So you’ve done some research and decided that raised garden beds are for you. Now you need to decide what lumber to use, and get some tips on just how to construct your beds.
Here is a guide for which wood to choose, some design ideas, and a few tips that will make your beds keep their form and last longer.
Western Red Cedar grows along the coast from Oregon to Alaska. It also grows in the states of Montana and Idaho. Western Red Cedar is light in weight and the heartwood, according to the US Forest Product Laboratory, is “resistant to very resistant” to decay. It is not, however, immune to attack by termites and beetles. Western Red Cedar is used for exterior siding, greenhouse construction, and in ship and boat building.
For raised bed construction we recommend the “STK” Western Red Cedar 2X6, 2X8, and 4X4 from the price list.
Most Douglas Fir production comes from the coastal states of Oregon, Washington, and California. It is also sourced from the Rocky Mountain States. It is generally known as being used for the manufacture of sashes, doors, and general millwork. It is also used in marine applications and in boat and ship building. According to the US Forest Product Laboratory, Douglas Fir is rated as moderately resistant to decay.
For raised bed construction we recommend the “rough, green” Douglas Fir 2X6, 2X8, and 4X4 from the price list.
Hemlock is locally widely used for raised garden beds, fencing, and barn construction and repair. There is no guarantee as to how long the wood will last in the ground, but in the right conditions, some people report that it lasts 5 to 7 years. There is enough of a price difference between the hemlock and cedar or fir, that it is locally preferred wood for general outdoor and farm use.