Types of Raised Beds
best type of beds to utilize will depend on personal taste and budget.
Building a raised bed is a small job for a contractor but if you're
handy, build your own (see photo below). Raised beds can be built
with ledges around them for sitting and seated gardeners sit sideways
to work unless using a tabletop type. Tabletop beds have room for
knee space, which might be easier on your lower back, but they're
shallower so require more frequent watering.
Ready-made plastic, cedar, and other beds are
available in large sizes in gardening catalogs and centers. A garden
center can also give you resources for landscapers and other contractors.
Many carry "how-to" guides for building raised beds and
other projects. Be sure to see the resources at the end of this
The easiest types of raised beds to build are
made with landscape ties or with two by four-inch wood planks. Other
raised beds are made from railroad ties, flagstone, bricks and mortar,
and cinder blocks. When using wood, a pressurized, chemical-free
type is usually recommended, especially if you'll be growing vegetables,
because chemicals can be toxic to them. If you line the inside panels
with plastic, that will form a barrier from the chemicals. However,
don't put plastic on the ground because it'll prevent proper drainage.
Placing landscape fabric over the plastic and bottom will keep weeds
An ideal size for a raised bed is 4 x 8 feet or
8 x 12 feet, if you're ambitious. Bed height for wheelchair users
should be between 18 and 30 inches high, depending on need and preference.
A standing gardener with difficulty bending from the waist should
build a taller bed like this one (about waist level or taller):
Filling a tall bed partway
up with crushed rock will save on soil and provides good drainage.
Non-disabled gardeners can build raised beds starting from about
10 inches tall, as long as there's ample room for soil and drainage.