Best Raised Garden Bed – 2021 Reviews
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Best Raised Garden Bed

Gardening is a relaxing and enjoyable hobby for many, gaining popularity over the past year, with many of us spending even more time at home. However, not all gardeners live somewhere where they can enjoy a large in-ground garden.

In this article, we look at the best-raised garden beds currently available on the market. They come with different situations, including the space limitations of apartment balconies, decorative back decks, and back yard locations where the soil isn’t ideal for creating a garden. There are various raised garden beds to choose from, which can make shopping feel overwhelming. This guide highlights five raised garden beds that we believe stand out for their durability, value, and performance.

The Backyard Boss Top Raised Garden Beds for 2021

PRODUCT FEATURES
CedarCraft Self-Watering Elevated Spruce Planter - Best Raised Garden BedCedarCraft Self-Watering Elevated Spruce Planter
  • 21” x 47” x 32”
  • Powder-Coated Aluminum and Stained Canadian Spruce
  • Large Growing Space for Vegetables, Herbs, and Plants
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Vegepod Self-Watering Container Garden Kit - Best Raised Garden BedVegepod Self-Watering Container Garden Kit
  • 39.37” x 39.37” x 12.99”
  • Iron, Plastic and Polypropylene
  • Ideal for Herbs and Vegetables
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Rhino Garden Supply Store Tiered Raised Garden Bed - Best Raised Garden BedRhino Garden Supply Store Tiered Raised Garden Bed
  • 29” x 26” x 51”
  • Heavy Duty Steel and BPA Free Polypropylene
  • Leverage Vertical Space for Flowers, Herbs, Vegetables, and Succulents
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Mr. Stacky 3 Tier Stackable Garden  - Best Raised Garden BedMr. Stacky 3 Tier Stackable Garden
  • 12” x 12” x 18”
  • Plastic
  • Ideal for Strawberries, Herbs, Peppers, Flowers, and Succulents
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FOYUEE Galvanized Raised Garden Bed  - Best Raised Garden BedFOYUEE Galvanized Raised Garden Bed
  • 8’ x 4’ x 1’
  • Galvanized Steel
  • Extra Large Growing Space for Vegetables, Herbs, Flowers, and Plants
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Why You Can Trust Us

Here at Backyard Boss, we love gardening both indoors and outdoors. Unfortunately, not all of us live in a place where we have the ideal soil and room necessary to grow the gardens of our dreams. It has led to us exploring and experimenting with a variety of gardening options, including different raised garden beds.

I’ve always loved growing vegetables and have made it a priority, regardless of where I lived. In previous homes, this has ranged from a large in-ground traditional garden while living on a farm to a tiered raised garden system on the balcony of my apartment. Through this, I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about using a raised garden bed in different situations. I combined this experience with the research of the products currently available on the market.

Best Raised Garden Bed with Cover

CedarCraft Self-Watering Elevated Spruce Planter
    Aesthetically pleasing with it’s stained Canadian Spruce construction and large enough to support the growth of most vegetable varieties, this elevated garden bed will fit nicely into any yard or porch space.

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Why We Like It: Elevated to minimize the stress on your back and knees while gardening, this raised garden bed is a great addition to any deck, balcony, or backyard space.

The planter box is made from stained Canadian spruce for a beautiful finish and held up with rustproof, powder-coated aluminum legs. Each leg includes an easy-to-move caster that can be locked securely in place when you find the ideal place for your planter. Fully assembled, it measures 21” x 47” x 56”.

Beneath the planter itself is a 6-gallon reservoir for easy maintenance of your plants, as it works to provide a self-watering irrigation system. It’ll save both time and water. On top of the planter is a greenhouse cover. It’s designed to protect your garden from pets and wildlife, as well as extend the growing season. The cover can be removed, when not required for an open planter box design.

Who Should Buy It: Both flower and vegetable gardeners that are looking for a reliable raised garden bed that will add to the décor of their outdoor space should consider the CedarCraft Self-Watering Elevated Spruce Planter.

Best Self-Watering Raised Garden Bed

Vegepod Self-Watering Container Garden Kit
    Leveraging the benefits oof both a raised garden bed and container gardening, this kit includes a self-watering garden system with a protective cover and the option to add a stand (not included) for additional height if desired.

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Why We Like It: The Vegepod Self-Watering Container Garden Kit combines benefits from both raised garden beds and container gardening. It provides gardeners with an easy-to-use and reliable solution for gardening on larger balconies, in the backyard spaces, and more. 

With 1’ of soil depth in each compartment, the planter provides enough root space for most vegetable varieties. This soil is contained, so as not to draw from the nutrients in the surrounding soil and impact neighboring plants. Wicking reservoirs in the bottom of the planter provide an easy-to-maintain self-watering solution.

