Raised garden beds are the best way to grow your own garden. If you’ve been putting off making raised garden beds, hesitate no more! We’ll show you step by step how we built our raised garden beds, and you can easily do this in one afternoon.
Reasons you should have raised beds:
- Soil – With raised beds it doesn’t matter what kind of soil you have because you’ll provide new soil.
- Protect – Raised beds protect vegetables and flowers from those pesky critters.
- Water – Raised beds provide good drainage.
- Cost – Raised beds are cheap and easy to build.
There are many ways to build raised beds, we built ours 40″ wide x 8 feet long. This gives an inner dimension of 3 feet x 8 feet. A lot of raised beds are 4 feet by 8 feet, but since I’m short we wanted to make ours a little bit narrower to make it that much easier to reach in and take care of the plants. You can easily adjust the ‘recipe’ here for the end pieces to be 48″ wide instead of 40″.
Here’s what you’ll need to build one raised garden bed:
- Tape measure
- Nails — Regular 2″ nails and roofing nails
- Optional: nail gun, screw gun, staple gun
For each 4’x8′ raised bed we used:
- 4 – 2×6’s 8 feet long
- 4 – 40″ 2×6’s cut from a 14 foot board
- 4 wood corners — we ripped a 2×2 lengthwise with the table saw blade set at 45 degrees and then cut those into 11″ pieces. Alternatively, you could just use the 2×2’s whole instead of cutting at an angle. This is simply for corner support so either way works.
- 2 firring strips
- 4 wood garden stakes
How to Build Raised Garden Beds
To get started lay the long boards down parallel to each other on the ground or wherever you’re building. We used untreated lumber we had on hand. You can use pressure treated lumber if you prefer. (We prefer not to use the pressure treated wood because we feel the chemicals to preserve the wood could harm our food.)
Place two 40″ boards one at each end and attach together by nailing or screwing at the corners. This is the form of the raised bed. We added another level to make it close to a foot tall. Raised beds should be 10-14″ high to provide a good environment for plant roots to grow.
Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make another layer. You can skip this step if you have a height of at least 10″ already.
Attach the 2 layers together by nailing an 11″ long corner wood piece into each corner. Watch your fingers!
Note: We ripped a 2×2 lengthwise with the table saw blade set at 45 degrees and then cut those into 11″ pieces. Alternatively, you could just use the 2×2’s whole instead of cutting at an angle. This is simply for corner support so either way works.
Add 2 firring strips on each 8 foot side for support. Nail or staple in. We used a spacer as a guide to make sure we got each one equal distance from the corners. (That white board above is our spacer).
Okay! One raised bed is complete! Now we need to place it where we want and level it.
Tip: Place your raised beds in a fairly level location that receives 5 – 6 hours of sun. It’s good to place them north to south to get the best exposure and to keep the plants from shading each other as they grow.
If you’re making more than one raised garden bed, you’ll want to make sure to leave enough room to tend the plants, walk in between and mow the lawn if needed.
Level the raised bed by putting a level on the short side and the long side and putting blocks of scrap wood under the corners until your bed is level. Don’t worry about how it looks because we’ll be removing these blocks at the end.
Use your hammer or a plastic mallet to pound in the wood stakes and nail in with your hammer. Now you can remove those nasty wood blocks.
And that’s how we built our raised garden beds. They’re pretty easy to build, right? And they’ll provide a perfect environment for your vegetables and flowers to grow healthy and strong. These raised garden beds go really well with the beautiful planter boxes we made.
We built a few of these raised beds in one sunny spring afternoon. Get your supplies and build some raised garden beds. Let us know how it goes!