Tuesday, May 13, 2014

DIY Raised Garden Beds

Our raised garden beds are complete and full of veggies!  I'm so excited.  They are like new additions to the family.  Seth and I are constantly checking on them - before work, after work, after dinner, before bed...you get the idea.  We can't wait until they grow up and start producing fresh food for us.

Before constructing our raised beds, I searched the internet for tutorials.  There are about a million of them.  I made mental notes of the designs that I liked and came up with a no frills plan that would work for us.  First, we decided how large (4 feet wide x 8 feet long) and how deep (approximately 1 foot) we wanted our beds.  To make assembly easier and to add some support, we chose to use square posts at the corners.

Supplies (per bed):
  • One 4x4x6 - ~$8 (we got our wood for free from Seth's father)
  • Six 2x6x8s - ~$34 (free for us)
  • 3-inch exterior wood screws - ~$12  (we used approx 64 of these)
  • Galvanized hardware cloth - ~$46 (optional; we bought this roll which is enough for two beds)
       TOTAL:  ~$54 per bed  ($77 per bed with poultry netting)

Cut list:
  • 4 - 4x4s @ 11" (corner posts)
  • 4 - 2x6s @ 48" (end panels)
  • 4 - 2x6s @ 96" (side panels; no cutting needed if you bought 8ft boards)

  • Chop saw or circular saw
  • Drill
  • Staple gun (if using hardware cloth)
  • Wire cutters (if using hardware cloth)

     1.  Use wood screws to attach two 2x6x8s to two of your 4x4 pieces (as shown below) to form one side of the bed.

     2.  Repeat step 1 to form the other side of the bed.

     3.  Use wood screws to attach your 2x6x4 pieces to either end of the bed

     4.  Use a staple gun to attach pieces of hardware cloth to the bottom of the beds to keep the moles out (optional)

     5.  Flip your bed over and admire your handy work.

Some additional info:
  • We used untreated poplar to make our beds (again, it was free) so I'm not sure how long they'll hold up compared to pressure treated wood or cedar but it was worth the trade off to us.
  • Using pressure treated wood for a raised bed is considered to be safe.  Studies from the Texas A&M Ag Extension have shown that the chemicals used to treat the wood do not leach into the soil in any significant amount.  And if you're worried about arsenic - it has not been used to treat wood in over 10 years.
  • When using pressure treated wood you should use galvanized, polymer coated, or stainless steel exterior wood screws to avoid corrosion.
  • Cedar is a great wood option if you can afford it.
  • If you want to reduce the cost when making your bed, make it only 6" deep instead of 12" and/or don't use the square corner posts.  The approximate cost for a 6" deep bed would then be ~$25 (more if using the poultry netting).

This is a fairly easy, inexpensive DIY project.  We made two of the 4 foot x 8 foot beds for veggies and then decided to make two 2 foot x 2 foot beds for herbs (I'll reveal those in a later post).

Next up I'll share pics of filling them with dirt and veggies and installing our soaker hose system!


  1. Been thinking of doing one on legs. Have you tried that or are yours all on the ground.

    1. No, ours are all on the ground. The added height would make harvesting easier, I'm sure. However, you'd have to add a solid bottom to hold all the dirt in which would add a bit to the cost and labor. If you tackle some, let me know!

  2. Your post has got to be the most comprehensive guide on how to make raised beds. I really love how you made it seem so simple and easy, with the detailed yet concise instructions. I'm sure whatever you grow on them will thrive and bloom, within reason of course. Hahaha! Anyway, thanks for sharing. All the best with your garden!

    Bethel Woodard @ Sollecito

    1. Thanks, Bethel! I appreciate your sweet comment. So far we have only lost one tomato plant and everything else is going strong.


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