Vinyl raised garden beds, DIY?

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lojack323
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Vinyl raised garden beds, DIY?

Post by lojack323 » March 13th, 2019, 1:27 pm

Hello.

I'm not sure if this is the right section so please move it if necessary.

We're trying our hand at raised garden beds this year and decided on going with vinyl ones since we want them to outlast us. We would like either a couple of 4'x4' or a 4'x8' but most importantly we want them on the taller side, 20"+. The reason for the taller beds is not only so we don't have to bend over as far but also we have a lot of top soil we'd like to "hide" in it after we level out some areas of our backyard, haha.

For the last 6 months or so I've been routinely looking online and checking up on prices for prefabricated kits. There's a set from Costco that is 4'x4'x~20" but it retails for $130 each (which is still cheaper by $50 than other places for the same one). Apparently this kit was on clearance a year ago for $50 each, dang!

We're not trying to break the bank with this purchase and I realize I'll probably have to pay for what I want. But I was wondering if there's a less expensive alternative to prefab vinyl beds that I'm overlooking, maybe DIY. Anything possible with cutting down vinyl fencing?

2019 has gotten away from me and I've realized it's crunch time if I want to be ready for the gardening season, lol.

Thanks in advance.

TimmyG
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Re: Vinyl raised garden beds, DIY?

Post by TimmyG » March 14th, 2019, 11:34 am

I probably would have suggested putting this in the Around the yard/Vegetables forum.

In addition to that Keyhole 4'x4'x22" composting bed at Costco for $130, there's a 2-pk of 4'x4'x11" white vinyl garden beds for $80 that is shown to be stackable in the images, albeit not mentioned as stackable in the manual. I first assumed that it was a cheaper brand (thinner vinyl), but at least one of the images suggest that it is the same construction as the Keyhole bed, and the page also shows the same 20-yr warranty from New England Arbors and manufacturer's phone number. Just make sure you read the Most Helpful Critical Review from two years ago claiming that you may not be getting the better New England Arbors brand.

I personally am heavily invested in Frame It All 2" composite beds from Home Depot (always waiting for 40% discounts), but the product isn't anything to write home about and certainly isn't cheap. Regardless of the plastic product, they're pretty much all sectioned in 2-ft lengths. This is very limiting when wanting to expand the beds to 4'x8' or larger (one of mine is a 20'x20' maze, two boards high). Any straight run of boards requires additional side support to keep the joint from bowing out. Frame It All offers 3-way and 4-way joints so that you can run cross boards to the other side (through the middle of the bed), but those extra boards get costly fast...and get in the way of gardening and drip irrigation. Instead, I've hammered rebar into the ground at each straight-run joint, and I stacked the 5.5" boards only two high.

The Costco vinyl product doesn't appear to offer any cross bracing solution, so I wouldn't suggest expanding the beds if you plant to stack. Instead, stick with 4'x4' squares. That is going to be very stable. You could probably even stack three high (33") if you wanted to.

TimmyG
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Re: Vinyl raised garden beds, DIY?

Post by TimmyG » March 14th, 2019, 11:40 am

Alternatively, you might want to check out the EarthMark galvanized steel beds at Home Depot. They come in 10" and 17" heights, and you can't stack, but the 76"x40"x17" bed is currently going for $140. Maybe the form factor and appearance are more to your liking. Reviews are quite positive.

lojack323
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Re: Vinyl raised garden beds, DIY?

Post by lojack323 » March 14th, 2019, 2:49 pm

TimmyG wrote:
March 14th, 2019, 11:34 am
I probably would have suggested putting this in the Around the yard/Vegetables forum.

In addition to that Keyhole 4'x4'x22" composting bed at Costco for $130, there's a 2-pk of 4'x4'x11" white vinyl garden beds for $80 that is shown to be stackable in the images, albeit not mentioned as stackable in the manual. I first assumed that it was a cheaper brand (thinner vinyl), but at least one of the images suggest that it is the same construction as the Keyhole bed, and the page also shows the same 20-yr warranty from New England Arbors and manufacturer's phone number. Just make sure you read the Most Helpful Critical Review from two years ago claiming that you may not be getting the better New England Arbors brand.

I personally am heavily invested in Frame It All 2" composite beds from Home Depot (always waiting for 40% discounts), but the product isn't anything to write home about and certainly isn't cheap. Regardless of the plastic product, they're pretty much all sectioned in 2-ft lengths. This is very limiting when wanting to expand the beds to 4'x8' or larger (one of mine is a 20'x20' maze, two boards high). Any straight run of boards requires additional side support to keep the joint from bowing out. Frame It All offers 3-way and 4-way joints so that you can run cross boards to the other side (through the middle of the bed), but those extra boards get costly fast...and get in the way of gardening and drip irrigation. Instead, I've hammered rebar into the ground at each straight-run joint, and I stacked the 5.5" boards only two high.

The Costco vinyl product doesn't appear to offer any cross bracing solution, so I wouldn't suggest expanding the beds if you plant to stack. Instead, stick with 4'x4' squares. That is going to be very stable. You could probably even stack three high (33") if you wanted to.
Thanks for bringing up the Costco 2 pack as stackable. I saw those previously but didn't read far enough into the reviews to realize people had success stacking them (I'm assuming the corner posts don't require the top caps?). In regards to quality, at least it's from Costco and they have a generous return policy if I open it up and see it's not up to par. At $80 per bed (in my situation) it's definitely easier to stomach.

And holy moly, those Frame it All beds look nice... but I'm already over here complaining about spending $130 for a 4'x4', haha.

Thanks for taking the time to reply Timmy!

lojack323
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Re: Vinyl raised garden beds, DIY?

Post by lojack323 » March 14th, 2019, 2:52 pm

TimmyG wrote:
March 14th, 2019, 11:40 am
Alternatively, you might want to check out the EarthMark galvanized steel beds at Home Depot. They come in 10" and 17" heights, and you can't stack, but the 76"x40"x17" bed is currently going for $140. Maybe the form factor and appearance are more to your liking. Reviews are quite positive.
While I personally like the look my wife wasn't a fan. I also considered that any wood framing or corner posts would probably be cedar and I'd have to replace those down the line as if I had made my own wood beds. Unless I'm over thinking them in my head lol.


TimmyG
Posts: 1863
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Re: Vinyl raised garden beds, DIY?

Post by TimmyG » March 15th, 2019, 12:55 am

lojack323 wrote:
March 14th, 2019, 2:49 pm
I'm assuming the corner posts don't require the top caps?
The corner posts don't necessarily require the top caps, but they provide a finished look and, more importantly, may keep some small critters like spiders and slugs from taking up residence in the center of the posts. And, obviously, you'll have leftover caps if you stack.

lojack323
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Re: Vinyl raised garden beds, DIY?

Post by lojack323 » March 15th, 2019, 11:10 am

Thanks again for the info, probably going to pull the trigger on a few of the Costco two packs soon.

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