The geometry of raised beds in a garden is enough to win me over. Here's a collection of pre-made (for us hammer-shy types) raised garden beds, all crafted of long-wearing, mold-resistant cedar, that come fully assembled or in easy-to-assemble kits.
Why use raised garden beds? First, the growing season is longer as the soil stays warmer. It is also easy to extend it's growing time by placing a cold frame over the raised garden bed (see "Cold Frames in the Garden"). Second, raised beds offer healthy and easily controlled soil conditions with enhanced soil aeration and better drainage. Many claim that raised garden beds produce up to two times as much as ground beds. Weed control and pest control (see "The Ultimate Kitchen Garden" for tips for keeping slugs out of your raised beds) is easier. And, lastly, accessibility is easier for the urban farmer. Most raised are no more than 4 feet wide so you can reach into it without stepping into it.
Above: Crafted of FSC certified cedar by a Los Angeles-based company, the MinifarmBox 4-foot Square Raised Bed Kit and the MinifarmBox 4-by-8-foot Raised Garden Kit are $158 and $378 respectively at Grow Organic. Height and length extenders are also available.
Above: Farmer D Organics Rectangular Raised Garden Bed Kit is crafted of FSC certified red cedar and measures 3-by-6 feet; $199.95 at Williams Sonoma. Two smaller sized square kits are also available.
Above: Here's a partial-DIY solution. Designed to simplify the process of assembling a raised bed garden, the Scout Regalia Raised Bed Garden Kit includes all the hardware needed to build a raised bed. You supply the wood, plants, and labor. The kit includes powder coated heavy gauge steel corner and center brackets, screws and instructions; $95.
Above: Built in Vermont of cedar with aluminum corners, Gardener's Supply Cedar Raised Garden Beds come in many sizes ranging from 2-by-2 foot up to 4-by-12 feet; $44.95 to $190 depending on size.
Above: The 3-by-8-foot Cedarbrook Cedar Raised Garden Bed Kit includes interlocking red cedar boards with pre-drilled holes to accommodate easy-to-insert aluminum rods at the corners; $210 at Cedarbrook.
For more inspiration see "Steal This Look: Michelle Obama's White House Garden."