9 Benefits of Gardening in Elevated Planters

Elevate your raised bed garden with an accessible and aesthetic elevated planter that brings your plants up to you. These raised beds on stilts are perfect for small spaces and patios. Garden expert Logan Hailey explains all the benefits for both plants and people.

A dense cluster of vibrant green leafy vegetables thrives in rich brown soil within an elevated wooden planter, situated on a sunlit wooden deck.


If you’re tired of hunching over to weed and harvest, or your mobility is limited, an elevated planter can bring your plants up to a more accessible height. However, instead of requiring tons of soil to fill an ultra-tall raised bed, these unique planters stand on legs that add height without adding volume.

Planters are perfect for small spaces, patios, adaptive gardening, and wheelchair gardens. They enhance plant growth while complementing the overall aesthetic of the landscape. Moreover, raised planters make gardening more accessible to everyone, regardless of their physical abilities.

Let’s dig into the 9 benefits of an elevated planter and how to choose the right one for your garden.

Large Cedar Elevated Planter

Our Cedarline planters:

  • Are made of North American western red cedar
  • Contain natural tannins that protect the bed from rot, insect damage, and the elements
  • Include a built-in top sill for easy tool access
  • Offer easy, no-tool assembly
  • Save your back with an elevated design
  • Offer 15″ depth to encourage healthy, flourishing roots

buy at Epic Gardening Shop

What is An Elevated Planter?

Tender spinach and lettuce plants bask in the warmth of the sun, nestled amidst the brown soil of a wooden planter, displaying delicate leaves and promising growth.
Raised troughs enhance gardening accessibility.

An elevated planter is like a raised garden bed on stilts. The moderately deep trough is elevated off the ground for convenient, comfortable access without spending a fortune on topsoil.

Perfect for gardeners with limited mobility or small spaces, these planters raise your crops to several feet off the ground to make it easier to tend vegetables and fruits without bending over. Your plants can enjoy all the benefits of improved drainage, warmer spring soil, and less weed competition while you save your back and money. 

9 Benefits of Elevated Planters

Raised beds differ from elevated planters because they hold soil all the way down to the ground level. In contrast, a planter is like a large wooden container lifted on sturdy legs. Plants can grow above the ground with superior drainage, reduced weed pressure, and easy access for gardeners of all ages and capabilities. 

Here are the key benefits of elevated planters and how they can help you create a more adaptive garden. 

Back-Saving Height

A close-up of white and silver elevated garden planters indoors, filled with brown soil and thriving green plants; below, potted plants are nestled in the ground.
Centrally placing planters reduces back strain by minimizing reaching.

The number one benefit of a lifted planter is its height. Gardeners who struggle with back pain from hunching over will be relieved to grow plants in an elevated environment. Few other raised garden beds offer accessibility at two and a half feet off the ground. Most elevated planters are almost the height of a standard kitchen counter, which means almost anybody can easily reach into the bed without bending over. 

Here at Epic, we designed our gorgeous cedar planters to reach about 30 inches off the ground. There is a built-in top sill where you can easily set your tools, phone, or water bottle. If installed in a central area, this planter can be accessed from all angles, reducing the need for reaching or hunching. Your back will be grateful! 

Improved Soil Drainage

Homemade garden planter featuring small green plants in brown soil, crafted from aluminum roof and supported by brown wood edges, nestled in ground surrounded by small gray pebble rocks.
Limited nutrient access arises from poorly drained soil.

Like all raised garden beds, elevated planters offer unparalleled drainage benefits to crops. Rainwater and irrigation can easily flow through the wood pores on the bottom of the planter. 

Most vegetables, herbs, and fruits enjoy well-drained soil. Water should pass through the soil profile fairly quickly so the roots don’t sit in a soggy or waterlogged environment. Poorly drained soil can lead to many problems, including root rot, fungal diseases, and limited accessibility to vital nutrients. The drainage boost from an elevated bed will ensure happy, healthy plants.

Boost Drainage With Organic Matter

A close-up of composted soil teeming with nutrient-rich organic matter, including decomposed leaves and earthworm castings, fostering a fertile environment for plant growth.
Elevate your planters with quality compost for optimal drainage.

Soil drainage is a nuanced topic because it requires a happy balance. If the soil is too quick to drain (think of sand on a beach), the water will rush through it rapidly, and the plants won’t have time to get their share. In contrast, if the soil is very poorly drained (think of hard-packed clay), water will puddle up on the top in a stagnant pool. Meanwhile, the lower layers will remain cracked and dry.

