Aside from being a standout view in any garden, you would want to consider waist high raised garden beds for a lot of reasons. On a beneficial side, elevated gardens like this are more manageable and prevent soil compaction. They are also more well-draining, encouraging longer growing seasons and lesser soil amendments, weeding and maintenance.
If you intend to make waist high raised garden beds in your landscape, here are some plans that you can consider. In this post, we will have a run-through of these waist high raised garden bed plans so read on.
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What is a raised garden bed?
Technically, a raised bed can mean many things but generally, it is defined as any garden bed sitting on top of an existing garden soil. As such, raised beds can be made at just a few inches up the soil or at a waist high (or even higher) elevation.
The best thing about raised garden beds would perhaps be having extra breathing spaces around the garden bed itself, making the soil loose and not compacted.
Benefits of a raised garden bed
We have mentioned some of the most imminent benefits of a raised garden bed in the introduction, but we think that this should be emphasized more in this section for us to understand why this is becoming a more popular garden trend. Hence, here are some of the benefits of a raised garden bed.
- No tilling required. All that is left to do is to just add layers of soil and compost every few years to maintain the raised bed.
- No bending. This is one of the best benefits of raised garden beds. With a waist high elevation, you can tend to the plants without bending.
- Critter free. Sure, slugs and other critters can climb, but with this height, it takes time for them to reach the garden beds. Plus, with all the enclosures and the smooth finishing for these raised beds, they can easily slip.
- Better drainage: A raised bed has proven its upside in marshy and flood prone areas. Because the excess water easily trickles down, plus the soil is loose year-round, it offers better drainage and consequently better plant conditions. With this, you can enjoy a full growing season and greater longevity for your veggies and herbs. Another upside to this would be being able to plant veggies and herbs earlier in season.
- Lessens weed growth: This is a greatly unknown fact but tilling the soil encourages weed growth. Without the need for tilling, of course, you are also lessening the weed growth especially that of crabgrass.
- Temporary structures: Another upside of raised garden beds is that they are temporary structures. This means that you are not permanently altering the yard’s soil components and health. Instead, you can have different raised beds with different soil components depending on the plants that you are planting. As such, you are also avoiding contaminating the entirety of your yard’s soil.
- Great for beginners: Without the need for tilling, the need for regular soil amending and maintenance, raised garden beds are perfect for newbie gardeners.
25 waist high raised garden bed plans
Without much ado, let us dive straight into some of the easiest, cheapest, and most practical waist high raised garden bed plans out there.
1. Cedar waist high raised garden bed
This one is a 3ft by 6ft elevated garden bed made of pure cedar wood. The plant bed itself is raised to 18-cubic feet with a depth of 2ft. Cedar is a good material for raised garden beds because it is hardy and is not susceptible to rotting. This one was put up with only screws and bolts.
2. Wood raised bed with bottom shelves
This is a modified version of the first one because it comes with built-in bottom shelves for gardening tools. It is also made of cedar wood, attached together through bolts and screws. It is a 4x4x12 raised planter with a depth of 3ft. If you are looking for something to give your grandmother as a present, this one is a good idea.
3. Waist high herb garden bed
For a farmhouse style raised herb garden that you can easily incorporate in your balcony or patio, this is a fine plan to consider. It is made of pressure treated wood, balusters, deck posts, side hooks and deck screws.
The garden bed’s bottom is also reinforced with a few floorboards to act as durable liner to hold the soil in. You can find the complete instructions here.
4. Double tier high waist raised garden bed
To maximize the height of the raised garden bed, you can incorporate a lower planter for herbs.
Having a bottom planter is also beneficial for areas with extended droughts because the drained water from the higher planter can trickle down to the bottom planter.
This one here is made of pine boards and deck screws. The top planter has a depth of 4ft while the lower planter is at 2ft depth.
5. Lattice tier raised garden bed
Just because it is a garden bed would not mean that you cannot make it decorative. In this plan, two tiers of somewhat floating raised garden beds are attached to a wood lattice frame.
It is made with 2×4 cedar boards, and galvanized deck screws. It is a beautiful raised vegetable garden bed which kids can even enjoy.
6. Raised self-watering garden bed
The trend towards more eco-friendly and sustainable urban gardening is paved by self-watering garden beds. In this plan, a simple PVC pipe system is incorporated to supply just enough water in the soil bed at a time.
This is very convenient for many reasons because one, you can leave for a few days without fearing plant wilting. Ground pests and insects could not penetrate the soil bed too because it is too high.
