Whether you have a sprawling backyard or a terrace, the best raised garden beds will help you grow a rich vegetable or flower patch by providing your plants with the right conditions they need to thrive. You'll find a lot of variety in material, size, and style when looking at big planters, and depending on where and what you're planting, some will be a better fit than others.
The first thing you'll want to do is to settle on which material will be best for you:
- Wood: Planters made from wood have a natural look and feel that's harmonious with nature, but they're also prone to rot and weathering over time so the type of wood you choose matters. Cedar is naturally rot- and insect-resistant, giving you 10-15 years of use though it's also more expensive. Fir wood is a popular alternative to cedar, and will still look, and function well for five to seven years of use.
- Plastic: Durable and weather-resistant plastic and resin garden boxes can look new throughout their lifetime, which is typically longer than wood. Apart from the ecological footprint, the drawback with plastic containers is that they are often more pliable and can bend (though not break) under the weight of soil.
- Metal: Metal garden beds have a polished, modern appearance, but you'll want to look for one that's galvanized and/or labeled as rust-resistant in order to ensure it stays pristine for as long as possible. There's also a risk they can trap some heat, which can be an advantage in mild climates, but if you live in one that leans hotter you'll want to consider placement and watering needs.
- Fabric: The most breathable of the lot, garden beds made from high-quality, porous fabric will support your plant's oxygen supply and aerate the soil. Though they're often the most affordable, they're not as aesthetically pleasing as other types of garden beds.
You should also consider the overall construction of your container. Many raised garden beds do not have a bottom and should sit directly on the ground, so they can release and take up water more easily. For patios and terraces, models with legs are much more suitable because they have bottoms with drainage holes and even water reservoirs that will keep your plants happy without making a mess.
Wherever you plan to root your garden, check the bed's exterior dimensions against your space to make sure it will fit. Then, take note of the depth— you'll want at least 6 inches for most herbs, while many root vegetables could benefit from a generous 12-24 inches.
Ahead, eight of the best raised garden beds that will go far in helping you succeed in growing herbs, veggies, and flowers right at home.
1. This Easy-To-Assemble Cedar Box
Exterior dimensions: 48 x 24 x 10.5 inches (length x width x height)
The cedar planks of this raised garden bed slide and lock into corner posts, without the need for hammering in nails, making assembly a breeze. The four-way posts have additional ridges, which means you can connect other gardening beds from the brand, and configure them in the way that best fits your space. You will need a Philips screwdriver to secure decorative tops (screws included). An additional aspect some gardeners will love is that the cedar is untreated and chemical-free, making it an especially good choice for an edible garden. The square box does not have a liner or any planks on the bottom, so this garden bed should be installed directly on the ground, where plant roots will get plenty of drainage and aeration.
One gardener's take: "I have now bought two of these kits. I bought the first last year. And I love them. It was surprisingly easy to fit everything together. I think each time, it took less than a half an hour to build the boxes, fill them with soil and plant my seedlings... Aside from digging up my plants at the end of the season last year, I did nothing to preserve the wood. And yet, it held up remarkably well through all sorts of weather and is doing fine on its second go-round this year."
2. Or, This Free-Standing Option That's Perfect For Patios
Exterior dimensions: 48.5 x 24.5 x 30 inches (length x width x height)
If you love the look and durability of cedar, but don't have a huge outdoor space, this elevated cedar garden bed can still provide a generous harvest, without taking up a ton of room. The box itself is 7.1 inches deep, just big enough for herbs, tomatoes, and other veggies with smaller root systems. Drainage holes in the bottom will help prevent rot and helps plants recover from overwatering or a downpour. The cedar garden bed also comes with a liner that separates the wood from the soil, keeping the planter in excellent condition, minimizing soil loss after watering, and preventing weeds and pests from making their way in. Like with the previous pick, assembly is easy and the slats slide into place, though you'll need a screwdriver to drive in the provided screws for stability. The compact planter is a hit with Amazon shoppers, who gave it more than 1,300 five-star ratings.
One gardener's take: "I've got a nice herb garden going in this on my patio now. Assembly was easy, requiring only a bit of hammering to get things to fit together. It comes with a lining to keep the dirt in, and I've had no drainage issues. They've been outside in the most miserable spring in my state's history and show no sign of being worse for the weather. And I've filled it completely with soil and the weight is no issue at all. Checks all the boxes for me."
3. A Sleek Metal Garden Bed At A Great Price
Exterior dimensions: 47 x 35.25 x 11 inches (length x width x height)
You can grow a ton of flowers or greens in this metal planter, at a very reasonable price. The planter is made from powder-coated steel plates that have a rust-resistant finish and can be assembled in no time using the hardware and wingnut tool included (though you might want a buddy to help you put it together even faster). There is no bottom or liner, so it's best used in the garden or on a lawn. The dark gray planter is also available in a larger size that's 72 inches long and an inch deeper.
One gardener's take: "We purchased 3 of these raised beds in order to make a new strawberry patch. My husband had no problem assembling them. They look great, and remain sturdy and don't bulge after being filled with soil. We are very pleased. Can almost taste the strawberries."