While an elevated planter naturally uses gravity to its advantage, organic matter is the main key to balanced drainage. Organic matter, or humus, is like the magic wand of gardening because it is so multi-functional. It boosts soil drainage while also improving water retention so your plants don’t dry out too quickly. 

The humus ensures that water stays in the root zone for the right amount of time without becoming soggy, ultimately preventing the risk of disease while reducing the need for constant irrigation. Simultaneously, organic materials continuously break down and enrich the soil with more beneficial microorganisms, minerals, and nutrients. 

Quality compost is the best amendment for any elevated planter. Other biodegradable materials like leaves, straw, aged manure, grass clippings, or peat moss are excellent options for improving drainage in your planter.

Handicap and Elderly Accessible

Elevated wooden garden planter housing lush green plants, nestled within an indoor space characterized by wooden aesthetics, creating a harmonious and natural ambiance within the indoor environment.
Use elevated planters with adaptive tools for pain-free gardening.

Gardening should never be exclusive to any age group or mobility level! Elevated planters are key to adaptive gardening, which aims to reduce the physical load on bodies with reduced accessibility. They are the best option for wheelchair gardens, retirement gardens, and therapeutic rehabilitation gardens. 

The planter is designed so anyone can work with the plants without kneeling or bending over. For most individuals, it is easy to reach inside from a standing or seated position. The convenient height ensures handicap-friendly planting, weeding, and harvesting. Moreover, the planter is open on the bottom half, which means a wheelchair or stool can rest underneath the plants while working, much like a desk.

Pro Tip: Use elevated planters in combination with other adaptive gardening techniques, like long-handled and ergonomic tools. You won’t have to worry about joint pain or instability from crouching, allowing for peace of mind while you grow your favorite plants.

Prevent Pets and Critters From Eating Crops

A close-up of lush green kale and spinach leaves thriving in an elevated garden planter; the planter, positioned atop a brick-style cement floor, contrasts against a verdant lawn.
Raised surface deters outdoor cats and rodents effectively.

Dogs, cats, and wild critters are much less likely to destroy your crops when they are elevated above the surface. A planter ensures that your veggies and fruits are protected from ground level. You won’t need to worry about building a fence around your garden to keep your dog out. Better yet, you can be assured that no furry friends are lifting their legs on the side of your garden beds!

While some outdoor cats and pesky rodents may still jump up, the elevated surface deters them far better than a low-lying bed. You won’t have as many issues with rabbits, voles, or mice. Better yet, you never have to worry about the risk of gophers and soil-dwelling pests. Most raised beds have an open bottom that determined gophers can eventually access, but an elevated planter is completely lifted off the ground. Nobody can get in from the bottom!

Earlier Planting

A close-up showcasing vibrant basil leaves flourishing in a white elevated garden planter; situated in the garden area adjacent to the house, the planter adds a touch of freshness to the surroundings.
Plant early for early and extended harvests.

Elevated soil means earlier planting in the spring! You can imagine that the sunshine rays hitting the edges of a planter will naturally warm the soil faster than the dirt in the ground. Some standing raised beds warm up several weeks before their in-ground counterparts. This means you can direct sow seeds and transplant seedlings earlier in the spring. Still, it’s best to use a soil thermometer probe to check the soil temperature before planting. 

Soil and water have high specific heat, which means that garden beds warm up more slowly than the air. It takes a longer time for the soil to warm in the spring since the moisture and particles in the ground are slow to change their temperature. Even if outdoor air temperatures are above freezing, the soil can still be too cold for many warm-weather crops. 

An elevated planter helps the soil warm more quickly because the sun hits the sides of the wood from all angles. Comparatively, lower-ground beds are only heated from the top. Earlier planting means earlier harvests and longer yields throughout the season! You can also use season extension practices like low tunnels, plastic hoops, and row fabric to raise the temperature for your early spring crops.

Aesthetically-Pleasing Garden

A cluster of black metal planter boxes on a wooden deck, brimming with lush greenery of varying sizes and shapes, accented by vibrant red flowers, creating a harmonious and inviting garden space.
An annual application of cedar or tung oil enhances their beauty.

Most people wrinkle up their noses at the thought of turning their manicured lawn into a garden, but a sleek cedar planter could change their minds. Natural and eco-friendly does not always mean messy. An elevated bed creates an aesthetically pleasing yard, patio, or growing space while providing functional areas for cultivating plants. 

