Building a Raised Garden Bed: Selecting The Type Of Wood

What Wood Makes The Raised Garden Bed?

Which type of wood is best for a raised garden bed? It is the question many want to answer. When considering the actual wood material for this project, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • How long do you want the raised garden to actually remain in place? Long term? Short term? Short term projects will allow to choose cheaper, untreated woods.
  • How wide and long do you plan to make it? The larger the structure, the more important it will be to choose stronger wood.
  • How organic do you wish the project to be? Choose woods that are less treated or untreated for the most organic conditions. If you want to choose untreated wood, this will dramatically limit your options as only  few types of wood are suitable for garden boxes as most others will rot quickly.

There is a range of woods on the market that can help you through this process. It is a good idea to consider several options and their benefits before making a choice. Here are a few options to keep in mind.

Using Natural Cedar Raised Garden Beds

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A favorite among gardeners is to use cedar because of its beauty and durability. Check out the benefits of cedar wood planks for your raised garden.

  • It is the highest quality wood that will resist rotting.
  • You can use aluminum cross supports to create a larger size garden bed and this will prevent the wood sides from bowing.
  • You can use lapped corners to hold the box in place. With this method, add 3/8th inch aluminum rods for added support.
  • You will find natural cedar will repel many types of pests including insects that can destroy plants.
  • You will find cedar planks in various sizes and widths. This allows you to customize the look for your needs.
  • It resists rot and moisture well, even untreated.

Farmstead Cedar Garden Beds

Farmstead material offers additional benefits as well.

What is farmstead material?

This is the term used to refer to unfinished or ungraded lumber. This sort of lumber is not always suitable for structural purposes (since it is not graded) but chances are you can find some that will be more than suitable for building a raised garden bed. Usually you can look it over before purchasing, picking and choosing the best pieces.

If you can live with a slightly lower quality of lumber, you can save big money on the manufacture of your project.

This material offers the same overall feel of cedar with less of a refined look. The benefits include:

  • It is readily available in various sizes.
  • You can easily add more of these on top of each other to add height to your raised garden bed.
  • You will find that the farmstead cedar garden beds also work to resist insects and pests, and do not rot as quickly as other types of woods.
  • You do not have to use metal in the building process. This means those metal parts will not rust.
  • For those who want an easy way to create these raised beds, farmstead is the route to go because it is relatively easy to assemble. If you decide to take it down, this material makes that process easy as well.

Other Wood  Options

If you want your raised garden bed to match your deck, you may want to build it out of the same material. Many decks are built with green pressure treated lumber (which is often spruce), which then can be stained any color you like. Pressure treated lumber is designed to withstand water and rot.

If you do not plan on having your bed for long, you can build it out of pretty much the cheapest lumber you can find. Generally this will be pine, but if left untreated it will rot quickly.

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