5 BEST Materials to Put Under Raised Garden Beds | The Ground Guys (2024)

5 BEST Materials to Put Under Raised Garden Beds | The Ground Guys (1)

It’s easy to see why so many people love raised garden beds. They make it easier to care for your plants and maximize garden space. In addition, raised garden beds help with drainage, reduce soil compaction, keep rodents and other pests from burrowing in, and help prevent weeds. If they’re built correctly, raised garden beds can last many years. Proper building means knowing which materials work best for lining under a raised garden bed.

Quick note: If you don’t have the time to take care of your plants or need help controlling weeds in your lawn, The Grounds Guys can take care of it for you. We offer a wide range of lawn care services to maintain the health and aesthetics of your garden!

Table of Contents:

  • What to Put Under Raised Garden Beds
    • Wide-mesh Hardware Cloth
    • Stainless Steel Gopher or Rat Mesh
    • Landscape Fabric
    • Burlap Sack
    • Newspaper or Cardboard
  • Best Soil for Raised Garden Beds
  • Raised Garden Bed Ideas
  • How to Build a Durable Raised Garden Bed
  • Benefits of Lining Your Raised Garden Bed
  • Why Choose The Grounds Guys?
  • Final Raised Garden Bed Tips

What to Put Under Raised Garden Beds

The materials you put under raised garden beds create a barrier between the garden’s soil and the ground. The proper material can stop weeds from poking through, keep out toxins, and ensure that pests stay in the ground and aren’t feasting on your garden!

Depending on your budget and gardening goals, you can line the bottom of your raised garden beds with wide-mesh hardware cloth, stainless steel mesh, landscape fabric, burlap sack, or newspaper/cardboard. Below are some details on the benefits of each.

Wide-mesh Hardware Cloth

5 BEST Materials to Put Under Raised Garden Beds | The Ground Guys (2)

This material keeps weeds and burrowing animals out, yet earthworms can still get through. Earthworms are nature’s gardeners, they aerate and enrich the soil for the benefit of your plants. Staple the cloth to the bottom of the garden bed frame during the construction process. Once in place, it should serve its purpose for many years to come.

Stainless Steel Gopher or Rat Mesh

5 BEST Materials to Put Under Raised Garden Beds | The Ground Guys (3)

This durable material is designed to keep burrowing animals out. Staple it in place (attach to the bottom of the bed frame) to ensure it doesn’t shift around.

Landscape Fabric

5 BEST Materials to Put Under Raised Garden Beds | The Ground Guys (4)

If you’ve had a weed problem in your flower beds, landscape fabric is effective at keeping unwanted weeds from overtaking your plants. The fabric provides an effective barrier against weeds, but allows water and other beneficial nutrients to reach your plants

Burlap Sack

5 BEST Materials to Put Under Raised Garden Beds | The Ground Guys (5)

Do you have an old potato sack on hand? This material makes a great weed stopper when stapled to the bottom of a garden bed frame. Simply cut the sack to the dimensions of your bed(s) and secure it to the bottom for an effective weed barrier.

Newspaper or Cardboard

5 BEST Materials to Put Under Raised Garden Beds | The Ground Guys (6)

Even simple, cheap materials can block weed growth from below your garden beds. You can simply lay them on the ground before setting your garden beds on top of them. Alternatively, you can place sheets of newspaper or cardboard toward the top of your planters for the added moisture-retention benefit, similar to what mulch provides.

Best Soil for Raised Garden Beds

5 BEST Materials to Put Under Raised Garden Beds | The Ground Guys (7)

One of the advantages of gardening with a raised bed is you’re in control of the soil. It’s a significant benefit for homeowners with yards of clay or hardpacked soil, tree root issues, or concerns about pollutants in the ground. Soil is the foundation of your garden, and you want it to be healthy so you can set your plants up for success! We recommend buying high-quality, nutrient-rich soil in bulk. Or, you can make a soil mix with equal parts topsoil, organic materials (leaves, composted manure, ground bark), and coarse sand.

Raised Garden Bed Ideas

5 BEST Materials to Put Under Raised Garden Beds | The Ground Guys (8)

You can build your raised garden bed however you see fit. Feel free to get creative or stick to a simple design; it’s your choice! Below are some raised garden bed ideas you can use for inspiration.

