Building Raised Garden Beds

 

IMG_2064 I’ve always wanted raised garden beds. Not only does it make accessing your garden easier, but it’s also tidy and organized. So finally, I did it! Well, I should say WE did it. These are fairly easy to make, especially with a very handy helper (okay maybe I was really the helper in this case!)

Here are plans for making two raised garden beds measuring 4ft wide, 8 ft long and 12 inches high.

Materials
  • 6 – 2×6 redwood deck boards – 16ft long
  • IMG_1910 8 – galvanized screw-on “L” brackets (Simpson brand L90Z)
  • 16 – 3″ coated deck screws
  • 1 1/4″ galvanized screws (enough for brackets)
  • Cordless drill
  • Saw (circular)
  • Level
  • Landscaping fabric
  • Landscaping fabric staples
  • Rubber mallet
  • Dirt – mix of potting soil & garden soil
  • Shovel or Hoe
  • Plants & seeds
Time
  • 45 minutes for bed assembly
  • 1 hour for bed filling
  • Endless time to arrange & rearrange plant layout (STOP! it’s all going to work out, it doesn’t matter if the rosemary is closer to the basil or the lettuce!)
  • 1 hour for planting
Difficulty
Hard – if you haven’t worked with power tools or have a hard time with heavy lifting. Easy if you have access to tools and a little muscle. For me, it was probably Easy+

Details
  1. Find a good spot. Most vegetables need almost-full to full sun. I picked the side of my garage. It would be nice to have it a little more central to where I hang out, but there really isn’t any other space where the plants would live. I will definitely have to make a point of spending time in the garden area.

    IMG_1816

    This sunny spot next to the shed will work out nicely

  2. Cut your wood. If you don’t have a saw (or are afraid of it like I am) you can have your home improvement store cut everything for you before you even leave the store. I made 2 beds, 4ft by 8ft, and stacked 2 6-inch boards. So I needed: 8 4ft, and 8 8ft boards (total of 6 16 ft boards) [ack! too many numbers!]

    IMG_1911

    Boards cut & ready for assembly!

  3. Make your boxes. Make up 4 boxes, using 3″ coated deck screws. Pre drill (anything within 1″ of an end) and use 2 screws per corner.
    IMG_1912

    Starting your screws when the boards are flat make it much easier to finish once they're on their side

    IMG_1916

    Finish screwing in all four sides

  4. Stack boxes and secure with L-brackets. On the inside corners, screw in L-brackets with 1 1/4″ galvanized screws.
    IMG_1920

    The BF showing me how it's done

    IMG_1918

    Make sure the wider side of the bracket goes on the long end of the box

  5. Move boxes into garden area.
    IMG_1921

    Finished box ready to move into the backyard

    IMG_1923

    The future garden space

  6. Level boxes by digging a trough about 1/2″ deep to lower high spots (you may have to dig more if your ground isn’t very level to start with)
  7. Line with landscaping fabric / weed block. Cut fabric slightly larger than boxes so you have a bit that will come up the sides. Pull tight and use fabric staples to secure fabric into ground.

    IMG_1931

    Pull the landscaping fabric tight, but not so tight that it rips as you put in the staples

  8. Fill with soil. I alternated one bag of potting soil & one bag of garden soil, and then mixed layers to create a uniform soil. To compact the soil a bit, I did a little cha cha over on the beds, then I added a little compost to top it off.
    IMG_1935

    My "helper" working while I use taking pictures for this post as an excuse not to lift the bags :)

    IMG_1940

    Oh boy, that's a lot of dirt!

  9. Layout plants and seeds. I must have rearranged everything eight times. Use the directions on the plant labels to figure out how much space each plant needs. I know there is information that will tell you what does best near what, but I’ve never had too much of a problem going with my whims.

    IMG_1949

    Basil by the sage, or by the rosemary? So many possibilities!

  10. Plant everything. Because the dirt wasn’t very compacted yet, I just dug out everything with my hands.
    IMG_1952

    Break up the bottom of the roots a bit to make sure they don't grow back on themselves

    IMG_1960

    Those are beans, not tick tacks.

  11. Label rows & plants. I used leftover fabric staples to mark where my rows of seeds should be sprouting, to make sure I got water in the right place. I started with the labels that came with the plants. (The next post will be on making personalized, and cheap plant markers.)

    IMG_1966

    Remember to put in any support your plants will needs as they grow

  12. Water! Make sure you keep everything damp, especially anything planted as seeds. Water EVERYDAY.

    IMG_1983

    I planted some sweet corn too (top left corner of the yard)

  13. Now we’ve just got to wait for things to grow…………………….
Oh! I forgot to tell you what I planted! Here’s the list:
  • Sweet corn
  • Radish
  • Celebrity tomato
  • Tom thumb lettuce
  • Matchless lettuce
  • Italian oregano
  • Sweet basil
  • Spearmint
  • Trailing rosemary
  • Strawberries
  • Jalapeño peppers
  • Cilantro
  • Kitchen king bean
  • Sugar daddy peas
  • Pumpkin
Do you have a garden? What did you plant this year?

7 thoughts on “Building Raised Garden Beds

  1. Sarah, this is something I’ve always wanted to do too! How much did you spend on building supplies for the beds? I don’t have a BF to do all the hard work for me – think I could do it on my own? :-)

    • I joke that he did all the work, but really it was about equal. You definitely need someone to help hold stuff together as you attach the boards, move the boxes, etc. But it’s really a pretty easy project that you could do with a friend. All in all, I think I spent about $300 for everything but these beds are pretty big. Using just one 6″ board would shrink the cost significantly.

  2. They turned out great! Weirdly, we have a circular saw in my apartment, but unless we build super tiny beds for the fire escape (which would violate the building codes) I’ll just have to admire yours. I seem to kill all plants anyway through my mere presence.

  3. Pingback: Garden Markers | All Those DetailsAll Those Details

  4. Pingback: How Does My Garden Grow? | All Those DetailsAll Those Details

  5. If you had used wire on the bottom and cardboard it would have saved some money. Also, it would have brought the worms in to the beds to work all of the soil. The wire would’ve kept the moles, and gophers out. I

Leave a Reply to Erin Cancel reply