Skip to main content

Why do gardeners use raised beds? Here are reasons why you should grow crops and flowers in raised gardens

From allowing you to control soil to helping reduce weeds, raised garden beds can come in handy

Ask any seasoned gardener why they use raised beds, and the reason likely boils down to control. Raised beds allow you to control what goes into your crops while giving you the luxury of ample space to work with. Control, of course, can mean a wide variety of things. Here are the main reasons you should consider growing your fruits and veggies in raised beds.

Person holding soil
Zoe schaeffer/Unsplash

1. Raised beds allow you to control your soil conditions

When you grow your plants in a raised bed, you have the power to control the soil that holds your plants. If you’re raising edible crops, this means you can choose an organic growing medium for peace of mind. It’s also easier to amend the soil to exactly what you need it be, whether you’d like it to be more well draining or acidic.

You ultimately won’t have to do a lot of tilling to break up compact soil. Plus, soil also tends to warm up faster in beds during the springtime, so you don’t have to wait for the ground to warm up before you start planting.

Gardener pulling weed
Effective Stock Photos/Shutterstock

2. Raised beds keep out weeds and pests

Because raised beds allow you to close off a certain area of your garden, they help you keep out unwanted weeds and pests. And even if you do encounter any pesky invaders, you can at least keep them limited to that area of your garden and manage them there.

To keep weeds and pests at a minimum, make sure your raised bed has a bottom, but remember to give it drainage so your plant roots don’t rot. It’s also helpful to top-dress your soil with mulch, too.

Raised garden bed
Image used with permission by copyright holder

3. Raised beds keep foot traffic away from fragile plants

As their name implies, raised beds are elevated from the ground. Even if you simply have a wooden border around your plants, your plants will be separated from the ground so little ones (and perhaps absent-minded adults) won’t step on sensitive seedlings just getting rooted or make soil super compact.

Beds that are elevated to waist level also give you the bonus advantage of being ergonomic — you won’t have to kneel or bend over as much to tend to your crops!

Raised garden bed close-up
Image used with permission by copyright holder

4. Raised beds give your plants more space than containers

Most round containers usually fall between 6 and 12 inches in diameter, though you may have instances of bigger ones. But these measurements still pale in comparison with raised beds that are usually around 3 to 4 feet by 6 to 8 feet.

Simply put, raised plants offer more growing space, so you can have more plants as well as stronger plants that you don’t need to thin out as often. That said, you can find or create raised beds in all kinds of sizes. If you have a smaller space to work with (such as on a patio or balcony), you can still enjoy bountiful harvests with limited room.

Watering a raised garden bed with a watering can
alexkich/Shutterstock

5. Raised beds help with water retention

Indoors, overwatering can be a menace that swiftly kills plants with root rot. Outdoors, especially on those warmer days, it can feel like you need to water every day. When inside small containers and exposed to heat and wind outside, soil can dry out quickly.

In a raised garden bed, soil holds onto water for a long time, especially if you have compost and peat mixed into your soil. Ultimately, this means less work for you — you can even fix up a drip irrigation system to make watering a breeze.

Raised bed garden
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Plants that do best in raised beds

You can pretty much grow anything inside of raised beds, which are most commonly used for edible crops. It can actually be tempting to stuff all of your plants into one space, but you want to give your green babies breathing room, so be prudent as you budget out your space.

Typically, a square foot in a raised bed can handle 6 to 12 small plants or 4 to 6 medium plants, but always read the instructions on your seed package to give each plant the space it needs — you can thin out crops if you notice crowding. Also, be sure to rotate your crops each season and companion plant-compatible crops. Here are just a few of the plants that work well in raised beds:

  • Lettuce and leafy veggies
  • Allium plants (such as onion, garlic, and leeks)
  • Bush beans
  • Beets and radishes
  • Annual flowers
  • Herbs
  • Ornamental plants (like ferns and hostas)
Blueberries on a bush
Nowaja / Pixabay

Plants that do not do well in raised beds

While you can plant virtually anything you want in a raised garden bed, some plants are more challenging to grow than others. Plants like melons and potatoes can take up a lot of room, making them more ideal for in-ground row gardening. There are also berries — think blueberries and blackberries — that grow better as bushes in the ground.

