Elevated raised bed gardening is a great way to grow! (AD)

Elevated raised bed gardening: The easiest way to grow!

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If you’re looking for an easier way to garden, elevated raised bed gardening may just be your new best friend. With this technique, you can harvest oodles of fruits and veggies, armloads of flowers, and endless bunches of herbs with minimal effort. It’s seriously easy to garden in elevated raised beds! To help us share the joys of this super-simple method of growing, we’ve teamed up with Gardener’s Supply Company, a Vermont-based, employee-owned company that manufactures beautiful raised planter boxes and lots of other tools to make gardening both fun and trouble-free.

Introduction to elevated raised bed gardening

Gardening in elevated raised beds is basically a hybrid gardening technique. It’s half container gardening and half raised bed gardening. Traditional raised beds lack a bottom and are fairly large in size, while containers have a base to contain the soil and are far smaller than a raised bed. Elevated raised bed gardening combines the best of both worlds.

With this method, the soil is completely contained and the growing area is substantially sized. Then, to put the proverbial icing on the cake, elevated raised bed gardening gives the gardener a literal leg-up by raising the planting area up to working height.

As you’re about to learn, there are multiple benefits of gardening in raised planters — and getting started is a snap!

Gardening in an elevated raised planter is a great way to grow! (AD)

This elevated raised bed from Gardener’s Supply Company is perfect for growing a wide array of plants. The height makes it super easy to maintain. Photo courtesy of Gardener’s Supply Company

The benefits of elevated raised bed gardening

The perks of gardening in elevated raised beds are many. Aside from the obvious advantage of never having to bend over or kneel to plant or pick your peppers and pansies, gardening in an elevated planter box means you’ll be able to enjoy the following:

  • No weeds (take that, bittercress!)
  • No ground-dwelling pests to nibble plant roots
  • No soil-borne fungal diseases to contend with
  • No rabbits and groundhogs munching on your lettuce
  • No need to set up a sprinkler or drip system to water
  • No issues with water-logged clay soil or fast-draining sandy soil
  • No need to leave the deck or patio to harvest
  • No back aches, creaking knees, or inflamed hip joints (goodbye, ibuprofen!)

Selecting raised planter boxes/elevated raised beds

When shopping for an elevated raised bed, here are a few traits to keep in mind.

1. First and foremost, look for a planter that has drainage and is made from materials that will last for many years. The beautiful elevated raised bed from Gardener’s Supply Company shown above and below, for example, is made from naturally rot-resistant cedar boards with sturdy, rust-proof aluminum legs. It will weather many seasons without issue, and the legs can support hundreds of pounds of soil and plant material. They even offer the planter box in different color choices.

Raised planter boxes need to be made of weather-resistant, food-safe materials. (AD)

Make sure your raised planter box is made from weather-resistant, food-safe materials. Photo courtesy of Gardener’s Supply Company

2. Make sure your raised planter box is a safe place to grow food. If you plan to plant edibles, it should be free from plastics, harmful paints and stains, and chemically preserved woods.

3. Next, consider the planter’s size. Elevated raised bed gardening means the roots of your plants will be restricted by the dimensions of the bed. Make sure the raised planter you choose is deep enough to handle root crops, like carrots and parsnips, and provides plenty of room for the roots of larger plants, like tomatoes, eggplants, sunflowers, and others. The dimensions of the planter box featured in this article are 92″ long, 24″ wide, and 10″ deep — perfect for a wide range of flowers, fruits, veggies, and herbs! If that’s too long for your space, Gardener’s Supply Company also has a four-foot-long elevated planter bed available, too.

4. The total height of your elevated raised bed garden is important, as well. If it’s too tall, you’ll get tired of reaching up, but if it’s not tall enough, the constant slight bend in your back will have you at the chiropractor’s in short order.

5. Lastly, it’s important to consider the planter’s maintenance needs. Elevated raised bed gardening is supposed to make your life easier, not complicate it. Skip planter boxes that require yearly painting or staining, or those that will rust, warp, or become brittle with constant exposure to sunlight.

Placing your elevated garden planter

Once you’ve selected the elevated raised bed that’s right for you, it’s time to put it in place. These planters are heavy when filled to the brim with soil, so don’t fill the planter box until you’re happy with its placement.

Most fruits and veggies require at least 6 to 8 hours of full sun. Gardeners planning to grow edibles when elevated raised bed gardening need to place the planters in full sun. If you’re growing sun-loving annuals, the rule is the same. But for shade-lovers, a nice spot in the shade or part shade will do just fine.

In addition, make sure your raised planter box is close to a spigot or rain barrel to make watering a snap. Lugging watering cans to a distant location every day can be a real drag. Keeping your garden close to the kitchen door is a plus, too!

