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Raised Garden Beds:
To Build orTo Buy, That Is The Question

January 25, 2024

Ah, the eternal gardening question that's as perplexing as trying to remember if you left the oven on: should you build a raised garden bed or just buy one? It's not just about getting your hands dirty; it's a battle of wallets, convenience, and, let's be honest, how much you enjoy weekend projects that don't involve Netflix.

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Building a Raised Garden Bed

 

Now, let's don our detective hats – mine's a snazzy little number, perfect for mystery-solving and shade during those sunny garden days. We're diving into the great raised bed debate, armed with facts, figures, and a bit of whimsy.

First up, building your own raised bed. Imagine it: You, a pile of wood, and a dream. Cedar or redwood are the A-listers here, known for their durability and uncanny ability to empty your bank account faster than you can say "organic compost." These top-tier woods could set you back about $100-$150. If you're feeling thrifty or just like living on the edge, pine is your budget-friendly buddy, although it may not survive as many seasons as your favorite gardening hat.

But wait, there's more! Tools – unless you're the type who keeps a drill next to the cereal boxes, you might need to buy or borrow them. A saw, a drill, maybe a magic wand to make everything easier. And let's not forget the screws and hardware, roughly $20. It's like a DIY adventure, complete with the potential for a unique creation or a wonky masterpiece that leans slightly to the left.

 

 


 

Buying a Raised Garden Bed

 

​Now, let's swivel over to buying a raised garden bed. Picture this: A kit arrives, and it's like adult Lego – everything's cut, possibly pre-drilled, and just waiting for you to put it together. No sawdust, no swearing at misread instructions, just a serene assembly session. These convenient kits can range from $150 to a "Are you sure that's not a typo?" $300. Sure, it might be more expensive upfront, but it's fast, convenient, and you don't have to worry about accidentally building a garden bed that looks more abstract art than functional plant home.

Comparing Costs

 

​So, which path leads to the promised land of cost-effectiveness? Drumroll, please... It's a classic "it depends." If you've got tools and a penchant for DIY, building can save some cash. But for the ease-of-life enthusiasts, buying might just be worth the extra pennies, especially if woodworking isn't in your repertoire of skills.

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Some links in this post may be affiliate links. I receive a commission every time you purchase a product through an affiliate link. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need to be a carpentry wizard to build a raised garden bed?  Absolutely not! You don’t need to be the Gandalf of woodworking to construct a raised bed. A bit of patience, basic tools, and the ability to follow instructions (or a YouTube tutorial with a catchy soundtrack) are all you really need. Think of it as adult Lego – if Lego pieces were made of cedar and didn’t hurt when you stepped on them.

  • What's the best wood to use?  Cedar and redwood are like the VIPs of garden bed lumber, offering durability and natural resistance to rot. However, they do come with a price tag that might make your wallet raise an eyebrow. Pine is the more economical understudy – not as long-lasting but certainly kinder to your bank account. Think of cedar as a fine wine, and pine as your trusty table wine.

  • How deep should my raised bed be?  Depth is key! Aim for at least 6 to 8 inches, but if you're feeling adventurous (or have plants with aspirations of deep roots), go for 12 inches. It’s like choosing a swimming pool – the deeper it is, the more fun your plants will have.

  • Do I need special tools?  You'll need the basics: a saw (for those who enjoy a bit of elbow grease), a drill (less sweat, more power), a screwdriver, and perhaps a level if you're keen on precision. If these aren’t lounging around in your garage, borrowing from a friend or renting are great options. Remember, there's no shame in asking for help – it’s like asking for directions at a garden center.

  • Can I build a raised bed on concrete?  Absolutely! Building on concrete is like hosting a garden party on your patio. Just ensure proper drainage by adding a layer of gravel or broken pottery at the bottom. Your plants dislike having 'wet feet' as much as you do!

  • How do I protect my raised bed from critters?  To keep out those cheeky nibblers, consider attaching hardware cloth to the bottom or sides of your bed. It's like setting up a VIP section at a club – exclusive entry for your plants only.

  • Is it cheaper to build or buy a raised garden bed This is the crux of our gardening saga! Building can be cheaper, especially if you already own the tools or can source materials economically. However, for convenience and time-saving, buying is king. It's like comparing homemade pie to store-bought – both have their merits, but one requires less flour on your face.

In conclusion, whether you're sawing and hammering or just piecing a kit together, the real win is your own little patch of green paradise. It's a place to grow veggies, flex your green thumb, and occasionally ponder life's big questions, like "How much did I actually spend on this?" and "Is that a weed or something I planted?"

As for me, I'll be here, trying to figure out if my plant is a vegetable or just a really enthusiastic weed. Happy gardening!

~Michele Jaillet

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