Sign In to join the community | Help
Project Ideas: Garden Club

DIY wood raised garden

We have found several raised bed designs we like, but most that we like best are constructed from untreated wood. We understand why the wood needs to be untreated, but we are concerned that using untreated wood will not last. We'd like the money and time we spend on our beds to last a couple years or more. How long will beds made of untreated wood last, realistically? (Can you seal the wood with deck sealer so it will last longer, ordo you run the same risk of chemicals leeching into your vegetables as you would with treated lumber?)
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2017-03-03T02:26:33+0000  by Noahfam Noahfam
You can use a species of wood that's naturally rot resistant.  Old growth wood is far superior but difficult to find and expensive if you do.  Commonly available domestic species would include cypress, redwood, white oak, and Western red cedar.  Far less common but exceptionally rot resistant would be black locust.  Of the tropical species, Ipe which is commonly used for decks would be great choice.

I'm thinking out loud here but I wonder how one of the PVC boards like Azek would hold up?  After all,PVC is used for underground sewer pipes...
Posted 2017-03-03T13:37:16+0000  by Adam444

Hi Noahfam.


Using pine will last for a few years and is relatively inexpensive at about $,70 per linear foot for a 10-foot-long 2 x 6 pine board.  Cedar is another good choice that will give you many years of use and it is rot resistant. It is a bit pricier at about $1.87 per linear foot for a 12-foot-long 2 x 6, but it can last twice as long as the pine lumber and is readily available at your local Home Depot. 


Pine Lumber


Cedar Lumber


One of the steps you can take that will help your Pine or Cedar lumber last longer would be to dig a trench around the perimeter of your proposed raised garden site.  Make the trench about 3 inches wide by 6 inches deep.  Fill the trench with compacted crushed gravel.  Once the crushed gravel has been compacted, set up your raised garden bed along the center-line of your compacted crushed gravel bed. The gravel will aid in drainage around the base of our boards.


Quikrete Gravel


SAKRETE Course Gravel


Using a pond liner inside your raised garden bed will also help to keep the moisture away from your raised garden 2 x 6’s.


Pond Liner


I have read posts from gardeners who have used untreated cedar lumber for their raised garden beds and have had them last 10 years.  For a little extra cost up front, yet still very affordable, cedar lumber looks like a good choice for your raised garden beds.


The Home Depot has an Eco-Wood treatment available that will also help to increase the life of your raised garden bed and it is also available in California.


ECO Wood Treatment


 Be sure to take pictures of your raised garden bed project and share them with us at:


Customers Show Off

Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.


Posted 2017-03-03T19:14:09+0000  by Rick_HD_OC
Another reasonably rot resistant wood is douglas fir. This is a common wood in Home Depots in Maine in sizes 2x10 and 2x12. I used doug fir for my raised bed gardens 7 or 8 years ago and it was all in mostly good shape. I also used doug fir 4x4's to tie the raised beds together and anchor them. If you are building several raised beds side by side, be sure to space them far enough apart so that you have an easy access path, wide enough for a wheel barrow, between the beds so that you can add amendments each year and dispose of any waste at the end of each season, if necessary.
Posted 2019-05-03T13:56:19+0000  by zengeos
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question