4. An Affordable Fabric Garden Bed With Great Aeration
Exterior dimensions: 50 x 12 inches (diameter x height)
Made from porous, non-woven fabric, this pop-up garden bed is surprisingly durable and affordable, with many reviewers mentioning that theirs still looks brand new even after years of use. The fabric's unique design warms up in a flash in colder temperatures, protecting fragile roots, and releases excess heat during the summer, preventing plants from drying up. The woven material also provides drainage and creates aeration, allowing roots and beneficial bacteria to breathe. In fact, many gardeners found their plants grew stronger in this planter than in others, with one satisfied shopper writing, "I have never in 25 years of gardening grown such happy plants." In addition to black, the planter is also available in purple. The garden beds are also available in two smaller sizes. It will drain easily, but given that there's no fabric bottom, this pick may not be the best for apartment terraces where it will likely make a mess.
One gardener's take: "This thing is amazing! I wish my patio had enough room for another one. Very durable fabric, drains well and doesn't heat up the roots. I'm going to order some smaller sized Smart Pots to go with this big boy! It's deep enough I could add my small trellis without it tipping over. Make sure you know where you want it before you fill it with soil because it's very heavy."
5. An Elevated Plastic Garden Box With A Fool-Proof Watering System
Exterior dimensions: 32.3 x 14.7 x 30.7 inches (length x width x height)
The watering system in this elevated garden bed includes a reservoir tray that collects water so plants don't sit in liquid, causing root rot. The reservoir can be emptied out with a tap if it gets too full and the planter has a water gauge that lets you know when plants are thirsty. The stand is made out of durable resin and has a weatherproof charcoal gray finish that looks more expensive than it is. As one reviewer wrote, "I was expecting something with a bit more plastic-y look and feel and that is not the case." The planter is 12 inches deep, so you can grow almost anything with confidence, and it comes with a seed-starting tray to help you grow your garden from scratch. It also comes with two removable dividers to help you with spacing when you're first planting. Assembly requires no tools and is remarkably easy, according to reviewers.
One gardener's take: "I have two of these planters on my small patio off the kitchen. They are super easy to assemble (<5 min each) and the watering feature makes it nearly fool-proof for even the most novice gardener...I am now growing MOUNDS of sage, mint, and oregano, and my tomato plants are absolutely humongous--so much so that I've had to stake them. Would recommend these to anyone who is new to gardening or just wants an easy way to grow lots of herbs."
6. This Multi-Tier Raised Vegetable Garden For A Diverse Harvest
Exterior dimensions: 47.24 x 47.24 x 22.05 inches (length x width x height)
Top planter dimensions: 47.2 x 17.3 x 8 inches (length x width x height)
Middle planter dimensions: 47.2 x 33.9 x 8 inches (length x width x height)
Bottom planter dimensions: 47.2 x 47.2 x 8 inches (length x width x height)
The three tiers of this garden bed are made from fir wood. The three, stackable planters don't have any planks on the bottom, so in this configuration, you can use the lower tier for herbs, the middle to grow veggies like peppers, and the top for root veggies like carrots or potatoes that need more space underground. The containers can also be placed next to —rather than on top of — each other. Just keep in mind that you'll end up with three planters that are all 8 inches tall. Whichever configuration you choose, they are easy to assemble with the provided screws and your screwdriver.
One gardener's take: "Sturdy, easy to assemble and exactly what we needed to add some planting space to our roof deck. Took two adults about 20 minutes to put together, and now we’ve got room for cukes, squash, zucchini and more."
7. A Stylish Metal Cart That’s Perfect For Terrace Gardens
Exterior dimensions: 40.5 x 15.5 x 31.5 inches (length x width x height)
Another great terrace option, this modern cart is made from galvanized steel and has an anti-rust coating for protection from the elements. It's designed to be easy to move around, and in addition to two wheels has a large handle that together turn your garden into a moveable feast. The planter itself is 8 inches deep and has a drainage hole at the bottom, as well as grooves that work to channel excess water toward the drain, preventing water-logging that can lead to root rot. There's also a lower level for storage or additional small pots of flowers. All necessary hardware is included, though you'll need pliers and a screwdriver. Reviewers found the assembly process easy, especially with another person present to help keep parts level as you tighten screws. Another popular Amazon find, this cart has a 4.7-star average rating after more than 1,000 shoppers weighed in.
One gardener's take: "This planter is wonderful. It fits on my small deck nicely, and the wheels make it so that I can move the planter around if we're grilling or whatever. It is a lot sturdier than I thought it would be. ... I planted parsley, green onion, and jalapeno peppers actually and they're doing well! The shelf underneath holds my gloves, little shovel, and watering can nicely. Picking my herbs is so easy since it is at waist height. Highly recommend!"
8. A Set Of Large Plastic Beds To Make An Impressive Vegetable Patch
Exterior dimensions: 48.75 x 48.75 x 9 inches (each planter; length x width x height)
If you have the outdoor space, why not design an entire vegetable or butterfly garden using these sturdy, and affordable planters? Each one is made from high-density polyethylene plastic that's weather-resistant and UV-protected, so it won't fade. You can stack two planters on top of each other to create a two-tier display and double the depth for growing plants with strong root systems. These beds do not have bottoms or liners, so your best bet is to put them directly on the ground before filling them up with soil. You'll need a wrench for assembly, but the rest of the hardware is included. The plastic garden beds have earned a 4.7-star average with more than 1,000 customers weighing in. They're also available for sale individually, or in a two-set with a protective covering, but this three-pack is by far the best deal.
One gardener's take: "Great product. I was going to build my own raised garden using safe lumber, but when I saw these at a good price, thought I would try them out. These raised beds are VERY easy to assemble (no tools or special skills required). They are sturdy and the dirt stays in place. We left most as single-level beds, but created one double raised bed for deep-root veggies. These beds are lightweight but strong. Look great too. Highly recommended."