Galvanized Steel and Wood Raised Garden Bed
You know let's have a look at one of the more unique garden beds out there, this one is made of wood or galvanized steel. This bed is going to give you some ideas on how you can build your own raised garden bed. But first, let's talk about the advantages and disadvantages of galvanized steel and wood that makes them both attractive to work with.
Wood galvanized steel
Life span 7 to 10 years (average) 20+ years
Easy to set 7/10, 9/10
Availability 10/10 6/10
Customizability 8/10 7/10
Insulation 9/10 2/10
Wooden raised garden bed
Wood is one of the world's most common building materials and the most popular choice for gardeners around the globe, and with good reason. It's cheap and can be found anywhere. While it won't last forever, the wooden loft bed can last a few years before it needs to be replaced.
The advantages of using wood
The advantages of using wood for elevated garden beds are its price, customisability and universal availability. They also have the best thermal properties of any elevated bed material.
Wood is by far the least expensive elevated bed material you can use. You can even recycle wood for free from people's kerbs, wooden pallets and even old furniture. Of course, you can source your own wood from forest land. But for most gardeners, you'll be sourcing wood from a hardware store, and wood like pine is very affordable even for large elevated bed gardens.
No matter where you grow a survival garden, in the city, the country or in the middle of nowhere, wood is readily available.
The wooden elevated garden bed is very customizable. You can trim the wood to the exact size you want so that you can build the loft bed to your exact specifications. Galvanized steel beds, although available in different sizes, are still limited in size and shape.
One of the advantages of wood that is not often talked about is how well it insulates. Wood insulates soil better than galvanized steel, which makes wood ideal for building raised beds with cold frames for winter gardening.
Disadvantages of wooden loft beds
The main disadvantage of using wood is that it does not last as long as galvanized steel. This is especially true if you live in a humid or rainy climate.
Wood rots over time and can also be eaten by termites or sows. If you are a DIY type gardener, this is not a problem as you can easily replace the boards as needed. But if you don't want to make a fuss after building a loft bed, you should consider galvanized steel.
In general, unless you use cedar or redwood, expect your wooden loft bed to last up to 10 years.
Garden bed wood species
While wood can be one of the cheapest materials for an elevated garden bed, it all depends on the type of wood you use.
Most gardeners will use untreated pine trees because they are readily available and very affordable. The downside of using pine is that it doesn't last as long as other types of wood. Untreated pine beds usually last seven to 10 years.
However, if you live in a very humid climate, such as the Pacific Northwest or deep South, this can significantly shorten the life of a wooden loft bed.
The most expensive but durable options are cedar or redwood. Cedar is also widely available, but can be very expensive. However, if you can source cheap cedar or are willing to pay more, expect your cedar bed to last 10 to 20 years.
A recently popular option for DIY elevated garden beds on a budget is to repurpose wooden pallets. Often, if you ask around various distribution centers, large stores, or even check local online ads, you can get trays for free. You can also find local pallet recycling centers that can provide you with pallets for free or for a small nominal fee.
If you are using pallets to build wooden raised garden beds, avoid using any coloured pallets or pallets printed with MB. MB stands for methyl bromide, a toxic chemical used to treat wooden pallets.
Wood pallets stamped with HT (heat treatment), DB (peeled) or KD (kiln-dried) should be safe to use in the garden.
Galvanized steel frame garden bed
There is currently a resurgence of interest in galvanized steel as a material for elevated garden beds, and some companies specialize in galvanized elevated bed kits that are easy to assemble, safe to use, and guaranteed to last longer than any type of wood. Galvanized steel beds are expensive, but offer the best long-term, low-maintenance solution for the home gardener.
The advantages of using galvanized steel
Galvanized steel is galvanized steel that protects it from corrosion, making it ideal for any outdoor application. It can take years to start rusting, and galvanized beds can last at least 20 years with no replacement and minimal maintenance.
Galvanized steel does not rot, does not degrade, and is extremely durable.
While there's nothing to stop you from building taller raised beds out of wood, galvanized steel bed kits are usually already available in taller versions. Elevated beds with high waist height make planting, weeding, mulching and harvesting easier, especially for older gardeners or those with mobility problems.
Disadvantages of galvanized steel
Using a galvanized steel bed may seem effortless, but there is a cost to using galvanized steel.
The first is the literal cost: the upfront cost of an elevated garden bed made of galvanized steel is much higher than that of a wooden bed. While a 12-square-foot wooden elevated bed made from ready-made pine can cost less than $30, or even use recycled wood for free, galvanized steel beds of the same size can easily get you over $100, especially for heavy-duty beds.
Galvanized loft beds are not as easy to find as wood. Suppliers are far apart, and cleaning up your own galvanized steel often means getting steel that has begun to rust.
One situation where galvanized beds do not last very long is in acidic soils. The acid will gradually erode the zinc coating. If you are filling soil with acid-loving plants such as blueberries, use galvanized steel lined with plastic. If you can, you can try OLLE galvanized garden Bed, which is relatively resistant to rust because of its oil base aluminum-zinc coating.
Finally, galvanized raised beds do little to insulate the soil in winter gardening. Yes, galvanized steel heats up faster in the sun, but it also releases heat faster at night.
Where can I get galvanized steel bed
You have a variety of options to add to your garden. Galvanized steel beds come in different styles, but I strongly recommend against using any galvanized elevated garden bed that uses plastic posts or fittings, as the plastic will degrade or break long before galvanized steel.
Instead, look for all-steel designs or designs with wood frames or columns. At least for wooden frames, they are easy to replace throughout the life of the elevated garden bed.
If you were in America, Olle would be my choice.
Should I use galvanized steel or wood for the loft bed?
In the end, it really depends on your situation and your budget.
If you have an unlimited budget, either cedar or galvanized steel will work well. It's all about style. Some prefer the rustic look of a wooden loft bed, while others prefer the industrial look and finish of corrugated galvanized steel.
For those on a budget, you can't go wrong with wood. Wooden raised beds are easy to build, and you can even salvage wood for free. The wood also allows for greater design and customizable spiritual activity.
If you live in a humid climate, galvanized steel offers a more durable long-term solution.
Gardeners who don't want to fuss over elevated beds or have mobility problems can also opt for galvanized beds, as they last for decades and many come standard with 2-foot or 3-foot beds, making it easier to grow and maintain your vegetables and flowers.