your garden bed. Different types of wood have different lifespans which means the lifespan of your garden bed depends on the wood you choose. Certain wood types are rot-resistant and will last much longer without much maintenance. Others will eventually rot and will need to be raplaced. The type of wood you choose will also decide the cost of the construction. While rot-resistant wood means less work, they are often much more expensive. Because of this, it’s important that you strike a balance between quality and cost that works for you.
Other things to consider
In addition to the main factors mentioned above (quality and cost) there is another factor that often plays an important part in the choice of wood for garden beds. Aesthetics, the visual look of the wood, can play a huge role in your gardens overall look and feel. As with quality, visual quality in the wood often also affects the price of the material. This does, however, vary greatly from garden to garden depending on personal preference as well as the already established style used in for example garden furniture, wood fencing and other elements. With that said, let’s look at the most commonly used wood types for raised garden beds.
This type of wood is perhaps the absolute best choice when it comes to building raised garden beds. It is rot-resistant, has a lifespan of up to 20 years and looks beautiful. This does of course mean that it’s much more expensive than the alternatives.
This, naturally rot-resistant wood is a great choice for raised garden beds. It has a lifespan of 10-15 years and looks great. While not as expensive as redwood, this wood is certainly not cheap.
This is perhaps the most popular choice when building a raised garden bed. While not rot-resistant like redwood and cedar, Douglas fir is easy to work with and much more affordable than the other options. It has a lifespan of anywhere between 5 and 10 years.
There are a vast number of different types of wood to choose from. While we only mentioned a few in this article, it’s worth mentioning Hemlock and Pine as other affordable alternatives. Another great rot-resistant type of wood is Juniper. Wood that is not rot-resistant will last significantly shorter and will at some point need to be replaced. For most people, however, a lifespan of up to 10 years is long enough and considering how simple it is to make a raised garden bed, replacing it once every 10 years is not the most daunting task.
Make sure you do some research into your choice of wood and ask at your local lumber store before making a purchase. Treated wood may contain chemicals that can, over time, seep into the soil and be absorbed by your plants. This is especially important if you are growing any type of food such as vegetables in your garden bed. To be on the safe side, do thorough research and do not use wood of which you do not know the source.
To learn more about raised bed gardening, check out our introduction to the topic here.