Olle Garden Bed Review: Firsthand Set-Up Experience

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Photo showing pre-assembled pieces and a finished bed for Olle Garden bed reviews.

Raised beds are perfect for gardeners facing challenging conditions, like poor native soil or a lack of space for a traditional in-ground garden plot. I have both of these on my own property, so I’ve used a variety of raised beds, 5-gallon buckets, and pots over the years.

When Olle Garden reached out and asked if I would be willing to test one of their 12-in-1 modular raised beds, I was happy to say yes and add my own experience to the Olle Garden bed reviews online.

We recently pulled some scraggly bushes from our yard, creating space for a new raised bed. So today, I’ll show you every step of how I assembled the Olle Garden bed and filled it in preparation for planting.

Let’s get started!

RELATED: Vego Garden is another option for raised metal garden beds. Find out my opinion on whether Vego Garden beds are worth the money!

What’s In the Box

An upopened Olle Garden metal raised bed box.

Today I’m reviewing the Olle Garden 12-in-1 modular raised bed. Our garden kit included:

  • 4 20-inch flat panels
  • 4 16-inch flat panels
  • 4 corner panels
  • A clip-on protective strip
  • A bag with nuts, bolts, and washers
  • Instruction sheet
  • Product sheet
The contents of an Olle Garden metal raised bed kit box.

As the name implies, you can choose one of 12 configurations for your bed’s shape. A couple of examples would be 40 in. x 80 in. (this is the one I chose) 44 in. x 76 in. , and 60 in. x 60 in. Some configuration options don’t use all the panel pieces, so they’re ideal if you want to build a smaller bed.

My bed is the color Sage Green, but Olle Garden also offers other color choices:

  • Ivory
  • Barn Red
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Midnight Grey

Olle Garden also offers galvanized raised beds in other sizes and shape options, including a 32-inch tall 12-in-1 bed, round beds, and a rectangular infinity bed you can add as many panels as you wish to make it whatever size you want. If you’re interested in checking these out for yourself, here’s a link to the full list of Olle Garden products. You can also check out some Olle beds on Amazon as well.

Olle makes their gardens from 24 gauge steel panels and stainless steel nuts, bolts, and washers. Each panel has a wave shape with three layers. The central layer is made of 8mm solid steel, and galvanized layers coated with Alzunic (a zinc/aluminum alloy) are on both the inside and outside of the steel layer.

The galvanized layers form a rust barrier that protects the steel from moisture and the elements. And much like a zinc sunscreen works by reflecting the sun’s rays away from your skin, the zinc coating prevents the soil in your raised bed from getting too warm.

It’s the perfect solution to keep panels lightweight for easy assembly while also keeping your raised beds in good condition for the long term.

Preparing for Assembly

Each panel comes with a protective plastic sheet on both sides to keep the panels from damage during shipping. I thought the plastic was pretty easy to get off, but it does definitely take some time to remove it.

A gardener removes the protective plastic film from the metal panels of an Olle Garden metal raised bed.

The Assembly Process

I started the assembly process with the side panels. The instructions say to overlap each panel in the same direction so that each new panel sits underneath the previous one. In the configuration I chose, the short side panels go in the center with a long one on either side.

A gardener prepares to join two panels of an Olle Garden metal raised bed.

Line up the pre-drilled holes and lay the washer on the outer side of the panel. Then insert the bolt and secure it with the nut on the panel’s inner side.

While putting the panels together was very easy, do use care around the holes- a few of them had sharpish edges. I also used a garden kneeling pad during assembly- that made a huge difference in my comfort during the process, so I highly recommend it.

A gardener assembles the side panels of an Olle Garden metal raised bed.
A gardener screws on nuts to secure screws on an Olle Garden metal raised bed.
Side panels of an Olle Garden metal raised bed joined with screws and washers.
Assembled end panels of an Olle Garden metal raised bed.
Assembled side and end panels for an Olle Garden metal raised bed.

After you get all the panels together, attach the ends to the sides to form the complete bed. I hand-tightened each bolt as I went and then used a drill to give each one a final tightening after assembling the entire bed.

Once the bed panels are put together, it’s time to clip on the protective upper strip. This seals off any sharp panel corners and helps keep everything tight and in line. The plastic strip is sturdy and somewhat rigid and takes a little effort to get it clipped down, especially over areas where two panels overlap.

A gardener adds the protective black strip to the top of an Olle Garden metal raised bed.

