Are you trying to figure out if Vego Garden Beds or Birdies Beds are the right garden beds for you. Watch this video or continue reading below to find out my initial thoughts in assembling both beds.
Choosing A Raised Garden Bed
When I was trying to decide on new garden beds, I couldn’t make up my mind. Should I choose a Vego Garden Bed or a Birdies Raised Bed?
I’d purchased flimsy garden beds before and I didn’t want to spend $300 on something that wouldn’t hold up. But I couldn’t find a review anywhere online that was comparing Vego vs Birdies in a head-to-head comparison.
Both beds touted the primary feature I wanted – height. It was important for me to have beds that were about waist high to make planting, tending, and harvesting my gardens easier. I chose to use all the panels that were included and built the beds to be as similarly sized as possible. My first raised garden bed is made of cedar and galvanized panels and while it’s still sturdy, it looks pretty ragged after two years in the Florida sun.
So instead of wondering any longer, I bought both beds myself – and put them to the test and created a comparison video to start my Michelle in the Meadow YouTube Channel.
Do Birdies Garden Beds Rust
Birdies Garden bed panels are designed not to rust. After 18 months in my garden, there is no rust on garden bed.
Where are Birdies Garden Beds Manufactured?
Birdies Garden Beds are manufactured in Australia. Their brand that has had beds in the Australian sun for over 14 years. They are a proven company with time on their side.
Where are Vego Garden Beds Manufactured?
Vego is a newer company based in the US, and their beds are currently made in China. Since they are newer to the market only time will tell how the beds hold up in the harsh gardening environment. I will continue making follow-up garden bed videos so that you can watch the progress of the comparisons of the Birdies vs Vego beds.
When I purchased my raised garden beds in December 2021, these were the features of the beds I received. Older versions or future versions may be different based on the decisions of the companies.
Vego Garden vs Birdies Comparison
Vego Garden Raised Bed
Birdies Raised Bed
|Model||Extra Tall 9-in1||Tall 8 in 1|
|6.5 ft x 3.5 ft||6.9 ft x 3.6 ft|
|Planting Area||22.75 square feet||24.78 square feet|
|Number of Panels Used||12 (all)||10 (all)|
|Screws||72 – food safe 304 stainless steel|
6 screws per panel connection
|100 – zinc plated |
10 screws per panel connection
|Screw Configuration*||every other rib|
screw, washer, nut with
caps for top two rows
flanged screw, nut
|Safety Edging Strip||Rubberized with Metal Reinforcement|
Company is updating to VZ 2.0 (more)
|Aluzinc galvanized 24-gauge steel|
Australian Made Steel
|Purchased from||Vego – Manufacturer||Epic Gardening – US Distributor|
Comparing Vego Garden vs Birdies
I made the intentional decision to assemble these beds without any help, which meant a few struggles along the way – but those struggles were “builder errors” and not the fault of either bed. I feel accomplished in completing the beds by myself – but next time I will definite solicit help.
My Biggest Assembly Mistakes
The toughest part for me on both the Vego garden bed and the Birdies raised bed was getting the lower rows of screws and nuts in place. I lifted the beds up on a raised surface to reach underneath, but next time I will have some one help me simply flip the bed over so I can easily reach the last rows of screws for tightening.
Cutting the safety edging too short. If I had it to do all over again, I would not cut the edging for either bed until it had been in the sun for a week or two and had time to settle in. For both beds I “stretched” the material on during cold weather and cut it the same day. Geeky Gardens suggests not stretching, rather compressing it to get as much of the edging on as you can. The Birdies raised bed safety edging shrank by about an inch, and Kevin from Epic Gardening has since weighed in on the topic letting me know that their working on a solution.
Best Ideas During Assembly
Using a raised surface to connect the panels made the assembly process so much easier. If I had a 6-foot table it would have been even easier. Big thanks to The Gardening Channel with James Prigioni for the suggestion in one of his videos
I did not remove the plastic from the panels for the assembly, I only pulled back the edges so I could connect the panels. I believe it makes it easier to remove the plastic from both beds after assembly.
Vego Garden Bed Review
The box arrived promptly, and I was impressed with the interior packaging that helped protect the panels from bending during shipping. But, because the Vego Beds are currently made in China, I was skeptical about the thickness of the material. I was pleased to find that the panels were thick and comparable to what I thought the Birdies material would be. (I’ve since purchased an electronic caliper – and the two-bed panel thickness differences are negligible).
