I'm rebuilding a couple of sections of a raised bed that has rotted out.

The sides and ends are essentially simple 2x4 frames, which I will build out of Western red cedar. I have a choice of using seasoned (air/kiln dried) or "green" (not dried) lumber.

I know for most types of projects not to use green wood due to dimensional stability issues. However, for this application, which will be in ground contact and well watered, it seems like there would be no disadvantage to green wood.

Question: Is there a reason to prefer dried lumber for this?

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2 Answers 2


Use whatever is cheapest since you will be rebuilding them again and again and again. Untreated wood in dirt rots, period.

One advantage is you can take all that bleached, rotted wood out to the curb and post it on craigslist and the "artistes" in the area will come a-running for it so you won't have to pay to throw it away.

  • Yep. Agree with Ted, no point in paying for dried wood when you're just gunna make it wet again in a raise bed. Get the cheapest stuff you can find, like Ted said. Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 21:39

Green wood warps, dried wood doesn't. Warped sidewalls on a raised bed will let soil fall out onto the ground, which will probably cause you some issues and require you to refill your beds, either from the soil that's now on the ground or from another source. In general, you can expect to get a minimum of five years from cedar in contact with soil, and sometimes as many as ten years; you'll get much less from pine or other untreated woods (see here for more details).

If cost is no object, you may want to consider recycled plastic "boards" for your raised beds. Also, you can purchase metal corners like these that make rebuilding the beds easier. (Note - I am not affiliated with this site).

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