Creating a raised garden bed doesn’t have to be expensive.
You can use a variety of materials that are cost-effective, and in some cases, free.
Here are some inexpensive raised garden bed ideas:
Wooden pallets are often available for free from businesses that receive large shipments.
They can be dismantled and reassembled into a suitable raised garden bed.
Ensure they are heat-treated (marked with ‘HT’ on the pallet) and not chemically treated.
Salvage or leftover wood from previous projects can be used to build a garden bed.
This could include old planks, wooden beams, or even pieces of an old wooden fence.
While not as inexpensive as some other options, cinder blocks are very durable.
They can also double as planters for small plants or herbs if you plant in the holes of the blocks.
If you have access to fallen trees or logs, these can be arranged to form a natural-looking raised bed.
They’ll eventually decompose, but they’ll provide a habitat for beneficial insects and add nutrients to the soil as they break down.
Large cardboard boxes can be used as temporary raised beds.
They will eventually decompose and can be turned into the soil.
Old tires can be stacked and filled with soil.
While this is a great way to recycle, be aware that tires can leach chemicals into the soil, so they may be best used for flowers or ornamentals rather than edible plants.
Galvanized Steel or Tin Roofing Sheets
Materials like galvanized steel and tin roofing sheets can be bent into rectangles or squares and screwed together to make durable raised beds.
Large, deep storage bins can be converted into raised beds by drilling drainage holes in the bottom.
Wire Mesh or Hardware Cloth with Coir or Sphagnum Moss Lining
Essentially a DIY version of a hanging basket, this can be filled with soil and used as a raised bed.
Dressers or bookshelves can be repurposed into raised beds. Ensure they’re safe to use (i.e., no lead paint), and add drainage holes.
Remember to line the bottom of your raised beds with a layer of cardboard or newspaper to prevent grass or weeds from growing up into the bed.
This layer will decompose over time and become part of the soil.
Also, pay attention to the potential for leaching harmful chemicals into some materials.
If you want to know more about raised garden beds, check out my other articles below: