Do I need to seal my garden box? Can I stain or paint it?
These are excellent questions that we get all the time. There are a wide variety of products available today that can be applied to wood to help it look its best. Here we’ll go into a few of them and talk about your options to protect your cedar garden box.
Option #1 – No Treatment or Stain
We make all Backyard Boxes Garden Box products with 100% cedar. Oils naturally occurring in cedar help the wood resist rot and deter pests like termites. This helps cedar last longer than other woods when exposed to the elements.
If left untreated, you’ll notice a few changes to your garden box. Over time your box will gray, starting with the areas of the box most exposed to sun and rain. Despite this, your garden box should continue to stay strong and hold its shape for several years. Just like an old, gray fence your Backyard Boxes Garden Boxes will continue to support your garden long after it develops an “aged” look.
Option #2 – Clear Waterproofer
For those who love the look of aged cedar but want to help keep their boxes as strong as possible as long as possible, we recommend applying a clear, non-toxic waterproofer like Penetrating Water Proofer Infused With Juniper from Vermont Natural Coatings. Waterproofer will keep water out of the wood, lengthening its lifespan. UV rays from the sun will gray the wood leaving the garden box to reach an “aged gray” look over time while keeping the wood strong.
Waterproofer should be reapplied every 1-2 years.
Option #3 – Non-Toxic Stain
As an alternative to the natural cedar color, a wide variety of stains can be applied to your Backyard Boxes Garden Box. We recommend a non-toxic stain like PolyWhey Exterior Penetrating Wood Stain from Vermont Natural Coatings. Most stains will include a waterproofer and UV protector so you won’t need to seal the garden bed after staining.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for applying and reapply every 2-3 years.
Option #4 – Other Products
There are a wide variety of products available for staining or sealing wood, but most of them will have chemicals that can seep into your soil and veggies. Fence & deck sealers, paint and most stains typically available at your local hardware or big box store are typically chemical-based. Though the amount of chemical that may ultimately be present in your veggies as a result of these products is likely small, we recommend avoiding them if you plan on growing food in your Backyard Boxes Garden Boxes.