Full Member
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Decking boards: a suitable material for raised beds?

I want to build raised beds in my back garden for growing vegetables. I've considered building them from brick, but have decided that wood will look better and should be cheaper and easier to create.

There are several 'ready made' kits available, but they seem to be fairly expensive options so I decided to look at the idea of building them myself.

It strikes me that deck board might be a good option for building raised beds - it should already be treated for outdoor use, so I wouldn't need to treat the wood myself, plus it comes in handy lengths and is decorative. The boards I've been looking at to get an idea of prices are advertised as 'pressure treated for longer life':

Are there any reasons I should avoid using decking board (and decking joists for the uprights) for building raised beds? The possible pit-falls I can see are that:

[*] they may be treated with something which will be toxic to the plants, soil or worms etc
[*] the preservatives they're treated with may only be suitable for wind and rain damage and not for having earth piled up against the boards
[*] the boards may not be solid enough to hold back the earth (though I'd have thought that 28mm thickness should do the job)

Has anyone here made raised beds from decking boards, or can anyone confirm any of my fears listed above?

I look forward to hearing any and all comments.

Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:07 pm
Location: Southern California

Avoid using treated wood for gardening

Hi, treated wood is not good. The chemicals go into the soil. You can buy untreated wood, rub in some tung oil with a rag and it will dry in a couple hours or so.

Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:36 am
Location: Scotland

I've used treated wood on several raised beds. There are issues with leaching of toxins into the soil, if you wish to be organic! However untreated doesn't last any where near as long. Can't understand why you would want to use deck boards when rough sawn timber boards are cheaper and just as effective.

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