Raised garden beds require cedar wood for the sides and posts, galvanized nails and landscaping fabric. Once the bed is in place, the builder fills it with potting soil and places the plants in the soil.
It is possible to build raised beds using many different materials, including rocks, brick or landscaping blocks as alternatives to cedar. While gardeners sometimes face the temptation to use rot-resistant treated lumber, the chemicals that prevent rot often leach from the wood into the soil and have the potential to affect the plants in the garden.
A width of less than 4 feet makes reaching all the plants inside easier. Beds longer than 6 feet are more likely to bow due to the weight of the dirt against the boards when using 2-inch stock lumber. Keeping heights below 36 inches makes reaching plants easiest.
Raised garden beds solve many problems that plague a gardener. Because he fills the bed with prepared potting soil, he eliminates the problem of poor soil. Placing landscape fabric under the bed eliminates the problem of weeds. The height of the bed makes gardening easier on the back. The beds prevent soil compaction and improve drainage. They also eliminate pests such as slugs and snails.