Vego has designed the width of their panels to offer one more configuration than the Birdies beds, but for me, that didn’t matter — I simply wanted to build them to look as similar as possible. Because of this size difference, it takes all 12 panels, which means assembling two more panels than the Birdies with a similar configuration. This also means that you have to pay attention to your panel configuration before assembly – or you could end up with a narrow panel where you should have a wider one.
Also, because Vego has two narrower panels on the side – they offer up to 4 braces that can be used. I used them all.
The Vego garden bed assembles with a screw, washer, and nut – in every other rib, for the total raised bed construction that was 72 screws in all.
Overall the assembly was no more difficult than I expected, though I did fumble more working along and dealing with both a washer and nut when joining the panels.
Birdies Garden Bed Review
The shipment from Epic Gardening arrived promptly, too. When I opened the box, I found that the corners of the panels had been bent in shipping. (See comments from Kevin below – they have addressed this problem with new packaging) That said, it was easy enough to bend back – and the bend doesn’t affect the integrity of the bed.
All the side panels were the same width for the Birdies raised bed I purchased, so it was easy to put the right panels in the right place. Birdies has only one-panel connection in the center – so they had two interior support braces.
The flanged screw and nut combination was a little easier to manage for my hands. I learned later that the ridges on there would have made it possible to tighten without grasping so tightly.
Overall the assembly was similar to the Vego experience, just with more screws. Birdies offer a screw for each rib – making it 100 screws for the full raised bed assembly.
Comments from the Epic Gardening and Vego
After I created my video – both companies weighed in with their comments. I think it’s only fair to you – to read what each company had to say themselves.
Birdies Raised Garden Beds
The comment below was from Kevin at Epic Gardening – in its entirety
Hey Michelle – Fantastic video, thanks for doing this comparison! One of the best reviews I’ve seen of our product. A few factual notes for additional information:
– We’ve improved the interior packaging, specifically on that Tall 8-in-1 model you ordered, so corner damage should be much less of an issue going forward. Your method for bending back was perfect, though!
– We use stainless steel bolts, and zinc-plated nuts for our hardware. You’ll notice Vego uses 1/2 as many bolts** but does use full stainless steel hardware. This is basically a sacrifice in bed stability for the absolute longevity of hardware. Our zinc-plated nuts will oxidize slightly, but it has no actual bed impact, just cosmetic, and on the inside of the bed buried in soil – nothing you will ever see.
– The angle of the corners on Birdies beds is sharper, meaning you get a higher interior square footage of growing space vs. Vego. Theirs are more rounded.
– The safety strip Birdies uses is a UV-stabilized vinyl, which stands up in temps from 0F-100F+. Vego uses a rubberized wire mesh type of strip. This is a type of strip that Birdies has used in the past, but it was discontinued due to the fact that it tends to degrade in high sun and heat environments. We have a few Florida customers who have used both, and the Vego strips have effectively disintegrated. The sacrifice we make here on the edging is that we’d rather use an edging that will hold up for many years being blasted by the sun, and we lose a bit on the “perfect fit” that the rubberized edging provides. But a perfect fit doesn’t matter much if the edging flakes away in 2-3 years.
– Birdies is the original inventor of this style of bed – Simon Bird came up with it 13 years ago and those original prototypes are actually still in his garden and holding up well. They use Australian-made steel, Australian labor, and no components come from China or potentially questionable factory environments. A big question for customers to ask themselves is: why is a bed made with dramatically cheaper labor and parts more expensive than the original Australian manufacturer, and which company is more likely to be there for you in 5-10 years when / if you need some help with your beds, need replacement parts, etc? Both Epic Gardening (we are the exclusive distributor) and Birdies plan to be here for many, many years to come – while the competitor products in Australia out of China have come and gone many times over a 13 year period. I expect the same to happen here in the USA.
All in all, a fantastic review and can’t thank you enough for doing such a detailed breakdown!
Keep on growing, Kevin
**NUMBERS CHECK – VEGO uses 72 screws, 6 per panel connection vs BIRDIES uses 100 screws ,10 per panel connection. Technically 40% less per panel connection and 28% fewer overall.
