How High Should A Raised Bed Be?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:34 pm

Anyone who wants to build or use a raised bed, it is essential to pay attention to how high the bed will be. The correct dimensions result from various factors, which are described below. This will help you find the perfect height for your raised bed.

Note body size

It is primarily the back that hurts when working in a stooped position or with a crooked back. If the bed is too high, the shoulders are strained. To ensure that working in a raised bed is easy on the back and, in principle, on the joints, the optimum height in relation to body size is a key criterion.

How High Should A Raised Bed Be?

How High Should A Raised Bed Be?

How high should be the bed, this is easy to check: The crest of the pelvis is about the same line as the upper edge of the structure. This makes a raised bed height depending on the height of the body as follows:

  • Approximately 1.50 meters body height: 75 centimeters raised bed height.
  • Approximately 1.60 meters of height: 80 centimeters of raised bed height
  • Approximately 1.70 meters of height: 90 centimeters of raised bed height
  • Approximately 1.80 meters height: around one meter high bed height

How high to fill?

An ideally high bed edge alone, but still does not allow back and joint-friendly work, if the soil surface is not adapted to it. Since this should not reach the edge of the bed, it is advisable to additionally measure the optimal height. This can also be easily determined using two different methods:

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Elbow method

How High Should A Raised Bed Be?

Hold arm stretched down

Measure between five and ten centimeters downwards from the elbow to obtain the ideal height of the soil surface.
add five to ten centimeters back up, gives recommended raised bed edge height

Kitchen countertop method

Take the height of the kitchen countertop (provided it is comfortable to work on without discomfort).
subtract ten centimeters – gives the raised bed edge height
subtract another five to ten centimeters to get height measurements from ground surface

Tip: Determining raised bed height using body height is an old method and is considered outdated among many experienced amateur gardeners. The elbow method is described as the more accurate option and is recommended accordingly.

Tending raised beds in a sitting position

If you want to work and maintain raised beds while sitting (or have to for health reasons), you should choose an appropriately “comfortable” raised bed height:

  • Ideal raised bed height between 50 and 65 centimeters.
  • Optimal seat height if the edge of the raised bed is between the iliac crest and the navel when sitting down
  • If you have problems standing up, choose a seat height of at least 50 centimeters (to make it easier to stand up).
  • in this case, add five to ten centimeters to the height of the raised bed.

Raised bed height for children

Even children are enthusiastic about gardening in raised beds. To enable them to garden standing up and ideally with an upright posture, consider the following:

How High Should A Raised Bed Be?
  • for very small: at least a bed height of 40 centimeters (plants need enough space to root into the depth).
  • special raised beds for children usually maximum height of 60 centimeters
  • if children are too small for chosen height, simply provide stools or something similar
  • Raised bed dimensions for balconies
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While in the garden raised beds can usually be created according to “whim”, the dimensions on the balcony are often subject not only to size / space limitations, but also, above all, the permissible carrying weight of the balcony in question.

Weight determines dimensions

According to standards, a balcony must be able to support at least 400 kilograms per square meter. Sounds a lot at first, but for watering and maintenance, your own body weight is added to the soil, raised bed material and plants.

How High Should A Raised Bed Be?

A raised bed with a height of 80 centimeters, a depth of one meter and a width of two meters, already holds more than 1,600 liters of potting soil. After watering, this quickly adds up to between 900 and 1,000 kilograms (450 to 500 kilograms per square meter). Therefore, the following heights are to be considered in adaptation to the depth, whereby these always refer to a square meter of standing area:

  • Raised bed height up to 40 centimeters with maximum bed depth of 100 centimeters.
  • up to 65 centimeters with a maximum bed depth of 60 centimeters
  • up to 80 centimeters with maximum bed depth of 50 centimeters

Note: The data refer to a balcony/roof terrace bearing load of up to 400 kilograms per square meter. Depending on the construction/type, the maximum load capacity may be higher. This must be requested from the landlord, the developer or the property manager

Frequently asked questions

How high should a raised bed be for two different heights?

What should be the maximum height of a raised bed with a length of three meters?

Basically, the longer, the lower should be raised beds. This is due to the pressure that acts on the outer walls. Lengths should therefore not exceed two meters, which allows a raised bed height up to one meter. If the height measurement of a raised bed of two meters exceeds one meter, equal dimensions in width must be deducted.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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