Built-in raised beds: You can build a raised bed with brick or wood and put it in the best place for sun or shade (depending on the plants and flowers you choose). If you select a wood design, ensure it’s intended for outdoor use and holds up well to the elements (sun and rain). If not, you’ll find yourself replacing it every year.

Grow bag raised beds: Using grow bags is a simple way to have a raised garden bed in minutes. Grow bags are great because they don’t freeze solid, so the soil in them will defrost quickly during the colder months of the year. Trough beds: Animal feeding troughs can be another easy way to create a raised garden bed. The metal gives them an attractive industrial look, and they conduct heat well, which will warm the soil in the spring. A trough also provides a sturdy foundation and effective weed barrier for your raised bed.

Raised beds from recycled materials: From cinder blocks to concrete blocks and milk crates, you can use various recycled materials to build a garden bed. Plants that thrive in alkaline soil are a good option for a concrete bed.

These are just a handful of raised garden bed ideas. Repurposing materials into something useful is always a great option, but feel free to use familiar materials like brick, wood, and steel.

How to Build a Durable Raised Garden Bed

5 BEST Materials to Put Under Raised Garden Beds | The Ground Guys (9)

When you learn how to build a raised garden bed, you can’t help but get excited. The initial cost varies depending on the design and materials used. However, they’re easy to maintain once in place, and they provide many benefits! Of course, building a durable raised garden bed will vary, but there are some basic instructions to follow. For example, you’ll want to create a garden bed at least 6 inches high. The bottom line is to build a garden bed that provides easy access to your plants and gives the roots plenty of space to grow.

Be sure to prepare your location. First, make sure the area you choose is suitable for the plants and/or flowers you intend to grow. Some plants and flowers do better in full sun, while others only require partial or very little sun, so keep this in mind when picking the location for your garden. Once you’ve chosen the site, mark the area for your garden bed and remove the grass from this area. Then, place the frame in position and create an outline with a shovel. Setting the bed on the ground rather than concrete or another hard surface allows for proper drainage and root growth.

Benefits of Lining Your Raised Garden Bed

Raised garden bed lining isn’t mandatory to have healthy growing plants.

But adding raised garden bed lining does provide benefits. Many experienced gardeners recommend lining raised beds for these reasons:

  • It provides insulation for the soil and helps control temperature fluctuations.
  • It helps with soil retention.
  • It separates weeds from seeds.
  • It can drive away pests like gophers and moles that can damage your plants.

Why Choose The Grounds Guys?

Having a healthy, thriving garden can really increase the curb appeal of your home, and it’s nice for you to enjoy too! However, spending your weekends pulling weeds and tending to a garden is time-consuming work. If you would rather spend your weekends enjoying your garden rather than working on it, hire the landscape and garden experts At The Grounds Guys. We specialize in landscape and lawn care services for commercial and residential properties. We take pride in doing the job right the first time and guarantee your satisfaction with the Neighborly Done Right Promise™. Our local service professionals are part of the community and committed to ensuring your home or business looks its best throughout the year.

Our service also include:

    • Free estimates.
    • Upfront, transparent pricing.
    • Experienced and licensed experts that arrive in uniform and clean, branded vehicles.
    • Guaranteed timely response to your questions and inquiries.
    • Top-quality materials, the latest equipment and outstanding service.
    • We clean up after every job, so there’s no mess left behind.

Final Raised Garden Bed Tips

As a final reminder, avoid lining your garden beds with plastic. Doing so prevents drainage and could drown your plants’ roots with too much water. If you have aweed and pest problem, consider installing a combination of metal mesh and fabric or hardware cloth and cardboard to address both issues simultaneously.

Need Help with Your Raised Garden Beds?

You may be passionate about growing flowers and vegetables, but gardening requires a lot of work and some knowledge. We can help. Learn more about The Grounds Guys’ lawn and bed maintenance services This way you can spend less time working on your garden and more time enjoying it. Request a free estimate today!

5 BEST Materials to Put Under Raised Garden Beds | The Ground Guys (2024)


What is best to put under raised garden beds? ›

Best Soil for Raised Garden Beds

We recommend buying high-quality, nutrient-rich soil in bulk. Or, you can make a soil mix with equal parts topsoil, organic materials (leaves, composted manure, ground bark), and coarse sand.

How do you prepare ground under raised garden beds? ›

If you are putting your raised bed garden on top of weeds or grass, I highly recommend putting down cardboard and then a layer of durable landscape fabric like this. A good landscape fabric will block weeds from growing through but still allow water to drain. The cardboard layer will help smother and kill the weeds.

