Asked on Mar 14, 2015

Has anyone ever done this? Cedar bookcase turned into raised bed

by Carole
I picked up a large, old, bashed up cedar timber bookcase. No wood chip here - proper cedar. I knocked the backboard off and laid it on the mulch in the garden. I put garden rocks in the base for drainage. I am planning to use it to plant ornamental. Not vegetable as I don't know what might leach out of the stained timber and into the soil and thus in the edibles. So ornamental only. The depth is about 30 inches which should be deep enough to plants some flowers and maybe grow from see. Anyone used a book case frame before to make a raised garden bed and if so, how long before it fell apart? Thanks.
  5 answers
  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Mar 14, 2015
    I have never done anything like that. But I would be curious to see it. I hope you will post some pictures.

  • Ashley Freeman Ashley Freeman on Mar 14, 2015
    Cedar holds up good to the elements--that is why people use it for shingles and siding. If you want it to last a really long time put a few coats of spar varnish on it. Spar varnish is really shiny and is what they use on boats so it can withstand the water.

  • Pgl Pgl on Mar 14, 2015
    Go to your library and get the book Lasagna Gardening this will answer your questions and tell you the best way to prepare your soil and no there should not be any problem of contamination from the wood.

  • Winter Winter on Mar 17, 2015
    I actually found 2 cedar stair treads somebody threw out (they were perfect). I used them on each end for my raised garden bed. They were so gorgeous wet that I hated to prime them but they are still holding up after 2 years.

    • Carole Carole on Mar 17, 2015
      @Winter Thanks so much for your post. That was my main concern. I am going to fill with soil and plant with ornamentals but was concerned the wet and cold weather would take a toll and it would just fall apart on me. Sounds like it is stronger than that. At the moment it just looks like a book case laid on the ground, but once the soil and plants are in , it should look like a proper raised timber bed.

  • Alexa Cass Alexa Cass on Feb 20, 2021

    I have two made from cheap pine bookcases from my childhood ( which was a little while ago 😄) Still holding up after 2 years and they had already been stored outdoors for years.