Raised Garden Bed Kits – Are They Worth it?

Welcome! In my previous post we discussed the preparation of your raised garden bed, from choosing your site to your material. Today I want to discuss whether a kit (prepared DIY raised bed) will fulfill the ideal bed you have planned. I will tell you right off the bat, that I noticed a few peculiarities with the products I want to discuss here. But they aren’t all negative! We will have a look at variety, versatility and quality.

Raised GardenBed Kits - Are They Worth It?

Variety – What are your options?

Among the suppliers, there is quite some variety. From plastic, corrugated sheets, pine, cedar through to a combination of these choices. A material that I hoped to see was stone which was absent from the majority of suppliers, which is a let down since stone’s durability far outweighs the other materials. So if you were hoping on spending a larger budget on a large project, your options are very limited. But then again, with a larger budget you might as well hire someone or plan a creative project on you own.

As far as I can tell, the suppliers cater for the entry level or cheaper options for their clients which leaves a gap for people who wish to invest in unique designs. On the topic of designs, there is limited choice, as you will mostly find the traditional square design with sizes that will only hold a small garden. A few designs for a walk-in raised are present but certainly not a large variety.

Versatility – Is it practical?

When I think about versatility, I consider the plant species you can plant as well as the scale of the project you can create in a single raised bed. Another versatile function of garden beds is to be aesthetic and socially functional (I was looking for built in benches as well as protection).

The secondary functions that raised beds can serve are not addressed in the straightforward designs that suppliers offer. They are opting for cheap, easily placed designs above the more eccentric tastes that you ought to find in a private garden. Don’t get me wrong, cheap is good, but for the creative mind to be at ease in especially gardening; there simply aren’t enough options available. Protection against pets and children squishing your seedlings is something the suppliers have considered as there are ample products out there that include raised legs and fences.


Quality – Will it last?

My first impression was that the cheaper options do not offer enough quality for your raised garden

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bed to survive many a season to come. The intermediate options do address that by making use of steel and even offering extra accessories to support progressive gardening.

There is one thing though, for my local readers in South Africa, I have noticed an extreme price range for raised garden bed kits. It is much more expensive than its US counterpart. I think, in my opinion that the trend is taking root in the US, hence why the basic designs are actively advertised. In other parts of the world, I would imagine the price would fall as the trend grows and more local suppliers offer this product.

I see a great deal of kits sold with untreated wood, which offers you as the client the option to add your own treatment of choice. This is ideal if you plan on growing vegetables as the treatment of the wood is a big no in organic produce. Be careful when buying kits with treated wood or rather opt in to use rot resistant wood. Both topics have been discussed in my previous post which you can find here.

Plastic, this the base option. I’m not a big fan of plastic, but more on that in another article. With a limited budget this option will work in the short term. I picture that a wood raised garden kit will add a rustic effect as it degrades over time; plastic on the other hand will not look the same after one season outside.

An intermediate option that would consider is corrugated sheets. They keep your budget on the cheap side with the additional sturdiness that wood would offer.

For more info on why I am not a big fan of plastic visit the Clean Seas initiative. My environmentalist side kicked in for a moment, but it is still an important topic.

Worth it?Rating for Raised Garden bed Kits

As the trend is taking root in the US, the product is definitely worth it there. The option that are available is something that grow as more people become aware of the advantages of raised garden bed kits. I would like to hear from the readers in other countries. Is this product available there? do you consider it affordable?

I know in South Africa it is currently expensive as the initial notice of the trend is taking place. With more awareness, I think the price will even out.

Overall, the traditional kits that are available is a good starting point for beginners and those who wish fulfill a practical goal in their growing season. I would even recommend combing kits to get more out of your product!

I want to play on your creative strings, because this is your garden after all! I would buy a pre-built kit and use it resources build something more creative out of it. 😛

I want you to imagine walking into your local botanical garden or park. The picturesque landscapes that they create should be an indicator on which raised bed kit will have that ideal appearance in your garden without sacrificing its practicality. No one ever said you should choose between just one of the two!


What did you think of this article? Leave a comment!

12 Comments on “Raised Garden Bed Kits – Are They Worth it?

  1. Being in Florida and having nothing but sand for soil, this seems like a great idea! Seems like I could grow year round! I was considering a garden, but that would mean putting in a lot of new soil. Thanks for the great post and ideas!

    • Thanks Matts Mom! You are bound to cultivate some beautiful flowers and maybe even some sustainable veggies for the family this way!

  2. Well they certainly seem to be popular in the US at the moment, but as a gardener in the UK, I haven’t really heard that much about them. I think this could be down to the different weather conditions in both countries – what do you think?

    I do however find it quite strange that the price is so different in South Africa compared to the US, could this be down to the amount of sun they get in African countries?

    • I honestly think that it is a new market in South Africa that the retailers are currently abusing. The prices are nonsensical and doesn’t have anything to do with the weather.

      I know for a fact that there are numerous people with the skill to create their own raised garden beds here so it is more likely to be attributed to high shipping costs or mark ups.

  3. Personally, if I am to go for a raised garden bed kit, the most important thing on my mind wouldn’t be durability. It would probably be an avenue to experiment with the concept of growing my own vegetables. For the price, it is currently being sold in the market, I would say it’s a bit still too expensive. Since they are not built with longevity in mind, a lower entry point should be fine, especially for beginners.

    • I agree with you. I think there should be more options available for practical use more than for decorative purposes. Something like recycled plastic or garden waste.

  4. I love the sound of raised garden bed kit,its quite what keeps pathway weeds from my garden soil, prevent soil compaction, provide good drainage, and serve as a barriers pests such as slugs and snails. The sides of the beds keep your valuable garden soil from eroding or washing away during heavy rains. Nice article by the way.

    • Thank you Seun! All those features you mentioned gives it a big advantage over regular beds. I recently wrote an article, and some plant species can get out of hand quickly. A raised garden bed confines these plants as well as give a good harvest of your crop.

  5. I really like the look of raised garden beds. I think it can be pretty. We recently moved into a new house and we put astroturf in the garden and didn’t leave any space for plants because I planned on doing a raised bed.

    I live in the UK and raised garden beds are around. The nice ones are pretty pricey and I’m not sure on the material I would choose. My first choice is wood, but like you say wood can rot.

    • Hello Hollie. I have been to the UK and I know how much sun you guys receive. Raised garden beds definitely boosts your odds of having an abundant produce. 

      In such a climate, I would recommend using a material that can capture heat well such as corrugated sheets; but combine it with other materials to make it look trendy.

  6. Hey Ian,

    Raised Garden Bed Kits, are one of the best option available to nature lovers.  One of the most important benefits of the raised garden bed kits is that you can grow your own organic food in your home.

    Benefits of raised garden bed kits are many like they prevent soil compaction, provide good drainage, and serve as a barrier to pests such as slugs and snails.

    I am from India, and the concept of raised garden bed kits is quite familiar here.  You also asked if it is affordable here.  I think it is quite affordable and also available in different materials besides plastic like jute bags, UV treated grow bags.

    I personally dislike using plastic, but available widely and cost-effective.

    Regards.

    • Hi Shubhangi! You have quite extensive knowledge on this. I also dislike using plastic and a natural wood would be much more to my taste but I understand that situations can arise where you would want your own produce at an affordable price.

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