A raised bed doesn't have to be edged with traditional wooden planks held together with corner braces. Make the edges of your raised beds as distinctive as you are by choosing less conventional materials. You can also repurpose, recycle and reuse items from your house or your neighborhood.
The Recycled Route
Rummage around the recycling bin, visit a used building material store or watch online freebie listings to score free materials. Upside-down bottles make a whimsical and unconventional edge, while used brick will look established next to new plants. Try using leftover tile to decorate or cap plain cinder blocks. If you'd rather buy materials, you can buy plastic lumber manufactured from recycled plastic that's rot resistant, comes in a variety of colors and can be worked with conventional woodworking tools.
The Natural Market
Gather natural materials from around you to make your raised bed. Stone from an old collapsing wall would make a solid border for raised beds, or thick tree branches that fell during a storm would do a good job retaining the soil. Thin, flexible branches that were recently pruned can be woven together to form a solid barrier and edge. Make sure it's legal or that you have permission before you take items.
The Manufactured Way
When a trip to the masonry, lumber or home improvement store is all you have time for, or the creative genius has not descended, choose from an endless variety of manufactured edging specifically made for raised beds. From metal to concrete to plastic or wood, there's a variety of styles and price ranges. If you are looking for materials with staying power, concrete block is hard to beat. If ease of installation and budget are your main concerns, plastic will work. If you want a traditional yard, use lumber.
The Unconventional Approach
Classic raised beds create a neatly laid out garden. But you can also think outside the box and use a large weatherproof container. Drill a few holes in the bottom of a galvanized tub and bury it a few inches into the ground. Or, use an old plastic kiddie pool or wooden cart.