Elevated planters are a great place to grow herbs. (AD)

If you’re growing herbs and other edibles in your elevated planter, make sure it receives maximum sunlight and place it close to the kitchen door for easy harvests.

Filling your raised planter box

As with in-ground growing, the secret to successful elevated raised bed gardening is in the soil. While most elevated planter boxes are sturdy, they aren’t built to hold heavy, clay-based garden soil. Instead, they’re designed to be filled with a mixture of high-quality potting soil and compost. Mix 2/3 potting soil with 1/3 compost, toss in a few handfuls of organic granular fertilizer, and you’ll be ready to grow! (Unless, of course, you’re going to be growing cacti and/or succulents in your raised planter; in that case add coarse builder’s sand to the mix, instead of compost.)

Growing tomatoes in elevated raised bed gardening is easy with the right varieties. (AD)

There are many different vegetables you can grow in an elevated raised bed, including dwarf tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and more! Photo courtesy of Gardener’s Supply Company.

What to grow when elevated raised bed gardening

When it comes to gardening in raised planters, the possibilities are endless! There are so many plants that will do wonderfully in such an environment.

  • Plant an elevated raised bed full of compact vegetable varieties, including ‘Tumbling Tom’ tomatoes, ‘Fairy Tale’ eggplants, ‘Mohawk Patio’ peppers, and ‘Thumbelina’ carrots.
  • Or how about growing an herbal paradise? ‘Spicy Globe’ basil, creeping thyme, lemongrass, rosemary, and parsley will perform to perfection.
  • Small-statured berry plants, such as ‘Strawberry Shortcake’ red raspberries, ‘Top Hat’ blueberries, and strawberries, are beautiful and productive in an elevated raised bed.
  • Flowers are another lovely option. Most annuals do quite well in raised planters, just be sure to include a few trailing varieties to spill over the bed’s edge.
  • Fairy gardens and miniature plants are another unique option, especially since they’ll be at eye-level for curious little hands and eyes.
  • You can even plant dwarf flowering shrubs and small-statured evergreens when gardening in an elevated raised bed. Doing so will make a great privacy screen between close balconies, patios, and porches.


We hope you enjoyed this in-depth look at the many advantages of elevated raised bed gardening and all the possibilities it brings to the landscape. A big thank you to Gardener’s Supply Company for allowing us to feature their elevated planter and share this exciting and oh-so-easy style of gardening with our Savvy Gardening readers. 

Do you grow in raised beds or elevated planters? We’d love to hear about it in the comment section below!

Elevated raised bed gardening is easy and fun! Grow lots of veggies, fruits, herbs, and flowers with this useful technique. (AD)

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6 Responses to Elevated raised bed gardening: The easiest way to grow!

  1. Karen Shannon says:

    What a great article! Loads of great information!
    I have a lovely planter, which I filled with potting soil so it would be lighter because it is on an elevated deck. How do I add nutrients to what essentially is a dead medium? Should I change the soil every year to avoid disease?

    • Thanks, Karen. Glad you found the article useful. As for rejuvenating spent potting soil, ideally it should be replaced every year, but I know that’s an expensive proposition in a container this large. So, if you didn’t face any fungal issues in your raised planter, you can keep about 2/3 of the soil mix from year to year. Just add a mixture of fresh potting soil and a compost to top it off every season. Mix it together well before planting. If you had a fungal issue, such as tomato blight, basil downy mildew, botrytis, or the like, I’d suggest completely changing the soil out.

  2. Denise says:

    I recently purchased a plastic elevated garden container after some time deciding (2 yrs) on whether or not to purchase because of the initial expense and would it work. I planted several cold weather crops broc., brussel sprouts, & lettuce. I live in southern PA and it gets pretty warm in the summer. The crops did well for awhile then I think it got too hot too quick ? I may also have planted them a little late although it was early May. Do you recommend other plants to try ? I am disappointed in my first attempt. Hoping to find other things that might do better in the elevated garden your advice is greatly appreciated.

    • As with in-ground gardening, it’s important that you time your planting’s correctly when growing in elevated planter boxes. Cold-weather crops, like lettuce, peas, and cole crops, should be planted very early in the season, while it’s best to wait to plant warm-season crops, like tomatoes, peppers, and basil, until after the danger of frost has passed. I definitely recommend you try again. Don’t be afraid to experiment. It may take a season or two of trial and error, but you’ll learn what to plant when and be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

  3. Faith says:

    As winter approaches, should all soil be removed — with fresh soil/compost used in teh spring?

    • Hi Faith. Ideally, you should replace all of the soil in containers on a yearly basis, especially if you grow disease-prone vegetables like tomatoes. However, this would be very difficult for a large elevated planter bed like the one in this article. If you can’t replace 100% of the soil, remove at least 1/3 of it and replace it with a blend of 2/3 compost and 1/3 new potting soil each spring.

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