Should I put landscape fabric under a raised bed? ›

Landscape fabric is beneficial for raised garden beds, here are just a few of the many reasons why you should use landscape fabric for raised bed gardening: Prevents soil erosion in a raised bed: As a liner, landscape fabric lets water drain away from the soil while leaving the soil intact.

What is the best ground cover for raised garden beds? ›

Leguminous cover crops, such as crimson clover, hairy vetch, and Austrian winter pea, work wonders in raised beds. These plants have a unique ability to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil, enriching it naturally.

What are three mistakes to avoid when gardening with raised beds? ›

Seven Beginner Raised Bed Gardening Mistakes to Avoid
  • Picking The Wrong Spot. It is a common gardening mistake made by many gardeners. ...
  • Not Thinking About The Water Source. ...
  • Raised Beds Placed Too Close Together. ...
  • Crowding your Plants. ...
  • Planting the Wrong Plants. ...
  • Skipping Mulch. ...
  • Not Using the Correct Soil.

What should you line raised beds with? ›

You can line your raised bed to make it more durable and to prevent toxics from leaching into the soil. For lining, use landscape fabric found at garden supply stores or cloth fabric from clothing. Avoid non-porous plastic, as it can retain too much water and discourage beneficial insects and worms.

How many bags of soil do I need for a 4x8 raised bed? ›

For a 4x8-foot raised bed with a 6” height, using Mel's Mix: about 5 cubic feet each of compost, peat moss, and vermiculite is needed. It usually takes about two to three bags of purchased fertile mix (1.5 cubic feet each) to cover the bed surface to a depth of 2 inches.

Should you put gravel under a raised garden bed? ›

I see people recommending gravel to improve drainage, but the raised bed structure itself should create good drainage for your plants. Also, a layer of gravel might get in the way of plants with deeper root structures.

Do I need gravel under raised garden bed? ›

They are unnecessary for drainage. Well-structured soil with plenty of organic matter already provides adequate drainage in a raised garden bed. Rocks are not essential for achieving proper drainage and can even hinder it.

Why do you put cardboard under a raised bed? ›

It acts as a physical barrier to block out pernicious weeds. Usually, 2 – 3 layers of cardboard will suffice, though you may want layers in more weed-prone areas. The damp environment created by the cardboard is conducive to earthworms and other beneficial soil microorganisms.

How deep should a raised garden bed be? ›

A depth of 8 – 12 inches will suffice for most gardening situations. Because of the excellent drainage properties of raised beds, it is possible to grow an abundance of vegetables in a limited amount of space.

What landscape fabric is safe for garden beds? ›

The best landscape fabric for your vegetable garden is likely perforated fabric. Woven fabric is a good choice for flower beds where you don't regularly change the plants.

What is the best low maintenance ground cover? ›

Our Recommendation

We recommend starting with ajuga because it's fast-growing and can thrive in most soil or sun conditions. Snow-in-summer plants and creeping phlox are also low-maintenance options that can grow almost anywhere that features full sunlight.

What is the strongest ground cover? ›

Ivy is one of the toughest, hardiest groundcovers available. Adaptable to almost any condition but dry full sun, it has saved many an “unplantable” area. It can become invasive, especially when seeds are dispersed far and wide by birds.

What is the longest lasting type of raised bed? ›

Steel Raised Beds Last About 25 to 30 Years

You can't get much more durable or strong than steel. Steel raised beds can last for decades if their exterior is treated with a rust protectant. Most of the metal raised beds you'll find available online today are made with rust-resistant steel.

Should a raised garden bed have a base? ›

Should a raised bed have a bottom? Despite lining the bottom of a raised bed, the raised bed itself should not have an enclosed bottom. Raised garden beds should be left open to the ground to allow plant roots to grow further into the ground for nutrients if needed.

Should raised beds have a base? ›

Most raised beds can be built on any surface and there is no need for foundations or cement, build them directly on soil, grass, paving, tarmac, concrete or even sloped gardens, just make sure that you are building on a solid and level surface.

Should I put chicken wire under my raised garden bed? ›

EDIT: I used chicken wire on the recommendation of family gardeners, though several in the Instructables community have commented that hardware cloth works better than chicken wire for them and serves a dual purpose of weed and pest control.


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