How to Build Raised Garden Beds

Last year, my husband built 2 raised garden beds for our garden. I was so happy with the results, I talked him into building 2 more for me this year. They are relatively easy to build and provide many added benefits to your backyard garden including:

  • Customized soil – This is probably the best benefit to a raised garden bed. It allows you to use your own mix of soil and compost to yield the best results for your plants. If you are into testing pH levels (I haven’t found this necessary yet) a raised garden bed will also allow you to group your plants for optimal growth.
  • Better drainage – A raised bed will provide your bed with better drainage. Because the soil is contained within the bed, they also help limit soil erosion. 
  • Extend your growing season – Raised beds warm up faster than regular ground soil which can extend your growing season. Not only can you plant seedlings earlier in a raised bed, but you can also continue to harvest longer due to increased soil temperatures.
  • Weed control – A raised garden bed allows you to put down a weed barrier before filling the bed with dirt. There is a lot of back and forth on the internet as to how necessary this is because weed barrier fabric does not stop weeds all together. However, a weed barrier plus a few extra feet of dirt will cut down on the amount of weeding you have to do throughout the summer. Personally, I think it’s worth it.
  • Better on your back – Believe it or not, raising your garden bed even a foot off the ground helps ease amount of back-bending needed to harvest and maintain your plants.

Last year I posted some photos of our garden beds without any step-by-step instructions. That is one of my most popular posts so I thought I’d post directions this time around. We used cedar wood because it is the most resistant to rot.

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed
Note: Our beds are 5′ x 4′. You will have to adjust your measurements for beds of different dimensions. The instructions below are for 1 raised garden bed.

Materials:

  • Two 10-foot cedar planks and two 8-foot cedar planks. We used 2 x 6’s – Have your hardware store cut them in half for you. This will leave you with four 5-foot boards and four 4-foot boards
  • One 4 x 4 cedar board – Have your hardware store cut this into 1 and a half-foot pieces. These will be your posts.
  • 3-inch outdoor decking screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Level (optional, but helpful)

Directions:

1. Lay two of the post pieces 5 feet apart on the ground and lay the 5-foot planks across them.

DIY Raised Garden Bed - Step 1

Step 1

2. Using a straight edge, make sure the plank is flush with the edge of the post. Attach one plank at a time.

DIY Raised Garden Bed - Step 2

Step 2

3. Drill two screws through the plank and the post. It helps if you pre-drill the holes in the planks. Screws should be about an inch or so from the edges of the plank and approximately 4 inches apart.

DIY Raised Garden Bed - Step 3

Step 3

4. Repeat steps 1-3 with remaining planks.

nail location

Nail the planks to the posts. I have circled where we inserted nails above. Click to enlarge.

DIY Raised Garden Bed - Step 4

Finished bed.

A quick note: We left about an inch of space between the bottom plank and the ground. This was so we could dig small holes into the ground to help anchor the boxes. In hindsight, this was unnecessary as the boxes are heavy and pretty stable once they are filled with dirt. It is up to you as to whether or not you want to build yours this way.

DIY Raised Garden Bed - Step 4

Step 5 (optional)

5. Before removing your grass and filling your boxes with dirt, check to make sure the beds are level. I don’t think this step is necessary enough to go out and purchase a level, but if you happen to have one it is a good idea to check this before they can’t be moved.

I hope this was helpful. Happy planting!

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One thought on “How to Build Raised Garden Beds

  1. Pingback: Round-Up: Top Posts of 2012 | cucina_kristina

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