You don’t need a sprawling lawn to be a gardener. Any outdoor space — be it a balcony or a small patch of grass — can be home to a raised garden bed. And while gardeners of all levels may find them useful, raised garden beds are particularly good for beginners. They allow you to control factors like garden size and soil conditions, making it feel like “gardening with training wheels,” says Carmen DeVito, founder of garden and landscape design company Garden Cult and a certified New York State landscape professional.
We talked to experts about the benefits raised garden beds offer and compiled some tips for how to make your garden flourish in one. We also rounded up highly rated raised garden beds across different sizes, styles and price points based on our experts’ guidance.
Types of raised garden beds
There are three types of raised garden beds: raised ground beds, supported raised beds and containerized raised beds. All three work to lift plants and their root systems above ground, and understanding the benefits of each can help you decide which is best for your space.
- Raised ground beds are flat-topped mounds of soil that are typically six to eight inches high and do not have elevated support frames. They’re the simplest above-ground gardening option since they only require soil, and they’re sometimes referred to as built-in raised beds, says Venelin Dimitrov, senior product manager for gardening company Burpee. He notes that they’re specifically useful for gardeners who have large areas for planting but do not want the added expense of building support frames.
- Supported raised beds consist of a mound of soil surrounded by a supportive edge or frame. Dimitrov said these beds are especially useful for sloped or uneven ground — you can build a flat surface on top of an uneven surface with this type of raised bed.
- Containerized raised beds are what most people typically think of when they talk about raised garden beds, according to our experts. DeVito says they’re essentially large planters or pots. Containerized raised beds have taller sides and a base, and they can be used on lawns, walkways, decks, patios, driveways and porches. Dimitrov says you should be sure wherever you put the raised bed can tolerate its weight and the moisture it may give off. He notes that you may need to use more soil to fill a containerized raised bed, but they’re versatile and work well in high-traffic areas.
How we picked the best raised garden beds
While shopping for raised garden beds, experts say to think about the following factors:
- Type of bed: Raised ground beds are flat-topped mounds of soil that are six to eight inches high and do not have elevated support frames. Supported raised beds consist of a mound of soil surrounded by a supportive edge or frame whereas containerized raised beds are essentially large planters or pots that have taller sides and a base.
- Size: Survey your outdoor space and think about how much of it you want to dedicate to a raised garden bed, as well as where you want to position it.
- Material: Metal and plastic beds are usually longer lasting than wood beds, and fabric beds are an affordable option some people prefer.
- Drainage holes: Drainage holes allow excess water to be released from the bed, helping prevent plant roots from rotting or developing fungus and bacteria.
The best raised garden beds to shop in 2024
To recommend the following raised garden beds, we used our experts’ guidance and rounded up highly rated supported and containerized options. We included raised garden beds across various styles, sizes and price points to help you find one that best fits your outdoor space. All of the wood options we recommend are warp-resistant, according to the brands’ description. In line with experts’ advice, all of the containerized raised beds we recommend have drainage holes.
Containerized raised beds
This raised garden bed comes with a liner that separates the wood from the soil, preserving the structure’s condition over time, according to the brand. Best Choice Products also makes a similar raised garden bed on wheels if you’re looking for portability.
Material: Wood | Size: 34x18x30 inches, 48x24x30 inches or 72x23x30 inches | Rating: 4.5-star average rating from over 9,400 reviews on Amazon | Color: Natural, Acorn Brown or Gray
Jumbl’s raised garden bed comes with all the parts and hardware you need to assemble it, as well as liner for your plants. It also comes with easy to follow, step-by-step instructions for a painless assembly process, according to the brand.
Material: Cedar wood | Size: 34x18x30 inches, 49x23x30 inches, 49x34x30 inches or 72x23x30 inches | Rating: 4.4-star average rating from over 2,300 reviews on Amazon | Color: Cedar
Vertical gardening allows you to plant upwards instead of outwards, making it suitable for narrow spaces. This vertical raised garden bed comes with five containers on five different levels, and you can remove the containers from the frame when you want to add or tend to plants. The planter sits on wheels, allowing you to move it around your space. You can also lock the wheels once you’re happy with the bed’s positioning. The bed comes with digging claw gloves, a trowel and pruning shears.
Material: Alloy steel frame and plastic containers | Size: 26x28x53 inches | Rating: 4.6-star average rating from over 230 reviews on Amazon | Color: Brown or Green
This raised garden bed is a highly portable option that equips two wheels and a handle to roll it like a wheelbarrow when needed. The bed has a shelf on the bottom and hooks on the side to store your gardening tools and other items, according to the brand.
Material: Galvanized steel with an anti-rust coating | Size: 40.6x15.6x31.6 inches | Rating: 4.6-star average rating from over 5,800 reviews on Amazon | Color: Black
Giantex’s raised garden bed adds a pop of color to your deck or yard. It has a large interior space, and comes with all the hardware you need for assembly, the brand says.
Material: Steel | Size: 25x13x18 inches, 25x13x31.5 inches or 40x13x31.5 inches | Rating: 4.3-star average rating from over 550 reviews on Amazon | Color: Farmhouse Green
The planter box of this raised garden bed has divided sections so you can separate different types of plants. It has a storage shelf on the bottom, plus comes with a seed sprouting tray. The raised garden bed is also designed with a built-in watering system that includes a water reservoir, which the brand says helps keep soil moist. Its water gauge indicates how much water is in the reservoir, and a drainage tap removes excess water when needed, according to the brand.
