The 8 Best Raised Garden Bed Materials

The 8 Best Raised Garden Bed Materials

When it comes to building a raised garden bed, the possibilities are numerous.

Raised beds can come in countless shapes, sizes, layouts, and materials. From wood, metal, stone and plastic to wine bottles, dressers, animal troughs, canoes and cardboard boxes, there is no shortage of creative ways to dream above ground gardens.

Typically, the more expensive the material used to build a loft bed, the more durable and long-lasting it will be. Still, you can find high-quality materials at a fraction of the cost by upgrading, recycling, and cleaning your building supplies.

Whether you're flipping your materials or just buying them from the store, not all loft bed materials are up to the task.

The 8 Best Raised Bed Materials

A good raised bed material should be durable, easy to use, and safe to use around people, plants, and soil. If it's easy on the eyes too, it won't hurt either.

Other things to consider before using a raised bed material include cost, availability in your area, how the material will perform in your particular climate, and whether you prefer a permanent structure or something that can be moved.


The traditional loft bed building material is wood, and for good reason. The wood forms an attractive raised bed that blends beautifully with the natural garden setting.

It's also probably the most versatile - the wood can be easily cut to size, and only the most basic building skills are required to piece it together.

There are endless design options when working with wood. Wooden loft beds can be made in any size, height and shape to suit your garden landscape. Build the classic 6'x4' rectangular planter box. Or build loft beds and keyhole beds for better accessibility. Cascading tiered frames and corner beds create beautiful focal points and keep things visually interesting.

untreated wood

Milled planks are strong and durable, usually for several years before they start to deteriorate. But they eventually rot.

Use natural rot-resistant woods, such as cedar and cypress, and seal them before construction for the longest-lasting wooden raised beds.


Wood logs, branches, and sticks provide a very rustic alternative to planks, and you can usually find them for almost no cost.

Locally harvested logs can also be one of the most environmentally friendly ways to source wood building supplies.

Wooden logs and branches can be stacked to form a frame or arranged vertically around the perimeter. Another option is to weave long, flexible branches into a wattle fence to hold your garden soil.


Masonry, such as natural stone and brick, is an excellent raised bed material that will last almost forever.

Perfect for informal and formal garden settings, masonry will create a strong and durable frame that requires little maintenance. These materials can take on a variety of shapes and forms, making them particularly suitable for curved and contoured walls that embrace winding paths.

In temperate climates, masonry raised beds can help extend the growing season. As a radiator, the stonework will absorb heat from the sun during the day and release the accumulated heat into the soil at night.

That said, masonry can be quite expensive when you need a lot. It is heavy and difficult to use.

If you want to build deep raised beds, you may need to use mortar or cement to hold them together, which makes the frame a permanent part of the hardscape.

Natural Stone

Granite, sandstone, limestone, rough, slate, slate, basalt, and pebbles are just some of the options for natural stone.

The stones were formed millions of years ago, and their composition and appearance depended on what minerals happened to be nearby at the time. For example, granite is a mixture of quartz, feldspar, and plagioclase, while limestone is mainly composed of calcite and aragonite.

Combinations of minerals can produce a spectacular array of colors and patterns. Some natural gemstones may be multi-colored, mottled or sparkling. Others have smooth, muted and earthy tones.

Stone is available in natural irregular shapes or pre-cut into blocks for easy stacking.


Bricks are usually made of clay and come in a variety of colours – from red to shades of grey, blue, yellow and cream.

Because of their consistent size, it is easy to accurately calculate the number of bricks needed to build a raised bed.

Raised beds made of brick can be stacked horizontally in an interlocking fashion or angled to create zig-zag edges.

Using recycled brick in your garden is better for the environment (and your wallet). Your local Habitat for Humanity can be an excellent source of recycled building materials like bricks.


Metal raised beds are gaining popularity among gardeners who love their sleek and modern look. And they're super durable and can last 30 years or more.

Like stone, metal is a heat sink that can extend your growing season so you can garden early in the spring and later in the fall.

In humid climates, metal raised beds are a good option, as they won't rot like wood. To prevent your loft bed from rusting, always use galvanized metal.

Even if you don't like the steely look of metal raised beds, you can paint them a fun or neutral color to help soften the look.

oil storage tank

The easiest option for a metal raised bed is a storage tank. Easy to install and requires no assembly, tanks are large troughs for feeding farm animals.

These come with rounded or rectangular edges and can be placed on the gardening spot of your choice. Just add a few drainage holes at the bottom and you're good to go.

Tanks can be a permanent feature in the garden, but are also not too difficult to move. This provides more flexibility when your design ideas change with the seasons.

corrugated metal

Using some corrugated sheet metal, metal flash, deck screws, and wood (optional), you can build your own galvanized steel loft bed.

DIY It will have full control over the finished size, height and shape of the bed.

There are plenty of tutorials out there - here's one for setting up a metal panel inside a wood frame.


That's right, you don't necessarily need a frame to enjoy all the benefits of gardening above the soil line.

German for "mountain culture," hügelkultur involves making mounds from decaying wood, organic matter, and compost.

Once you have finished layering your material, the hill will be about 3 feet tall.

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