Others plants, such as asparagus, take a long time to grow while others, such as perennial flowers, will stick around for a while. With these plants, you really need to be in it for the long haul, so you might not be able to try out new plants in your bed for the next season.

While the initial work for implementing a raised bed can be daunting, raised beds definitely make the gardening process go by smoothly. They provide a wide range of benefits, from keeping your soil warm to blocking out pests. Plus, you can plant virtually anything in them, as long as your crops don’t take too long to grow or need a lot of space. With a little patience at the beginning of your gardening journey, building a raised garden bed gives you a foundation for healthy, bountiful harvests.

Editors' Recommendations

Stacey Nguyen
Stacey's work has appeared on sites such as POPSUGAR, HelloGiggles, Buzzfeed, The Balance, TripSavvy, and more. When she's…
6 outdoor gardening projects to do in October
Stay active this October with these projects
Large oak tree with orange leaves in autumn

It seems like there’s always something more to be doing in the garden. Whether it’s the day-to-day chores like weeding or watering or the bigger, seasonal tasks like harvesting, there’s a task for every season and a season for every task. Figuring out which projects to do and when can be overwhelming, especially if you're new to outdoor gardening. If you aren't sure where to start or are looking for a handy checklist to ensure you've done everything, let this article be your guide! Here are six outdoor gardening projects and tasks to complete this October.

Set up feeders for birds and squirrels with leftover seeds
After you harvest the last of your fruits or flowers, you’ll need to clean out your garden. Any leftover plant material can be taken out and composted, unless it’s diseased or has a fungal infection. You may also want to save some of the seeds from your garden, especially if you’re growing heirloom plants.

Read more
What you need for a gorgeous indoor rose plant
Grow an indoor rose garden for a lively and elegant display
Several orange miniature roses in a large pot

Roses are beautiful, elegant flowers, but they’re also typically grown as outdoor blooms. They can take up a lot of space and have a reputation for being somewhat particular about their care. So what should you do if you have limited space to grow plants, or if the weather isn’t compatible with growing roses? Grow them indoors, of course! Here's everything you need to know to care for an indoor rose plant.

Can you grow roses inside?
Yes, you absolutely can! Revitalize your indoor garden with a bounty of roses. Roses will grow just as well indoors as they would outdoors, as long as you take proper care of them. Here are the basics of rose care and how they’re impacted by the change of scenery.
Light
Light is very important for roses. Most rose varieties need roughly six hours of direct sunlight a day. For indoor roses, make sure they have plenty of light or look for a variety that specifically grows in lower light. Grow lights will be crucial if your home doesn't get a lot of natural lighting.
Water
When watering your roses, make sure that the top inch of the soil is dry before you water, but don’t let the soil dry out completely. You also want to keep an eye out for the humidity. If the air isn’t humid enough, your rose may develop a spider mite infestation! You can place your rose in a tray with just a little water in it, which creates more humidity around the plant as the water evaporates. There is, of course, also the option of investing in a humidifier.
Temperature
Roses are not very fond of the cold. They need temperatures ranging from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit to be comfortable. However, you can start your roses in January or February — the seeds should be just fine with this timing. The soil will keep them warm in late winter, and you should see sprouts by spring.
Pruning
Roses do need to be pruned, and this is especially true of indoor roses. Pruning keeps them healthy and from taking up too much room. Simply clip faded blooms off with sharp garden shears or a blade.

Read more
How to make sure your garden is set up to transition from summer to fall
How to get your garden ready for fall
Blooming perennial flower garden along a walkway

Taking care of a vegetable or flower garden during spring and summer is fairly straightforward, as long as you know what your plants need. The transition from spring to summer is simple, too. Preparing your garden for fall can take a bit longer, though, as you'll need to start fortifying your garden against cold weather. It can feel overwhelming if you aren't sure where to start, but don't worry! This simple guide on how to transition your garden from summer to fall will walk you through each step. You can even use it as a checklist to make sure you're fully prepared.

When should you begin transitioning your garden?
Depending on the climate zone you live in, you can begin to transition your garden from summer to fall from July to September. In general, you should start your preparations before the nights get too cold. In addition to your local weather forecasts, the plants in your yard and garden can provide valuable information about the changing seasons. Many summer fruits and vegetables are ready to harvest during the transitional stage, and you should begin seeing a few leaves changing color as well. This is a good indicator that it's time to start your preparations.

Read more