Should I line my Raised Garden Bed with Plastic?

There are advantages and disadvantages to lining your raised garden beds. The advantages completely outweigh the disadvantages.

Should I line my raised garden beds? The answer is, yes, you should. A liner keeps the soil in while the water drains out. It insulates the soil against extreme temperatures. It helps with soil retention and prevents weeds growth. It also drives away pests and prevents chemical from reaching your plants! There are many materials you can use to line your garden beds, but plastic is the most popular and most commonly used.

Should You Use Plastic to Line your Raised Garden Bed?

Plastic is one of the materials you can use to line your raised garden beds. It is the most commonly used raised garden bed liner material. You can use an old pool cover, plastic tarp, or a polypropylene garden bed liner. It is especially ideal for wooden raised garden beds.

Plastic liners prevent your raised garden beds from degrading quickly because of fungus and water. Wood raised garden beds will get damaged over time and you will need to replace them. Plastic liners can provide good protection.

A plastic garden bed liner is waterproof but does not allow good drainage. You can, however, puncture some holes in it to make it good for drainage.

Another option is to use plastic liners only on the sides of your raised garden beds. Plastic liners will keep moisture away from the sides of your garden beds. They will prevent chemicals that may be present in the wood of your garden bed from reaching the soil.

Plastic will last longer making it a well raised bed liner for the bottom of your garden bed. It is a good weed barrier because it can stop the germination of weeds.

If the soil in your raised garden bed is too dry, you need to prevent drainage to retain moisture. Plastic liners are your best bet.

Is plastic a good liner for your vegetable-raised garden bed? Plastic liners can control the loss of soil in your raised garden bed. You have to make sure, though, that the plastic you use is food-friendly.

Food-friendly plastic is safe to use as liners. Although they contain chemicals, they have low toxicity levels. This means they do not leak too much of their chemical content to the soil.

Since vegetable-raised garden beds are watered frequently, toxic chemicals from the plastic liner can be washed away. Make sure to drill holes on the plastic liner.

Is plastic a good liner for your flower-raised garden bed? Plastic liners function as weed barriers. It takes a lot of work off having to deal with weeds in your raised garden beds.

Other Materials you can Use to Line Raised Garden Beds

There are some basic materials you can use to line your raised garden Beds:

Landscape Fabric

Prevents weeds from growing in your garden bed by denying them sunlight.

It is breathable so it will allow water, air, and nutrients to pass through.

Provides good drainage.

Does not keep moles and gophers out.

Hardware Cloth

This is a mesh made of metal.

It is a good water-permeable liner that drains water without washing away the soil

It prevents moles and gophers from digging in the bottom of your raised garden bed when used together with landscape fabric or canvas.

Discourages pests from making holes in the bottom liner when used above a plastic garden bed liner.

Newspaper or Cardboard

A non-toxic garden bed liner.

It degrades to provide your plants with nutrients.

Can prevent weeds for up to 90 days.

It is plentiful and cheap.

Can quickly decompose and will not last long.


A durable material made from hemp, linen, or cotton often used for tents and awnings.

It is a tough material that can outlast landscape fabrics.

It is a bit water-permeable and can provide decent drainage.

It is difficult for moles and gophers to chew through it.

Reasons to Line your Raised Garden Bed

Raised garden beds are feasible for almost all homeowners. If you live in a small home and do not have the place to grow your veggies, raised garden beds are your best option. Raised garden beds are also handy if you have poor soil conditions.

Although many people add liners to their raised garden beds, there still is constant debate on whether or not to line garden beds. That is why it is important to take a closer look at the reasons to line your raised garden bed:

• Drains Water without the Soil

Raise garden bed liners to keep soil within the garden bed while water drains away. If your raised garden bed does not have a liner rain and water can wash away the soil. Over time, your raised garden bed will lack nutrients and organic material for your plants.

• Insulate Soil against Extreme Temperatures

Raised garden beds are susceptible to extreme temperatures. This is so because the soil gains or loses heat faster than ground soil. Liners prevent extreme changes in temperatures.

Liners can prevent your soil from cracking and drying in extremely hot conditions preventing root damage from late spring frosts or night time cold. They can prevent your plants from getting too hot or too cold.

• Helps with Soil Retention

Liners prevent soil erosion especially when your raised garden bed has holes or gaps. Lining the bottom of your raised bed will drain excess water into the ground while retaining good soil in the garden bed.

• Helps Prevent Weed Growth

Raised garden bed liners ensure that the seeds are separated from the weeds. Birds, other animals, and the wind can still bring weeds into your raised garden beds. However, weeds cannot survive in cloth or plastic liners and will, therefore, completely get rid of them.

• Drives away Pests

Pests such as gophers and moles can damage plants. Liners can keep these digging creatures away from your plants because they will not be able to dig through the liner.

• Prevents Chemicals from Reaching the Plants

Raised garden beds are often made of untreated wood panels. This means chemicals can leak and get into the soil and into your food if you plant vegetables. A garden bed liner is a protective material that prevents chemicals from leaking into the soil and vegetables.

Final Thoughts

Plastic is commonly used as liners for raised garden beds because it is cheap. You can use any kind of plastic you can find in your home. If you are, however, planting vegetables, it is better to use food-safe plastic.

Any kind of plastic makes a good weed barrier. It is not very good for drainage but you can drill holes through the plastic.

Plastic stops the germination of weeds and can last for many years.

Should I line my raised bed with plastic? Yes, you can!

Jenny Marie
Tribal Writer

Edited By
Patricia Godwin

Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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