You may also be worried about rotting, rust, or unsightly mold on garden beds, but rest assured that a raised wooden planter can solve this problem too. Our beds are crafted in the USA from the finest North American western red cedar. This wood is naturally rot-resistant and timelessly beautiful. It has natural tannins and oils to protect it from rot, insects, and the elements. The beautiful grain is enhanced by a once-annual application of protective oil like cedar oil or tung oil.

These elevated beds may change cosmetically in different humidities and climates, but they remain a reliably beautiful accent to your landscape design. 

Easier Soil Prep

An elevated wooden planter filled with dark soil, hosting young pepper seedlings poised for transplantation, flanked by petite gardening plants, all nestled atop a wooden deck, promising a burgeoning and picturesque garden scene.
A planter maintains soil health without disturbing the earth’s surface.

If your native soil is poor or compacted, you don’t have to laboriously dig and amend it. Instead, you can grow in quality soil above the surface. Once you install our simple slide-in-place elevated planter kit, all you need to do is fill it with 8 to 16 cubic feet of topsoil. No digging, tilling, or hard work is required! You can have soil or compost delivered to your house or purchase it in bags at a local nursery and simply pour it in! Topping off settled beds with an inch of compost each year is also super simple.

This type of soil prep is not only easier, but it’s more ecological. Tilling and disrupting the soil can have negative impacts on soil microbes and structure. Moreover, intensive ground prep often inadvertently spreads aggressive weeds around your garden. If you rent your home or you’re not sure what’s buried in the backyard, you won’t have to worry about clanking up against unexpected pipes while starting a garden. Instead, the planter lets you create a healthy soil ecology hovering above the ground.

Cheaper Topsoil Investment

A hand mixes dark brown potting soil in a planter; in the blurred background, a large house is visible, suggesting the man's elevated position as the roof is seen from below.
Use organic materials at the bottom of your planter.

It’s no secret that raised beds can be expensive to fill. Quality soil and compost are pricey, and you need them in large quantities to establish a garden. However, an elevated planter can help you save on topsoil because you don’t need to fill the bed all the way to the ground level. You get the benefits of the full 30 inches planter height while only paying for 8-15 inches of soil depth. Depending on how you set up your planter, you will need 8.75 to 16.25 cubic feet of soil. 

In comparison, if the elevated planter was a true raised bed without the stilts, it would require almost double the amount of soil to fill it! That’s a lot of money you could be spending on more garden beds, seeds, plants, and supplies.

Pro Tip: Add small logs, large sticks, or twigs to the bottom layer of your planter to reduce the volume of soil needed. You can also layer on fall leaves, straw, grass clippings, and compost like a Hugelkultur-style (lasagna garden) bed. All of these organic materials will take up space in the bottom of the planter and slowly break down to supply minerals and enrich the soil. Most vegetable plant roots hang out in the upper 12 inches of soil, so the bottom layers of your bed don’t have to be pure soil.

Fewer Weeds

A wooden planter is filled with green vegetable plants; a name tag sits in the soil, with lush green grass below the planter.
Quality topsoil and compost further minimize weed growth.

Weeding is the bane of most gardeners’ existence, and you may never fully eliminate the need for this task. However, an elevated planter can significantly reduce weed pressure in your beds. The most aggressive weeds are spread by underground roots, rhizomes, and runners. Annual weeds also spread by dropping their seeds on the ground or blowing them in the wind. 

An elevated bed is resistant to both types, but it is particularly immune to issues with perennial weeds that spread underground. Since the garden bed is lifted above the soil surface, rhizomatous grasses and gnarly thistles cannot get in. If you source quality weed-free topsoil and compost, you reduce the chances of unwanted weeds even more. 

The only way weeds can get into the raised-up bed is through seeds that fly through the wind. While an occasional dandelion may pop up, it will be easy to pluck while young. You don’t have to worry about grasses creeping into the bed unless nearby areas go unmowed. Overall, an elevated planter allows you to spend more time doing fun gardening tasks and less time weeding!

Final Thoughts

What’s not to love about elevated growing spaces? You get all the benefits of a raised bed, plus added benefits for your back! The soil drains better, warms faster, and is naturally immune to weeds. Pesky critters have a hard time accessing the raised space, but you can access it easier than any other garden style. 

If you’re considering upgrading your garden to be more adaptive and convenient, you can’t go wrong with an elevated planter!

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