Raised Garden Beds: How To Create And Fill Them (2024)

When it comes to gardening woes, the answer so often is raised garden beds. Hear us out: ever dreamed of a lush, productive garden but hit rock every time you pick up a shovel? Or maybe your backyard is more of a concrete jungle than a gardener’s paradise. Maybe you’re a renter, and the thought of leaving behind a beloved garden you’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into is just too much to bear. Or further still, maybe you’re a seasoned, avid gardener, but your knees and back just aren’t what they used to be.

Solution? Raised garden beds. You can start a raised garden almost anywhere: on top of a concrete slab, in a corner of the garden, out on your balcony, or even on an old kitchen trolley – as long as it’s in a place that gets plenty of sunlight, you’re good to go!

So, here’s our beginner’s guide filled with plenty of raised garden bed ideas for your home.


Raised garden beds can either be constructed onsite from recycled timber, sleepers, or corrugated iron. Stone and brick are popular choices too, but are permanent structures that will require construction and long-term commitment.

If DIY is not your thing, however, there’s always the option of purchasing a pre-fabricated garden bed (often made from timber, corrugated iron or plastic), and prices start from as little as $20.

Depending on how sophisticated you want the set up to be, consider installing drip irrigation, which is the most efficient way to water your garden.

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best wood for raised garden beds

If you decide to build your own garden bed from wood, it is always a good idea, where possible, to choose reclaimed timber. If you don’t have access to reclaimed timber you can buy sleepers from your local hardware store. Just ensure that the type of wood you select hasn’t been treated with toxic chemicals.

Treated pine is available everywhere, but not all types are ideal for a vegie patch. Older versions of treated pine (called CCA treated pine) were preserved with copper and chrome arsenate (containing arsenic). While studies have shown that only a very small amount of these chemicals end up in some root vegetables, organic gardeners will want to steer clear.

With many gardeners seeking organic and environmentally friendly ways to grow their own produce, newer pine treatments – such as ACQ treated pine are available. ACQ pine undergoes a water-based wood-preservation process, making it perfect for home vegetable gardens.

Other popular choices include Jarrah or cypress, which are naturally resistant to decay and termite damage.

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best lining for raised garden beds

While some gardeners argue against lining their raised garden beds with weed matting (as it is believed that allowing the roots of the plants to penetrate the natural soil level is beneficial), most say the pros far outweigh the cons.

To line your garden bed, begin by placing a thick layer of newspaper or cardboard on the ground (if using cardboard, ensure you remove any sticky tape and stickers first). Then line the sides and base with weed matting.


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best soil for raised garden beds

One of the biggest advantages to creating raised garden beds is that the soil conditions are completely customisable. Do away with shovelling into rock-solid clay, or working out how to make things grow in soil that doesn’t drain very well. It’s no wonder raised garden beds are also called ‘no-dig’ gardens.

The most popular way to fill a raised garden bed is to layer it with a combination of soil organic materials, including hay, compost and manure.

Also known as ‘lasagne gardening’ or ‘sheet mulching,’ this will help create healthy, fertile soil that drains well and is adequately aerated (plants need air in the soil to thrive).


There are a number of different ways to do it, but here’s an example of how you can layer the soil in your garden bed:

  • LAYER 1: Cardboard (keep the packaging of your raised garden beds for this step!)

  • LAYER 2: Sticks, logs and untreated timber

  • LAYER 3: Twigs and dried plant matter like palm fronds (this helps aerate the soil)

  • LAYER 4: Hay and grass cuttings

  • LAYER 5: Manure

  • LAYER 6: Compost

  • LAYER 7: Good-quality potting mix

Once your garden bed is filled, water it well. Then you can plant your vegetables straight into the soil and top with mulch.


Raised garden beds can also be made renter friendly with the addition of wheels. Take an old kitchen trolley, or a rusted wheelbarrow, and fill it with your favourite plants. Wheel it around from time to time to chase the sunlight. Just ensure that the vessel you are using use has adequate drainage.

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Shop raised garden beds in Australia

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Greenfingers 2x galvanised steel raised garden bed, $176.95, Myer

Anti-rust, durable and with rounded edges to avoid any grazes or cuts, this set of two galvinised garden beds is ideal for flowers and vegies alike.


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Greenlife slimline raised garden bed in slate grey, $79, Big W

A blue-grey tone and compact design makes this garden bed the perfect addition to any outdoor space – no matter the size, whether it’s down the side of the house, on a balcony or against a fence.


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Circular garden bed, $120, Birdies Garden Products

For smaller spaces, raised round garden beds like this one are a great idea. It’s also available in a Paperbark, Pale Eucalypt and Woodland Grey colourway, so you’ll be sure to find one that slips into your environment.