The permeable mesh protective cover allows light, air, and rain in for an optimal growing environment while protecting your plants from pets and wildlife. A built-in mist spray irrigator provides a high-volume spray for additional moisture. The container garden measures 39.37” x 39.37” x 12.99”. However, if you would like to raise it further, you can purchase a stand or trolley created for this purpose.

Who Should Buy It: It’s a great product for gardeners looking for an easy to maintain, a self-watering gardening option that also protects their plants from pests and wildlife.

Best Vertical Raised Garden Bed

Rhino Garden Supply Store Tiered Raised Garden Bed
    Take advantage of the vertical space on your deck or garden with this freestanding 5-tier vertical garden bed.

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Why We Like It: Constructed from powder-coated, heavy-duty steel and food-safe, BPA-free polypropylene, this vertical garden bed allows you to grow a wide variety of different plants within the confines of only 26” x 29”. 

The steel frame has been outfitted with four easy-to-move swivel casters with ball bearings, making it easy to move your garden as needed. It allows you to take advantage of the sunniest spot on your porch or balcony or bring the garden in before a large storm.

Each planter box is pre-drilled with five drainage holes. It ensures that you have proper drainage for your plants, avoiding stagnant water and root rot. It also allows the water to cascade down from the planter box to the planter box, saving on water. Easy to set up and use, the Rhino Garden Supply Store Tiered Raised Garden Bed is a great choice to grow flowers, herbs, vegetables, succulents, and more on your porch, patio, balcony, or even in your sunroom indoors.

Who Should Buy It: If you’re looking for a raised garden bed that allows you to capitalize on vertical space while still providing the space needed for growing most vegetables, this is a great option.

Best Stackable Garden Bed

Mr. Stacky 3 Tier Stackable Garden
    This stackable planter set will take advantage of vertical space allowing you to grow more in your kitchen or patio space.

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Why We Like It: By taking advantage of the vertical space in your kitchen or on your porch, the Mr. Stacky 3 Tier Stackable Garden allows you to grow more without worrying about space limitations. 

The garden kit comes with three stackable tiers. However, it can be extended by adding additional tiers to the garden. It’s a durable plastic garden planter made in the USA, available in grey, hunter green, or terracotta to fit any décor.

The stacked design makes it easier to care for your plants. Simply water the top tier, and the planter will allow the water to make its way down through the remaining tiers. The tier size makes it an ideal option for strawberries, herbs, peppers, flowers, and succulents. The smaller size also allows you to garden year-round by bringing your planter safely inside.

Who Should Buy It: The Mr. Stacky 3 Tier Stackable Garden is a great option for those living with limited space, such as apartments or condominiums.

Best Raised Garden Bed for Large Gardens

FOYUEE Galvanized Raised Garden Bed
    A durable, extra-large garden bed, it offers a lot of room for our vegetables, herbs, and flowers while the bottomless design provides optimal drainage.

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Why We Like It: Made from durable and stable galvanized metal with a strengthening crossbar and eco-friendly, anti-rust coating, the FOYUEE Galvanized Raised Garden Bed is designed for long-term use. 

The open-bottom design of the garden bed allows for good drainage while keeping your plants free from weeds and a variety of pests. The eco-friendly coating protects the environment by avoiding soil contamination. It also protects your family by providing you with healthy, safe vegetables.

There is some minimal setup required when you receive the garden bed. However, many customers describe it as being surprisingly easy, only requiring approximately 5 minutes. There are three different sizes of garden available, all of which are 1’ in height. The two smaller options measure 3’ wide with the option of either 5’ length or 6’ length, while the largest option measures 8’ x 4’. Use as a standalone planter or combine with multiple to create a more elaborate garden set up if space permits.

Who Should Buy It: Gardeners that are looking for a raised garden bed that will provide them with as much space as possible while still offering the benefits of a raised garden bed should consider the FOYUEE Galvanized Raised Garden Bed.

Benefits of Using a Raised Garden Bed

While some gardeners prefer a raised garden bed solely for aesthetic reasons, there are many functional benefits of using these options. After better understanding why so many gardeners are making the change, you might want to try it out too.

No Soil Compaction

a tiered garden planter, fully planted, sitting on a gravel surface by a wooden privacy fence
Image credits: Rhino Garden Supply on Amazon

Over time, the soil in your yard will become compacted as the air pockets within your soil collapse. Picture dumping a pile of fresh soil and then pushing it down with your hand. The volume of the soil appears to decrease from the pressure, but it remains the same. The difference is the loss of air pockets between the components of the soil. When looking at the ground that you’re planning to garden, this can occur from foot traffic, vehicles, setting up outdoor furniture on top of the space, and more. It can also happen due to certain soil types, such as those that are clay-heavy, over time.

When you’re gardening, using overly compacted soil can hinder the growth of your plants. Without the air pockets, it’s difficult for the roots of your plants to grow and extend into the soil properly. Fewer roots mean that your garden is unable to absorb as many nutrients, resulting in poor growth.

