It’s no secret that raised garden beds and planter boxes have gained popularity over the past few years. It’s likely due to the rise in condominiums, smaller backyards, alternative living spaces, increased work hours, or the fast-paced society we live in! That’s where planters become the MVP; they compensate for busy schedules, smaller spaces, and new-to-the-game gardeners. With so many new companies, brands, or styles, how do you know which planter box or raised garden bed is the right choice for you? There are actually a lot of things you can consider before making your purchase. This article a check-list of things to look for; all the research you need is here:
Who is the company, and what are their values and goals?
We are living in a special time that is focused on supporting small businesses, as well as prioritizing our own health and wellness. This is likely why you want to start your own garden, and are looking for the perfect planter! There are recent studies that show how surrounding ourselves with plants helps us to feel calm and happy, and how eating produce from our own garden is great for our health. An example company that is very upfront about their values and goals is Cedar Planters, a small, family-run, business, whose main goal was to create a product to provide customers with all of the above, “Our planters provide a beautiful home to your very own vegetables and herbs, or beautiful flowers and plants. We use materials that are locally sourced from other small businesses. It makes us happy to know all of our products are created within a community. [Additionally,] we are always working to reduce our waste and choose sustainable products.”
What is the company's story? How did they start and what steps to improve and grow, have they made?
You want to choose a company that has the best interest of the consumer in mind. Are they growing alongside their customers? Are they adjusting and adapting in order to keep the customers needs at the forefront of their decision-making? Cedar Planters started out making a standard size of raised garden beds, but quickly learned through various custom orders that everyone has unique planting and gardening needs, “We quickly expanded our standard size raised garden beds to a variety of sizes to meet those needs. We also realized how our style of cedar and steel planters can really elevate the front aesthetic of a home. This lead us to introducing our plant pots in two different heights. We will always work hard to improve our techniques, search for innovative design features, and take our clients' voices to heart. We will always provide custom designs and orders, to make sure we can bring your visions, hopes, and dreams to life. As long as our business is growing, we will grow along with it.”
Keep your eye out for a small business with handcrafted products & unique designs
A great thing to look for when browsing the various planters available, is a planter that is handcrafted locally. Often these smaller businesses pay attention to detail, use durable materials, and put a tremendous amount of care behind the design and execution of their products. Better yet, a locally designed and made planter will set itself a part from those made by bigger corporations. Cedar Planters has a unique planter style that gives your space a vibrant yet modern aesthetic. Their products enhance the beauty of your space, “making something aesthetically pleasing was very important to us, because we appreciate how people take pride in their homes.” The planters are designed to give customers the opportunity to flex their creativity and love of design, in their exterior spaces. The appearance of the planters allows you to create an oasis that you, your family, and your friends can enjoy. They allow you to grow your own veggies and herbs, without compromising the beauty of your backyard, “we wanted the planters to match the beauty of the plants that are planted in them.”
Check the website of the company to see what materials they use to make their productsSome things to look for when purchasing your planter are:
1) Is it locally sourced and sustainable?
2) What materials and processes are used to ensure durable quality and long lasting products?
3) Are you choosing products that avoid choosing pressure-treated woods (chemically harmful to plants), non-durable woods such as pine (will warp, shrink, and swell in weather changes), as well as hardware that isn’t durable?
4) Does the company have environmentally-conscious processes in place for manufacturing their products?
Cedar Planters puts a lot of time into choosing locally sourced, sustainable, and durable materials. If other companies’ planters you are looking at don’t utilize similar materials and processes, you might want to reconsider. Here are some great examples of building practices to look out for:
- Cedar Planters: “We use materials that are locally sourced from other small businesses. We work with a variety of amazing humans to ensure quality, and to know our products are created within a community. We work hard to reduce waste and be sustainable in a variety of ways. We use materials that are locally sourced from other small businesses. We work with a variety of amazing humans to ensure quality, and to know our products are created within a community. We work hard to reduce waste and be sustainable in a variety of ways, such as reducing our energy use, utilizing all of our materials, powder coating instead of painting, using eco-friendly products, as well as purchasing from and supporting other sustainable businesses."
- Cedar Planters: "We use a process called ‘Powder Coating’ to coat our steel legs. Powder coating is an environmentally friendly finishing choice, containing no solvents and releasing virtually no VOCs into the atmosphere. It uses less energy and creates a reduced environmental impact. This means a minimized need for air pollution control equipment, less carbon dioxide emissions, no hazardous waste disposal, and no need for primers that can contain toxic carcinogenic properties. Powder coating is quicker, uses less energy through recycling heated air, and creates a reduced environmental impact. We also powder coat our steel legs to provide a durable and quality finish that is more resistant to chipping, scratching, fading, and wearing."
- Cedar Planters: "We use cedar for all of our products. ‘Western Red Cedar’ is a nontoxic material safe for your plants. It has beautiful natural colours and grain, as well as a wonderful aroma. Cedar thrives in damp climates withstanding many conditions, resisting rot and not shrinking, swelling, warping, or decaying in weather changes. A fun fact is that cedar is a natural insect repellent, protecting your garden from unwanted critters."
Try to stick to companies that are smaller and less corporate! Here's why:
It is actually really important to choose small businesses when making your purchasing decisions! Small business supports small business: companies such as Cedar Planters sell products that use other small businesses for their materials. This helps to keep other businesses thriving and creates more jobs locally, as well. When you shop small, you get the opportunity to know someone’s story. You are purchasing from a one-of-a-kind shop, buying interesting products, and meeting interesting people. When you purchase from Cedar Planters your order is packaged by the owners, you communicate with them about your order, and if they deliver it locally to you, you’re actually meeting them as well. If you can go to a website and see the faces of and stories behind the company, that is a really special thing! Making that personal connection and getting to know the store owners is a great reason to shop small.
This also means that you are getting top product knowledge. Small business owners are well informed about their products and know what they are selling and what goes into making it. They have a great handle on who their customers are and can easily adjust their inventories to include the goods people want to buy, even if that means custom orders, adding "add-on" options, or adjusting the style of their products. When you shop small, that means you can get an expert opinion about the products that you’re purchasing. Cedar Planters encourages customers to call, text, email, or chat with them on their website while choosing their products, or afterwards to check in on the status. Small business owners are great resources to ask questions and get advice about the products from.
How many times have you shopped with a big corporation and had a terrible experience, or no experience because you can’t get a hold of anyone with the company? Shopping small means getting a better experience. It can mean a quicker delivery, better sale, easy and happy communication with customer service reps, and creating a lasting positive connection. When you shop with Cedar Planters, you have twenty-four-seven access to the owners, you get personal local deliveries, and receive hand-written notes in each shipped box. This also means overall better service. Small business owners do what they do because they are passionate about their products, and want to get to know their customers. Cedar Planters will go the extra mile to help their customers and ensure they are satisfied.