UPDATED: September 2021NEWS
Raised Beds and Planters
Raised bed frames and planter boxes are very useful accessories for your garden, but one question that might spring to mind is what is the difference between raised beds and planters?
Essentially, a raised bed has no floor or bottom, while a planter will have a bottom to it.
A bottomless raised bed allows roots to grow further down into the soil below, while a planter box could be viewed as a way to separate the plants from the ground underneath.
Both options allow you to make self-contained zones - using different soil to the surrounding area while creating less weeds and enabling better drainage.
The Right Height
A planter box can also come in a range of styles, including tall ones that are table height - making them easier to use with no bending over, and allowing you to experience those sweet scented plants better.
The Anywhere Accessory
Being self-contained, planters can go anywhere - popular locations include patios, decks, porches and balconies. Raised bed herb gardens are quite common these days.
Styles to Suit
Planters and raised beds come in a variety of styles and can be wooden, metal, plastic or even recycled rubber. A timber, sleeper style effect is quite common, while more contemporary metal ones (in various shades) are also catching on particularly in small, urban gardens.
Some are simple squares or rectangles, while others may be more complex with tiered levels and hexagonal shapes that can be expanded and linked together.
It is possible to buy liners for raised beds to effectively contain your plants in the same way that a planter will, and this will also allow you to use them on hard ground such as patios.
Other raised bed accessories include netting and mesh covers for protection, and metal or wooden corner posts, edging, cappings and other decorative items.
Here is our pick of the crop of planters and raised beds:
Vegtrug Raised Planter
This attractive timber planter is ideal to show off in a small space like a patio or balcony. The bed is 78cm wide and 58 cm deep.
The sturdy legs raise the planter bed to 80cm tall, making it very easy to work on, particularly for those with limited mobility.
It comes with a membrane liner to retain water and protect the cedar wood structure, while a lower shelf is handy to store watering cans and other accessories.
Around £80 from Crocus
Harrod Square Metal Planters
Made here in the UK from thick galvanised steel, these square planters from Harrod Horticultural are the premium option and are built to last - in fact they all come with a 10 year structural guarantee.
There are 5 different sizes available starting at around half a metre square, all with a hard-wearing anthracite grey finish both inside and out.
They have many clever touches, such as bases with drainage holes that can be plugged if required (bungs supplied) and the planter bases can either sit flush with the ground or reversed so they stand slightly higher creating a shadow gap effect.
From £310, Harrod Horticultural
Harrod Metal Raised Beds
A close cousin to their square metal planters, these raised beds are made from the same galvanised steel, this time finished in a pleasing shade of heritage green.
Once again their sturdy construction will stand the test of time and there is a wide range of sizes and heights to suit your situation.
Being raised beds, they do not come with bases as standard, but they are available should you wish to site your beds on hard ground such as a patio. Liners and covers are also available for most size options.
From £185, Harrod Horticultural
Harrod Superior Wooden Beds
The flagship product in their raised wooden bed range, the Superior is constructed from thick timber planks and features decorative corner posts and robust aluminium fixing brackets.
Offered in a variety of sizes from 2ft square up to 8ft, and with 4 heights available you can create a bespoke tiered bedding layout.
Bed liners are available to allow you to site the beds on hard ground, while protection covers are available keep pesky insects away from your precious plants.
From £96, Harrod Horticultural
Also available from Harrod are their Allotment Raised Beds - budget priced timber raised beds ideal for beginners who want to start growing their own vegetables, but don't want to splash out on more expensive wooden beds just yet.
From £25, Harrod Horticultural
Crocus Raised Bed System
Made from recycled plastic, these Quadro square modular beds make it easy to create a bespoke tiered bedding system limited only by your imagination!
They simply click together and require no maintenance so are a great alternative to timber beds.
You can stack them to make a tall bed if you wish, and you can also build them side by side depending on the layout you want to achieve.
This is classed as the small version and each square is 60x60cm and 25cm tall with a capacity of 25 litres. Medium and large options are also availble, as too is a Hexagonal shaped range.
£49 from Crocus
Forest Garden Linear Planters
Part of the "Linear" range of contemporary slatted timber planters, this is the popular double size and measures 80cm wide and 44cm high with a 40cm depth.
It is made by Forest Garden from responsibly sourced smooth planed timber and is guaranteed against rot for 15 years.
A single square planter and a wider planter (120cm) are also part of this range, as is a set of 3 square planters of different heights.
These planters come complete with a porous lining, and are supplied flat-packed for easy self-assembly.
£99 from Keen Gardener
Sonata Rubber Planters
If you've ever wondered what happens to old car tyres, then here is your answer.
It is hard to believe that these stylish square planters are actually made from old tyres.
Their rubber construction means that they are very weather resistant and can withstand extreme freezing conditions which can cause traditional pots to crack or disintegrate.
There are 6 available, in two different colour options and 3 sizes and they are very reasonably priced.
From £27, Harrod Horticultural
Planters and Your Garden Arch
One of the risks with garden arches, certainly with cheaper tubular steel arches, is their susceptibility in stormy weather - strong wind is definitely their number one enemy.
One option is to concrete the legs into the ground, but another one to consider is to securely fix the arch to some planters - the weight of two full planters either side will keep your arch nice and secure as well as adding some further interest when the plants are in bloom.
Alternatively, take a look the Huntingdon Metal Arch by Greenhurst (pictured). As you can see it incorporates two planters either side and features some nice scroll work on the side panels. It is also very reasonably priced for what you get.
Around £145, Greenhurst Huntingdon Arch