One thing that was a little disappointing is that the strip was about 6 inches too short to reach all the way around the bed. But the good news is that all I had to do was reach out to Olle Garden via email, and they immediately sent out a new strip that I received in just a few days. So I really appreciated the company’s commitment to quickly making it right!

Black protective strip roughly 6 inches short of reaching all the way around an Olle Garden metal raised bed.

How Long Does It Take to Assemble an Olle Garden Metal Raised Bed?

It took about 2 hours from opening the box to getting the bed fully assembled. But I was working on an April afternoon that intermittently spit sleet and snow, so I had to take a few breaks.

If you had two people working together, I think you’d be able to get it assembled in about 1 hour or so.

Filling an Olle Garden Raised Bed

I decided to fill my raised with lots of salvaged organic material, in a spin on the Hugelkultur method. I did the entire process over a few days- I just added a new layer when I got my hands on the material.

Make sure the area where you’ll have your bed is level. I used a couple bags of topsoil for this:

Topsoil used to level the site of an Olle Garden metal raised bed.

Then I laid down a layer of cardboard as a weed barrier:

A cardboard layer as a weed barrier in the bottom of an Oller Garden metal raised bed.

Some of the Olle Garden packing pieces are perfect for this- just make sure you remove all plastic tape and labels.

Next came a layer of wood pieces:

Olle Garden raised metal bed with a layer of wood pieces.

Don’t use newly-cut wood for this; new wood absorbs nitrogen from the soil for a year or two, leaving your plants potentially lacking. So aged wood that’s past the nitrogen-robbing phase is ideal, and if you can get some chunks that are already partially rotted, that’s the best of all.

A layer of straw went on top of the wood:

Olle Garden raised metal bed with a layer of straw.

Finally, I topped all that off with about 6-8 inches of soil. This is a garden soil blend that I ordered in bulk from a local company. It is a mix of black soil, sand, and compost:

Olle Garden raised metal bed filled with soil and ready for planting.

Do not put straight soil you’ve dug up from the ground into your raised bed, and don’t use commercial products labeled “topsoil” or “garden soil.” These materials are far too heavy for a raised bed, and they will eventually compact down into a hard brick that no plants can grow in.

And now this bed is ready for planting. I set my bed up over a few days in late April and early May, and in my area, I won’t be planting warm-weather crops until closer to the end of May. And that’s fine- the soil will have a chance to settle a bit before then. Don’t feel like you have to plant your bed immediately; some people even like to set their beds up in the fall and allow them to rest and break down all winter long.

The Bottom Line: Are Olle Garden Metal Raised Beds Good?

After going through the preparation, assembly, and filling process, I am very pleased with Olle Garden raised bed.

What I like about it:

  • The instructions were clear and easy to follow
  • Food-safe, weather-proof, and heat-resistant galvanized finish
  • The modular design lets you tailor your bed’s shape to whatever space you have available
  • Each piece is high-quality and was well-protected by the packaging
  • Excellent and very responsive customer service
  • It’s lightweight and easy to move exactly where you want

A couple of minor concerns I had were that the finishing strip came up a few inches short (but Olle Garden was quick to send a new one) and that some of the holes were a little rough/sharp.

While the beds are a bit of a pricey investment, I found mine to be very sturdy and high-quality, and I expect it to last for many growing seasons. To make things a little more affordable, Olle Garden runs frequent sales.

If there’s not a sale currently running, I’ve got another money-saving option that’s exclusive for Seeds and Spades readers. Use our coupon code, SEEDSANDSPADES10, to get 10% off your order.

And as of the time this post was published, shipping is free on all orders to the contiguous United States.

Frequently Asked Questions about Olle Garden Raised Beds

Olle Garden products are made in China. The company headquarters is in California, and the customer service is also U.S.-based.

Galvanized metal garden beds are among the most durable materials you can use. If they’re built from high-quality components and are well cared-for, they may last up to 15 years.

Galvanized steel is coated in a zinc-based material, and zinc could leach into the soil if the coating is damaged or wears away. But the risk of that happening is minimal, and galvanized metal garden beds are widely considered very safe.

Final Thoughts

I hope my Olle Garden bed review has helped you make a decision on whether this bed belongs in your garden. I am happy to give this bed a good review and recommend it to home gardeners.

I’d love to hear from you! Do you have any questions about Olle Garden, setting the bed up, or how to fill it that I didn’t cover? I’m happy to answer any questions I can, so please feel free to share in the comments!

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