Vego Garden Metal Raised Beds
The comment below was from Sarah at Vego – in its entirety
Hi Michelle! Thank you so much for this insightful comparison! We appreciate the care and honesty you took reviewing your Vego Garden bed, and hope it serves you well in your garden. Some helpful notes and Vego updates for you and your viewers:
-Extra Height As for the height of our beds, we chose to add a few inches to industry-standard heights to give gardeners some extra root depth, and to make things just a bit more comfortable on your back while you’re gardening. When it comes time to fill your beds, we recommend the hügelkultur method to save some money on soil, reduce watering demand, and to help provide a biodiverse ecosystem deep inside your garden beds.
-Materials All of our hardware (bolts, washers, and cap nuts) are food safe, 304 grade stainless steel. We wanted to ensure our hardware would never corrode over time and was safe for growing organic veggies. The hardware placement alternating every other ridge is actually a new update to our 32” beds, and we are so glad you noticed! We did a lot of testing before making this update to ensure it wouldn’t impact the stability of the bed, and ultimately found no difference. So, the hardware has been reduced on our Extra Tall series to shorten assembly time and reduce waste. We include those cap nuts to ensure you never scratch your hands when digging into the beds, too.
–USDA-Certified Paint & Specialized Metal Finally, something you can’t see with the naked eye, is a difference in Vego’s material itself. Most metal garden beds on the market use something called Aluzic, which is where we started too, and it’s a great material, but we found some room to improve. Our newest generations of beds are made with a material we developed unique to Vego Garden. We call it VZ 2.0, a highly corrosion-resistant steel substrate, hot-dip-coated in a specialized layer of Zinc, Aluminum, and about 3% Magnesium. While Aluzinc is quite impervious, the addition of Magnesium to this formula revolutionizes the metal’s ability to resist corrosion, especially on cut or raw edges. Over time as a cut edge of the metal is exposed, the Zinc and Magnesium work together to form a protective film, sealing the exposed steel substrate and protecting it from rust and corrosion. With the addition of USDA certified paint, you really can’t beat our material. You can read more about it here: https://vegogarden.com/pages/feature-material
-Bye-bye Plastic Our plastic film is a pain, we know. It’s also not very sustainable. Since your purchase we have phased out the interior plastic, and are soon to update to a version that is much easier to peel. But keep an eye out, because we are planning to totally eliminate the plastic soon. We are in the final stages of testing some sustainable ways to achieve plastic-free beds without jeopardizing the beds’ condition in shipping.
-Innovation Something Vego offers that no one else does, is our patented line of customized add-ons like modular trellises, cover systems, elevated rolling beds, and more. These modular systems are totally unique to Vego Garden, which helps to differentiate us from other brands. Our hope is that by expanding our product line we can offer a premiere gardening experience to more people, simplify the process, and ultimately make gardening & sustainable living more accessible to everyone.
-Manufacturing With regard to our production, we want to let you know that we continue to work on moving our manufacturing right here to our home in the United States! While the supply chain and pandemic have made this challenging, we’ve been hard at work on it from the start, and are looking forward to having manufacturing close to home, not only for sustainability concerns, but also so that we can reduce fulfillment and shipping times for our customers. Our Vego roots are deep here in the Texas soil, and aren’t going anywhere.
-Give Back & Non-Profit Speaking of our deep Texas roots, we spend a lot of time investing in our communities through our Give Back Program. This is our non-profit program through which we donate beds to people and communities in need. Schools, individuals, community gardens, families, all benefit from this program. Let us know if you have any other questions or curiosities, and in the meantime happy gardening!
– Sarah, on behalf of Vego Garden
So, Which Raised Garden Bed Would I Choose Next Time?
I went into this review believing there would be a clear winner. From a quality standpoint during assembly, these beds are neck and neck.
- I fumbled with the washers on Vego Garden Bed
- I was frustrated that the Birdies Raised Bed safety edging shrank
- The garden bed panels assembled similarly for both Vego and Birdies
- The colors are almost identical
- The panels are comparable in thickness
Birdies has been making beds for 13+ years and are offering some new styles of raised garden beds. Their 8 in 1 offers 2 more square feet that the Vego – which means more food production opportunity – perhaps an extra row or two of lettuce.
Vego followed up their initial beds by developing all kinds of accessories, trellises, and even a rolling dragon fruit planter – so it’s possible I’ll choose more items from them to use on my patio.
Overall, I am pleased with both beds. Time will tell how they hold up in my hot, humid Florida suburban garden. Check back in for updates in the future.