7-8. Counter height raised garden
If you prefer compact gardening with an array of different plants per box, you can make a counter height raised garden around the fence. This one makes use of 4x4s, each with a depth of 3ft. The diversity of the plants makes it a scenic garden view. It is also good for pest and weed control.
Here is another plan that would transform your yard into lines of raised vegetable planters. Talk about a sustainable urban garden and this should be a go-to raised garden bed plan.
9- U-shaped waist high raised garden bed
If you have enough space in your garden or if you want to transform the whole yard into an all-out planter space, you can make a DIY U-shaped raised garden bed for your vegetables and herbs.
Accent it with corner solar lights and you are good to go. You can find the complete instructions for this here.
10. Wood and corrugated metal waist high raised planter
If you have a rawer and more rustic backyard, you can create an inexpensive waist high raised planter using corrugated metal enclosed in a frame of treated wood.
If you intend to have yours painted like this, it is recommended that the metal and wood be painted first before assembly. This is a fine combo of vegetables and ornamental plants in one raised planter.
11. Brick keyhole garden
Keyhole gardens have become popular as a sustainable way to grow organic vegetables thanks to its side indentations. With these side spaces, a compost bin can be easily incorporated in the middle of the raised, brick planter. Your keyhole garden can look like this plan.
12. Concrete waist high garden bed
What better way to design your waist high garden bed than to match it with the existing aesthetics and architecture of the yard, right?
This curved patio is transformed into a raised planter by the homeowner using cement blocks. A vegetable planter forms one side, herbs on the other, and ornamentals on the two remaining sides.
13. Raised galvanized garden bed
If you want a contemporary and industrial looking garden bed, you can use raised galvanized troughs around the yard and grow vegetables in them.
With this, you would no longer need to bend down to tend to your plants and herbs. You can have as many galvanized troughs as you can for a full industrial garden impact like this one here.
14. Wine box raised garden bed
This is another compact raised garden bed that you can use for your vegetable garden. First, you must construct a waist high, raised, wooden platform and on top of this, you can assemble numerous wooden wine boxes to plant various herbs and low growing vegetables like this one here.
15. Raised milk crate garden bed
Following the logic of the previous waist high garden bed plan, this one makes use of stacks of milk crates instead of wooden wine boxes. Also, in lieu of a wooden platform, one raised planter is elevated by two and a half crates. Basically, it follows the effect of the galvanized through. Here is a visual for your reference.
16. Tire raised bed
Another economical plan for a waist high raised garden bed would be using stacks of old tires. It follows suit with the two previously cited plans here.
It is not a new design, and it can be done in minutes. It is usually used by those who are propagating herbs for wide scale supply as it can be drilled holes in between it for a systematic water supplication.
17. Painter’s canvas frame raised garden bed
If you are familiar with the tripod-like frame of a painter’s canvas, then you could easily relate to this compact raised garden bed plan.
It is very portable and was constructed to extend the longevity of winter veggies like beets, cauliflower, and broccoli into the summer months. It is also high enough to protect the veggies from stray animals, so it is highly functional.
18. Vertical raised garden bed
With treated wood, bolts, and screws, you can easily make this ultimate multi-tier, pyramid shape, vertical raised garden bed for your herbs, veggies, and ornamentals.
While DIY, it takes a lot of time to fully construct it. Using a hydrofarm germination station to jumpstart seed germination of all plants at once would be a good choice.
If you want an angled one but not on a pyramid shape like this, you can go for this tiered, bench style raised garden bed. It is made of treated wood and is perfect for layers of different plants. Click here to know how this plan can be constructed on your own.
19. Waist high garden bed with built-in benches
If you are spending a lot of time in your garden or find it as a comfortable refuge to sip coffee or tea while tending the garden, might as well build a raised garden with built-in benches.
The extended benches could also be used as a platform for other plants or a table for pruning and watering materials. Having something like this in the middle of your yard is also eye-catching.
20. Waist high raised garden bed with detachable side fences
To make sure that your raised garden bed is impenetrable to critters, you can reinforce it by adding detachable side fences to it. In this plan, industrial wire with thin yet sturdy wood frames are used to enclose the raised pallet garden bed. Or if you have already an existing raised bed, you can just construct the detachable side fences.
For a more pest and critter proof one, you can have a ground level soil bed but with higher than waist level fences of industrial wire and wood like this garden bed plan here.
21. Sleeper raised garden bed with benches
This one is a design with high functionality and aesthetic value. You can literally sit with your plants, veggies, and herbs. It has a sophisticated decking design, and the entire thing is made of several railway sleepers, fence posts, and screws. Complete with armrests, it is a comfortable raised garden to hang out with the plants.
