been using recycled plastic landscape timbers for years to build raised
beds. We haven’t used any of the
our supplier, after an atrocious string of bad luck, has gone bankrupt, so we
are looking for an alternate product.
We most recently paid $11 for 8-foot 3X5 timbers. We typically purchased a couple hundred
timbers at a time. The factory was
just an hour from here, so we picked them up ourselves – cost was staff time
and gas. We put our beds together
with 6-inch galvanized spiral deck spikes. Each 4x8 bed, 3 layers high, uses 28 spikes.
As far as we can tell, the timbers are immortal,
although they can break if you back into them with a car.
Construction was easy, particularly since the timbers
bend a bit and will thus help you deal with a level of inaccuracy in
cutting. We used a circular saw
for cutting. A chop saw is a nice
touch, particularly if you want to cut angles. Sometimes we pre-drilled holes, but if we had some beefy
folks who could swing a 2-lb. hammer, we didn’t bother.
The plastic lumber is somewhat heavier than pressure
treated pine. In some people’s
minds, it is also uglier – ours is a kind of medium gray color. But then it doesn’t split, splinter, or
warp, and, as far as I know, it doesn’t release any nasties into the soil.
I was famous in the recycled plastics business for a
little while when our supplier went out of business. Plastics World magazine called me up for a reaction, and
published a story. A good number
of manufacturers called me looking for business. I don’t know any well to tell them apart just yet, but we’ll
The kits I have seen seem a bit over-engineered for
our purposes – they are more appropriate for small scale or back yard use. I’ll be interested to hear what people
come up with.
firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of Connie Nelson
Sent: Sunday, April 25, 2004 12:30
Subject: [cg] Raised Garden Bed
I know we've
had this discussion before from different angles, but I still have a question
and sundry reasons, I'm investigating use of "plastic lumber" in the
use of 4 X 8 foot garden beds. There are a bizillion different
places that sell these kits for use in raised beds.
If you have
experience in this material, would you please address one or more of the
Have any of
you tried these and:
1) what was
the cost (include both the kit cost and transportation)
2) how long
did they last
3) were they
easy to put up
4) was the
weight similar to wood products (or lighter, heavier)
5) were they
easy to cut if you needed to make changes
6) are there
any companies you actively recommend or conversely, strongly suggest avoiding
7) any other
suggestions / comments you might have?
hunting for here is practical experience consensus. Hopefully by tapping
into the listserv's expertise, I can find that agreement.
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