When using a raised garden bed, you’re building on top of the existing soil instead of gardening into it. This means that the compaction of the soil is no longer a factor, as you’ll be filling your raised garden bed with high-quality, fresh soil. You are also less likely to deal with issues of compaction between growing seasons because it’s raised and protected. Not only will this encourage better plant growth in your garden, but it also helps to minimize work by reducing the need for tilling to break up compaction.

Alleviates Soil Concerns Including Drainage and pH Balance

Many gardeners live somewhere where the soil is less than ideal for their gardening efforts. If the soil in your yard is overly sandy, it can lead to poor water retention, making it harder to keep up with your garden’s water needs. However, if clay soils retain too much water, it can lead to root rot. Additionally, there are some concerns regarding the pH balance of the soil and other vital nutrients.

You can purchase and use a soil test kit to better understand the levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in your soil. If these levels aren’t in check, it can lead to poor plant growth, failure of your plants to mature, and the inability for your plants to absorb and use energy effectively. By using a raised garden bed, you’re choosing and adding the soil that your plants will be growing in. You can control the soil fully by buying balanced soil that will optimize the growth of your plants.

More Growing Space

Some styles of raised garden beds can increase your overall growing space available when dealing with limitations, such as porches, decks, balconies, or smaller yards. These garden beds make use of the vertical space that you have, using a stacked or tiered design. The result is better surface space for you to grow more flowers, vegetables, herbs, or other plants.

Warmer Soil for An Extended Season

a metal raised garden bed installed in a grassy area and fully planted
Image credits: FOYUEE on Amazon

The temperature of your soil has a significant impact on when you can plant your vegetables and other plants. Those who plant too early when the ground is still cool will either see their seeds rot, failing to germinate, or grow at a very slow rate. In almost all situations, these plants will never catch up to those that were planted at the appropriate temperature.

The soil in a raised garden bed is contained in a smaller volume. It allows the heat from the air to have access to the top of the soil and around the sides. This causes the soil to warm up sooner than it would have if you were planting directly into the ground which extends your planting season.

Fewer Weeds to Contend With

If properly constructed, a raised garden bed can eliminate weeds from growing up through the ground and disrupting your garden. There are two main styles of garden beds, those that are installed on the surface of the ground and those that use a planter box system to contain the soil elevated above the ground. These each work in their way to cut back on the frustration that comes with weeds.

A planter box-style garden bed completely isolates the soil that you’re planting in from the soil on the ground around you. It means that you aren’t subject to the weeds that are naturally occurring in the area. While you still encounter some small weeds from the transfer of seeds, by staying on top of the removal of these weeds you can prevent them from taking root deep into the soil where you’re planting.

If you’re using a raised garden bed that is installed on the surface of the water, you’ll need to take an extra step to prevent the weeds from growing up into your garden soil. Before setting up your garden bed, install a weed barrier. If you don’t have access to a commercial weed barrier, a common DIY solution is to use a thick piece of corrugated cardboard.

Minimizes the Risk of Soil Erosion

Soil erosion is a natural process that occurs when the ground is exposed to wind, rain, or other sources of water. These factors slowly carry away the nutrient-rich topsoil, depleting the quality of the soil in your garden. While you can use barriers such as rocks and logs to protect your garden, dig shallow trenches to divert water, or relocate your garden to the flattest parts of your yard to cut back on the flow of water, there is an easier way to mitigate this risk. By buying or building a raised garden bed, you’re containing the soil within your garden space and minimizing the nutrient loss.

How We Picked

We were surprised to see just how many raised garden beds were available on the market today. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that every option is worth your hard-earned money. To narrow this list down, we looked at the durability and quality of the raised garden beds themselves, the different functions, and benefits that they provided, and the ease of use in a wide variety of situations.

This involved researching and comparing the various products, assessing our personal experiences, and how they apply to the products that we were considering. We also looked at various reviews that have been left by other customers who have purchased these options. All of this combined provided us with a clear picture of which products were performing well and helped us to choose 5 top choices.

Choosing the Best Raised Garden Bed for Your Yard

To choose the best-raised garden bed, you must first take note of the space that you’re working with. While some garden beds are designed to make the most of limited space, others require a larger footprint for installation. Another factor for consideration is the type of plants that you plan on growing. Herbs, succulents, and smaller flowers can grow in a much smaller space than many of the larger vegetables. Be sure that your raised garden bed can support the plants that you’re planning to grow in it.

There is no single raised garden bed that will be perfect for every situation. However, of the options that we shared, we feel that the CedarCraft Self-Watering Elevated Spruce Planter stood out as a garden bed that will work for a wide variety of gardeners. The size is large enough for most vegetable varieties without being too large, the greenhouse cover extends your growing season, and the style of the elevated planter will add to any décor.

 

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