22. Raised natural wood garden bed
To give a woodsy, more natural flair to your landscape, you can make a raised garden wood out of raw, scrap wood. All you must do is choose the sturdiest ones and cut them in an even height. After which, create a wooden frame with wood boards as base to hold the soil. Here is a better look at this plan.
23. Raised metal garden beds
If you do not have a talent in DIY construction, note that you can easily buy raised metal garden beds online like this one. But if you want a more elevated garden bed out of galvanized metal or aluminum, it would be best to do it on your own. With this dark brown color, you are creating a beautiful contrast with your greens.
24. Pocket waist high raised bed
For your herbs and salad greens, you might want to get this cart style raised garden bed. This one is a prefab one, made of high-quality plastic with tiny holes at the bottom for drainage.
It features four pockets to accommodate different herbs and veggies. You can also make one like this using wood, metal or also plastic.
25. Portable raised garden beds
It is one thing to no longer bend just to tend to the plants, but it is another thing to have a portable garden bed which can help you in easily moving all the plants indoors especially during the winter season.
If you are in for this type of convenience, this waist high garden bed plan here should be a top option. It is fully made of cedar wood but with rollers on each leg for portability.
26. Bale and straw raised garden bed
This is perhaps one of the most sustainable ways to have a low maintenance raised garden bed. Straw and bale are natural insulators, they can also be used as organic mulch for the plants. Nonetheless, you would still need wood stakes around the raised bed to hold in the soil. For reference, here is how it should look like.
What is the best height for raised garden beds?
As per rule of thumb, the most desirable height for raised garden beds would be 11-inches and at a depth of at least 2ft. Nonetheless, there is no limit to this. The fact that we have mentioned waist high raised garden beds is a reason to argue that garden bed height factors in gardening convenience, hence, must be considered.
What are the most cost-effective ways to fill a raised garden bed?
Contrary to what most know, you can use more than fertile soil to fill raised garden beds and here are the following ways to do it.
- Hugelkultur: Yes, it may be odd sounding, but this is one of the oldest tricks in the book. This one involves burying organic matter and rotting debris after the first layer of soil in the raised garden. It is quite sustainable because you will have to add layers of soil in between the years without having to add more organic matter.
- The lasagna fill: It follows the same principle as the first one, only, you must lay several cardboards first and then spread leaves and compost to the cardboards. After this, add soil and then repeat the process until it is all filled.
- Core gardening: This one is a more complex process, but it is worth it. Instead of cardboards, you must use spongy materials to hold enough water all season. After that, add a thin layer of soil with enough organic material or fertilizer in it. Not only does this help in moisture, it also lessens the onset of weeds and the presence of pesky pests that will devour the plants.
- Peat moss: This one is only used for acid-loving plants because peat moss is already acidic. If you are growing marigolds, potatoes, peppers, and sweet potatoes, this is the perfect filler that you should choose for your raised bed.
- Organic compost: They could be used as fillers on their own, even without being ground and added to soil layers. However, this is not an easy filler to come up with. As a matter of fact, it can take years for the compost pile to be completed. Kitchen scraps, peelings, animal manure, and grass clippings are the best mixture of organic composts for any garden bed.
- The Ruth Stout method: Popularized by the Mulch Queen of the US, Ruth Stout herself, this one is done in early spring or fall. It makes use of stacks of hay. Your garden bed should be filled with at least 8-inches of hay to the garden bed, added with a layer of compost or even cured manure.
- Aeration materials: This is a very underrated soil amendment method but adding perlite, pumice, coarse sand, or lava rocks in the layers of soil could promote good airflow for the plants in the raised bed.
Do raised beds need liners?
As sustainable as they are, raised beds would still need liners. This addition acts as a natural insulator for the soil, helping it to stay loose even in harsh climatic conditions. Also, with the insulating capacity of liners, weed growth, and critters such as gophers and moles could be kept out. The best liner materials for raised beds would be landscape fabric and non-porous plastics materials.
What are the best vegetables to grow in a raised bed?
You can grow any veggie in a raised bed much as you would in a regular garden bed, but the best ones would be the following:
- Root vegetables
- Salad greens
- All herbs
With all that we have covered here, indeed, waist high raised garden is always worth the shot.
First off, your back will thank you because you do not have to bend when tending the garden anymore.
Second, they are more efficient in providing the growth requirements for your plants. Third, they are visually appealing, in all respects. So, if you have free spaces in your landscape, converting them into waist high raised garden beds would be a good idea.