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Cheap Raised Bed Garden Ideas

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Need a money saving idea for a raised bed garden for your back yard, front yard, side yard, or patio? I’ve got you covered! Not all raised beds have to be expensive and elaborate.

There are so many raised bed options out there now, and here are just a few to help get you excited about starting a garden this year for less money than you thought.

cheap raised bed garden ideas
Cheap raised bed garden ideas

Why Save Money on Raised Beds

Despite what most people think about raised beds, the frame and bed itself really isn’t the most important part of the growing structure. You might be surprised to hear that the soil in the raised bed is what can make or break the success of your raised bed garden. It’s true!

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So, while having a custom made raised bed may look fantastic, the reality is, you can still grow amazing vegetables in a bed that’s a fraction of the cost. Could you upgrade a cheaper raised bed later? Absolutely.

And while the soil is the most important part, that can also get expensive, so be sure to check out my post on How to Fill a Raised Bed Cheaply to get ideas on how to fill garden beds without spending a lot.

Ready Made Garden Beds

For those who aren’t into DIY raised beds, here are some options that come ready (or almost) to go. These options are affordable and include both wood and metal options.

  • Burn Rings I purchased my burn ring (fire ring) from Tractor Supply several years ago, and it is still going strong and looking fantastic. These metal rings are over a foot deep and have no bottom, so you can literally drop and fill them without any other work involved. They are circular, which makes them great for adding an obelisk to the center for vertical growing. (When I purchased mine, it was $45… the price has increased, so be sure to look for a sale!)
fire ring raised garden bed
  • Stock Tank– Keeping in line with what you can find at a local farm supply store like Tractor Supply, watering troughs are larger than burn rings, but do require a bit of work. Since these troughs are meant to hold water, you’ll simply want to take a drill to the bottom of any water trough you purchase and make some drainage holes. We have done this for several clients with no problem.
Stock Tank raised bed at Louis Ginter Gardens in RIchmond, VA
Stock Tank raised bed at Louis Ginter Gardens in Richmond, VA
  • Galvanized Metal Bed– There are nicer options out there, but for a cheap raised bed, this galvanized bed that’s over 5 feet long on Amazon, can’t be beat. As with all metal beds that may come in pieces, be aware of sharp edges, but for less than $80, you could have a nice sized raised bed that comes together in an hour.
Galvanized metal bed with assorted plants in it
  • Grow Bag Raised Bed– I’ve mentioned grow bags in my How to Grow Potatoes at Home article, but now grow bags can be entire raised beds, and the price is pretty unbelievable. Are these going to last for years on end like the beds above? Probably not, but if you need a cheap raised bed for a few years, these may get you there, and the reviews are very good.
collage of grow bag raised bed gardens
grow bag raised bed gardens

Cheap DIY Raised Beds

If you don’t mind drilling a few screws in place, then a DIY raised bed option may be the best choice to save money. These beds can be built from a variety of materials, but the key component is that they’re simple. Here are some ideas for raised beds that you can build in a jiffy and won’t cost an arm and a leg.

  • Simple Square Raised Bed– This design is just what it sounds like, four boards screwed together and put in place. This bed has been in our garden for more than five years and is still going strong. This particular one is made of 2-in thick cedar, but we have a matching bed made from 2-inch thick treated lumber, and they are both still in great shape. So, save money by using treated lumber or go with a local hardwood that can hold up outdoors. (See the link above for the instructions.)
cedar raised bed garden in green grass
simple diy raised garden bed

DIY Self-Watering Planters- If you’ve followed The Kitchen Garten for a while, then you know that I love an Earthbox, a variety of self-watering planters that make gardening easier. Earthboxes run about $65, and if you want more than one, then it can get expensive. Thankfully, there are cheap ways to create self-watering planters at home.

Check out the tutorial for my galvanized bucket self-watering planter which is perfect for porches and patios. If you want a whole system of self-irrigated planters for cheap, then check out Brooklyn Farm Girl’s tutorial for making these out of plastic bins.

sub irrigated planter system from Brooklyn Farm Girl
sub irrigated planter system from Brooklyn Farm Girl
  • Concrete Block Raised Bed– Have concrete blocks laying around or can get some for a deal? Sunshine and Rainy days has an excellent tutorial for building raised garden beds out of cinder blocks.
Cinder block raised beds from sunshine and rainy days
Cinder block raised beds from sunshine and rainy days
  • Scrap Wood Raised Garden Beds– Chatfield Court has a great tutorial on building raised garden beds from scrap wood you may have laying around. This is such an excellent example of using what you have on hand.
scrap wood garden beds from Chatfield Court
Scrap wood garden beds from Chatfield Court

I hope you’re inspired to add a raised bed vegetable garden to your yard this year. Creating a space for gardening doesn’t have to break the bank! Use these cheap raised garden bed ideas to make your yard a food producing space!

I'd love to hear from you

Janice

Tuesday 5th of April 2022

Courtney, I took Organic Gardening magazine years ago, and remember that a comment was made in an article to not use treated lumber on vegetable gardens. The chemicals used to treat the lumber can leach into the dirt and then into the vegetables. Would you say that remains true? I used to wood in the past for my raised beds, but as I have gotten older and now have back and knee problems, I use the decorative concrete blocks (I live in a condo association). With the blocks, I can make the beds taller to keep from having to bend down so far or make them lower for taller plants. I did a lot of research before building mine on gardening for the physically impaired. So many elderly people think they cannot garden anymore if they have mobility issues due to strokes, hip or knee replacements, etc, but that is just not true. Wish more articles would be written on this subject.

Courtney

Wednesday 6th of April 2022

Hi Janice! Great question about the wood, and I discuss it in my DIY raised bed article. In former years, treated lumber was in fact considered unsafe to use for gardening purposes, but thankfully in recent years, the treatment has changed to a a copper solution (as best I can remember), and is now seen as a safe option for raised beds. I do live classes in my area, and we always talk about higher beds being wonderful for those who can no longer get on the ground to garden. In fact, we built my 88-year-old grandmother a wood raised bed that's hip height, and she is once again enjoying having a garden! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

I'd love to hear from you

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