Material: Resin | Size: 32.3x14.7x30.7 inches | Rating: 4.5-star average rating from over 2,670 reviews on Amazon | Color: Dark Grey
Each of these planters comes with three compartments for a total of six grids for you to organize and grow your plants and flowers in. The planters must be fully filled with soil though, to prevent any collapse.
Material: Polyethylene (plastic) | Size: 15.7x35.4x11.6 inches | Rating: 4.3-star average rating from over 240 reviews on Amazon | Color: Green
This elevated planter is rust-resistant, with vents on the side and base to allow roots to grow without fear of overwatering. It’s also made to be durable in all weather conditions, including frost and rain, and can be used for all types of plants, according to the brand
Material: Steel | Size: 28.25x49.5x321.5inches | Rating: 4.8-star average rating from 198 reviews on Wayfair | Color: Brown
Supported raised beds
Land Guard’s raised garden bed is made of heavy duty metal and oval shaped, differentiating it from the square or rectangular shaped beds you typically see. NBC Select SEO editor Nikki Brown has two of these in her yard, and says they’re llightweight and easy to assemble. “I’ve had these beds through two growing seasons (so far) and they’re holding up beautifully. Plus, in my experience, the thin edges are super ideal for attaching netting when I want to keep squirrels and other small animals away from my crops,” she adds.
Material: Metal | Size: 4x2x1 ft., 6x3x1 ft. or 8x4x1 ft. | Rating: 4.5-star average rating from over 7,050 reviews on Amazon | Color: Silver, Grey, Green, Brown or Blue
This bed provides you with enough space to plant a large garden. The brand says it’s built with crossbars that have an anti-rust coating to stand up to the elements season after season.
Material: Galvanized metal | Size: 8x4x1 feet | Rating: 4.6-star average rating from over 6,100 reviews on Amazon | Color: Silver
This modular bed can be built in six different ways depending on your gardening needs, according to the brand. Its height (17 inches) is optimized for root growth and health, and it’s made from 100% recyclable, food-safe, anti-rust metal.
Material: Metal | Size: 3.5 x 5 feet, 2x6.5 feet, 3.5x3.5 feet, 2x5 feet, 2x3.5 feet, 2x2 feet | Rating: 4.9-star average rating from over 3,250 reviews on Vego | Color: Pearl White, Olive Green, Modern Gray, British Green, Sky Blue, Terra Cotta or Sunlit Oak
Greenes Fence’s garden beds come in over a dozen different shapes and sizes — you can choose the one that best fits your property. All beds can be assembled without tools as their walls slide into posts to create the frame. Beds can also be stacked on top of each other to add height, or arranged next to one another to create longer and wider areas to garden in.
Material: Pine wood | Size: Over a dozen options, depends on shape you choose | Rating: 4.3-star average rating from over 800 reviews on Amazon | Color: Light Brown and Spruce
This bed can be assembled without tools, the brand says. It comes with two pairs of gardening gloves and gardening tags.
Material: Galvanized steel | Size: Six sizes available, smallest being 68x36x12 inches and largest being 101x36x24 inches | Rating: 4.4-star average rating from over 2,500 reviews on Amazon | Color: Dark Grey, Green or Ivory
You can stack the boxes of this garden bed to create a three-tier structure, or use each box individually on the ground. The bed comes with all the hardware needed for assembly.
Material: Fir wood | Size: 47x47x22 inches | Rating: 4.6-star average rating from over 1,500 reviews on Amazon | Color: Natural wood
How to shop for raised garden beds
Experts recommend starting with deciding on the type of raised garden bed that works best for you, and to also consider factors like material and drainage holes when selecting your garden bed.
DeVito says raised garden beds are usually constructed from wood, metal or plastic — metal and plastic beds usually last longer compared to wood, which may rot over time. Some people may prefer wood, though, and if you plan to make your garden permanent or live in an area where you can garden year round, she suggests investing in a pressure-treated or rot-resistant wood bed, looking for types such as Ipe or Cedar.
Some companies also sell raised garden beds made from fabric, which DeVito says are a more affordable option. If opting for fabric, she recommended using smaller sized beds, which are easy to move. Fabric raised garden beds should be put on top of gravel, soil or stone — DeVito says they would make a deck too wet.
Drainage holes and liners
While researching raised garden beds, we saw many options that are built with drainage holes or come with liners. Like indoor pots, outdoor planters such as containerized raised garden beds need drainage holes to allow extra water to drain out the bottom. This ensures that water does not gather at the base of the planter, which can cause plant roots to rot or fungus and bacteria to build up. DeVito says a lack of drainage puts plants at risk of staying wet for a long period of time — and too much water is just as harmful to plants as too little.
DeVito says she typically does not suggest using liners unless there’s a reason for it, which can range from soil contamination and tree roots to aggressive weeds on the surface you plan on housing your raised garden bed on top of. Liners can also come in handy if you’re putting a raised garden bed on a wood, stone or concrete surface — DeVito says this can help protect the surface from staining.
Meet our experts
At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.
- Carmen DeVito is the founder of garden and landscape design company Garden Cult and a certified New York State landscape professional.
- Venelin Dimitrov is a senior product manager for gardening company Burpee.
Why trust NBC Select?
Zoe Malin has been covering indoor and outdoor gardening products for over a year at Select and has published guides about gardening tools, indoor planters, raised gardening beds and more. Ashley Morris is an NBC Select associate SEO reporter covering wellness, home and kitchen and more. For this piece, Zoe interviewed two gardening experts and researched dozens of raised garden beds on the market. We included raised garden beds that are highly rated and meet expert shopping guidance.