Lining a Raised Garden Bed: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Material

What Do You Line a Raised Garden Bed With? A Complete Guide

Gardening has become an increasingly popular hobby for many people, especially those with limited outdoor space. One way to maximize your gardening potential is by using raised garden beds. These elevated planters provide better drainage, fewer weed problems, and easier access for maintenance.

When setting up a raised garden bed, one common question arises: what should you line it with? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore different options and factors to consider when choosing the best lining material for your raised garden bed.

Why Should You Line a Raised Garden Bed?

Lining a raised garden bed offers several benefits:

  1. Weed Prevention: Adding a lining can help suppress weeds from infiltrating your garden bed from underneath. This reduces the need for excessive weeding and ensures healthier plants.
  2. Pest Control: An effective liner creates a physical barrier that deters pests like rodents or burrowing insects from reaching your plants’ roots.
  3. Moisture Retention: A quality liner helps retain moisture within the soil while preventing excess water loss through evaporation. This ensures consistent hydration levels for your plants.
  4. Sustainable Gardening Practices: Choosing an eco-friendly liner can promote sustainable gardening practices by reducing waste or conserving water resources.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Lining Material

Different materials have distinct advantages and considerations based on specific needs and preferences. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting lining material:

The Level of Soil Drainage

If you live in an area with heavy rainfall or want to ensure optimal drainage, selecting a lining material that allows water to pass through easily is essential. This prevents waterlogging and root rot.


Consider the durability of the lining material you choose. Some may degrade over time due to exposure to sunlight or moisture, while others can last for many years without replacement.

Pest Control Needs

If pests are a concern in your area, opt for a sturdy liner that can withstand their attempts at penetration. This will help protect your plants from unwanted damage.

Popular Lining Choices for Raised Garden Beds

Here are some popular options commonly used as liners:

Landscape Fabric

Landscape fabric is an affordable and versatile option known for its ability to suppress weed growth effectively. It allows water and nutrients to penetrate while preventing weeds from emerging. However, it might not be as long-lasting as other materials since it tends to break down over time.

Tarp or Plastic Liner

A tarp or plastic liner provides excellent waterproofing capabilities, protecting the wood of your raised bed against moisture damage. However, they should be perforated with small holes throughout their surface to allow proper drainage and prevent excess water accumulation.

Burlap Cloth

Burlap cloth offers natural aesthetics while allowing air circulation and good drainage within your garden bed. It also acts as an effective barrier against rodents and burrowing insects.

Eco-Friendly Alternatives

If you’re aiming for sustainable gardening practices, consider these eco-friendly alternatives:

Newspaper Layers

Newspapers can serve as an effective organic mulch that suppresses weeds and retains moisture. Layer several sheets of newspaper at the bottom of your raised bed, ensuring complete coverage.


Similar to newspapers, cardboard acts as an organic barrier against weeds while retaining moisture. Ensure all tape and plastic labels are removed before using it in your garden bed.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the right lining material for your raised garden bed is crucial for optimal plant health, weed control, and pest prevention. Evaluate factors such as drainage needs, longevity expectations, and environmental considerations to make an informed decision.

Whether you opt for landscape fabric, tarps with drainage holes, burlap cloth or eco-friendly alternatives like newspaper layers or cardboard – each choice offers its unique benefits. Happy gardening!