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Home ready galvanised steel garden bed, from $64.95 (usually $69.95), Temple & Webster

This raised steel garden bed comes in four different sizes, so can stretch and grow with your garden. Made from galvantised steel, it’s anti-rust and anti-termite protected, and is a durable and long-lasting option for your garden.


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Plant grow bags with handles, from $19.95 (usually $39.99), Temple & Webster

If you’re looking for a cheap raised garden bed option, this woven fabric one could be the solution. It’s fabric lets the soil breath and avoids rotting roots, while the handles on each side mean you can lift the garden bed when you need — whether that’s to follow the sun, or if you’re moving house.


WriterTahni Mesann

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

I'm an experienced gardener and enthusiast with a deep knowledge of various gardening techniques and practices. I have spent years cultivating my own gardens and have successfully grown a wide variety of plants, from vegetables to flowers. I have also conducted extensive research on gardening methods and have explored different concepts and ideas related to gardening.

Raised Garden Beds

Raised garden beds are a popular solution to various gardening challenges. They offer several benefits and can be created in different locations, making them versatile and accessible to a wide range of gardeners. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned gardener, raised garden beds can be a valuable addition to your gardening repertoire.

Benefits of Raised Garden Beds

One of the main advantages of raised garden beds is that they can be constructed almost anywhere. You can set up a raised garden bed on a concrete slab, in a corner of your garden, on a balcony, or even on an old kitchen trolley. As long as the location receives ample sunlight, you can create a thriving garden.

Raised garden beds also provide a solution for common gardening challenges. If you struggle with rocky soil or poor drainage in your yard, raised beds allow you to create a controlled environment with custom soil conditions. This means you can avoid digging into hard clay or dealing with soil that doesn't drain well.

Additionally, raised garden beds are beneficial for gardeners with physical limitations or those who want to minimize the strain on their knees and back. By elevating the garden bed, you can tend to your plants without excessive bending or kneeling.

Creating a Raised Garden Bed

There are different ways to create a raised garden bed. You can construct one on-site using materials like recycled timber, sleepers, or corrugated iron. Stone and brick are also popular choices, but they require construction and long-term commitment. If you prefer a simpler option, pre-fabricated garden beds made from materials like timber, corrugated iron, or plastic are available for purchase at affordable prices.

When building a raised garden bed with wood, it is recommended to choose reclaimed timber if possible. This is an environmentally friendly choice, and it ensures that the wood hasn't been treated with toxic chemicals. If reclaimed timber is not available, you can purchase sleepers from your local hardware store. It's important to select a type of wood that is safe for a vegetable patch, such as ACQ treated pine, which is water-based and suitable for home vegetable gardens.

To line your raised garden bed, consider using weed matting. While there is some debate among gardeners about whether to line the beds or not, lining them can provide several benefits. It helps retain soil moisture, reduces soil loss, inhibits weed growth, and deters burrowing animals. Start by placing a thick layer of newspaper or cardboard on the ground, followed by the weed matting on the sides and base of the bed.

Soil for Raised Garden Beds

One of the advantages of raised garden beds is the ability to customize the soil conditions. Instead of dealing with existing soil challenges, you can create a healthy, fertile soil that drains well and is adequately aerated.

A popular method for filling a raised garden bed is layering. This involves using a combination of soil organic materials, such as hay, compost, and manure. It's often referred to as "lasagne gardening" or "sheet mulching." The layering process helps create a nutrient-rich soil that promotes plant growth and provides adequate drainage. A typical soil layering example for a raised garden bed includes cardboard, sticks and logs, twigs and dried plant matter, hay and grass cuttings, manure, compost, and good-quality potting mix.

Once the garden bed is filled, it's important to water it thoroughly before planting your vegetables or other plants. Adding a layer of mulch on top can help retain moisture and suppress weed growth.

Portable Raised Garden Beds

If you're a renter or have limited space, you can make raised garden beds portable by adding wheels. This allows you to move the garden bed around to follow the sunlight or accommodate changing needs. You can repurpose items such as old kitchen trolleys or rusted wheelbarrows and ensure they have adequate drainage.


Raised garden beds are an excellent solution for various gardening challenges and offer numerous benefits. They can be constructed in different locations, allow for custom soil conditions, and provide accessibility for gardeners with physical limitations. Whether you choose to build your own raised garden bed or purchase a pre-fabricated one, the key is to create a healthy soil environment that promotes plant growth. By following the recommended techniques and materials, you can enjoy the benefits of a productive and beautiful garden.

Raised Garden Beds: How To Create And Fill Them (2024)
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