The Q&A Archives: wood type for retaining wall

Question: Is it okay to use douglas fir and hemlock boards to build a retaining wall for a garden? Concerned about any toxic issues from those types of wood.

Answer: If you are building a raised bed you can certainly use these two woods. However they will not last as long as cedar or redwood due to the dampness and exposure to the weather. You could also use the new wood-look products such as Trex. The wood to avoid for a vegetable garden is the pressure treated wood and creosote treated railroad ties. (They would be fine for a flower garden.) Have fun with your project!

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