The Complete Guide to Lining Your Garden Bed Like a Pro

So you’ve built some beautiful new raised garden beds in your yard. Make a frame for them now, then fill them with healthy soil and your favorite plants and vegetables.

Lining a garden bed might sound complicated but it’s actually pretty straightforward once you understand the basics. In this complete guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know to line your garden beds and get growing!

Why Line a Garden Bed?

Lining a garden bed provides some major benefits

  • It helps retain moisture in the soil so you don’t have to water as often. The liner acts as a barrier to prevent water seepage.

  • It inhibits weed growth. Tiny weed seeds in the ground below can poke up through unlined beds. A liner blocks them.

  • It keeps the soil loose and aerated. Beds without liners compact over time. Liners prevent this.

  • It protects wood from rotting. Exposed wood edges on raised beds will deteriorate faster. A liner protects the wood.

So in short, lining your beds makes them much more efficient and productive for growing plants!

What to Use to Line Garden Beds

If you want to line your garden beds, you can either use fabric or plastic:

Landscape Fabric

This is a porous, woven or non-woven fabric sold at gardening stores for lining beds. The benefits are:

  • Allows water, air and nutrients to permeate through to roots, so drainage isn’t impacted.

  • Keeps soil loose without compressing. Roots can spread easily.

  • Prevents weeds from sprouting up from below. Blocks light needed for seeds to germinate.

  • Helps retain moisture in soil, reducing water needs. But doesn’t pool water like plastic can.

  • Lets beneficial worms and insects move in and out of soil. Avoids problems plastic can cause.

  • Available in rolls of various widths to fit any size bed. Easy to cut to length.

Plastic Sheeting

Some gardeners opt for thick plastic sheeting or tarps from home improvement stores. Benefits are:

  • Effective at blocking weed growth and retaining moisture in soil.

  • Cheap and readily available.

  • Comes in large sizes to handle big beds.

  • Can simply be laid out in bed and held down with soil on top.

However, plastic has some downsides to consider:

  • Doesn’t allow air and water flow from below like landscape fabric. Can lead to overly soggy soil.

  • Can compress and suffocate soil over time. Not great for plant root growth.

  • Prevents entry of beneficial worms and insects from the ground up. They get trapped.

  • Can promote fungal diseases with moisture build up.

  • Not as durable as fabric, may need replacement overtime.

So unless you need an ultra-budget option, landscape fabric is generally the best choice for lining raised garden beds.

How to Line a Garden Bed with Landscape Fabric

Lining your raised beds with landscape fabric is a simple process:

Gather Your Materials

  • Landscape fabric with width to fit your beds
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Staple gun with 3/8″ – 1/2″ staples
  • Flat shovel

Cut Fabric to Length

  • Lay fabric roll out along bed edge. Allow 12″ excess to account for pull and stapling.
  • Cut fabric to match length of your bed using scissors or utility knife.

Secure Fabric in Place

  • Fold excess 12″ of fabric over inner side edges of bed frame.
  • Use staple gun to secure folded-over fabric to bed frame every 6-12 inches.
  • Staple fabric tightly from end-to-end to keep it taught and in place.

Cover Outer Edges with Soil

  • Lay fabric out flat across the bottom of the bed, stretched neat and smooth.
  • Use flat shovel to cover outer fabric edges on each side with 2-3 inches of soil.
  • This further secures fabric and prevents pull out when filling rest of bed.

And that’s it – your garden bed is now lined and ready for filling with soil and planting! Properly lined beds will give you great drainage and prevent weeds and compaction.

Always be sure to use high-quality soil, fertilize when needed, and replenish mulch annually to get the most out of your lined raised garden beds. Happy growing!

Extra Tips for Lining Garden Beds Like a Pro

Here are some additional pro tips for lining garden beds like an expert:

  • When securing fabric, overlap seams by at least 6 inches and double-staple for durability. This prevents tears.

  • For wooden beds, staple fabric to upper inner frames rather than outer boards. This allows you to replace rotten outer boards easily.

  • In low areas prone to sinking, lay landscape fabric over sheet of hardware cloth to reinforce it. The rigid grid helps support weight.

  • Cut X-shaped slits in fabric when planting transplants. This lets you thread plant roots through fabric openings without disturbing liner position.

  • Layering 2-3 inches of gravel below landscape fabric improves drainage in problem wet areas. Fabric keeps soil from mixing into gravel.

  • With careful placement of bricks or pavers on fabric, you can create stepping stone garden pathways that won’t compress your planted bed soil.

  • When planting seeds directly in lined beds, use a hoe or trowel to open and close small slits in fabric. This exposes soil without shifting the entire liner.

  • For quick temporary beds, old cotton sheets or burlap bags work nicely too. Biodegradable and blocks weeds well when new.

Harrod Horticultural Wooden Raised Beds & Liners


What should I line my garden bed with?

Depending on your budget and gardening goals, you can line the bottom of your raised garden beds with wide-mesh hardware cloth, stainless steel mesh, landscape fabric, burlap sack, or newspaper/cardboard.

How do you line up a garden bed?

If you are creating a new bed, you’ll need to use a garden hose to mark your desired lines. If you are freshening up an existing bed, you can jump right in. Method 1: The traditional way to do this is to use either a spade or a half-moon edger to move along the line you’ve set out.

What is the cheapest way to line a garden bed?

You Can Use a Layer of Cardboard at the Bottom of Raised Beds to Prevent Weeds. If your budget doesn’t allow for weed barrier cloth, you can add several layers of cardboard to the bottom of your raised bed before filling it with soil. The cardboard will decompose in about 4 to 6 months.

What should I line my planter box with?

Plastic sheeting is the best material for lining a planter with. Pond liners work well for lining the bottom of planters as they are robust and can easily be shaped into the perfect size to fit the dimensions of your planter. Pond liners are also thick enough to reduce any evaporation of water from the soil.

Should I line my raised garden bed?

Why Line Your Raised Garden Bed? It is recommended that you line your raised garden bed, as it has more pros than cons. With a liner for your raised garden bed, it can insulate soil against intense temperatures, along with keeping moles and gophers out and preventing weeds from coming in.

How do you line a raised bed?

Then, use a water-permeable material (such as canvas) to line the bottom of your raised bed. This dual liner setup has two benefits: the canvas liner allows water to drain out the bottom of the raised bed. the plastic liner on the sides prevents chemicals from getting into the soil from pressure-treated wood.

Do you need a garden liner for a raised garden bed?

Lining a raised garden bed is vital for ensuring weed suppression and proper water drainage while optimizing plant growth. By following our step-by-step guide, you can successfully line your raised garden bed using a gardening liner.

How do I set up a raised garden bed?

One crucial step in setting up a raised garden bed is lining it properly. Lining prevents weeds and invasive roots from infiltrating the soil while also assisting with water drainage. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through all the necessary steps to line your raised garden bed effectively.

Leave a Comment